Somewhere in the airspace between Boston, MA, a second home-away-from-home, and San Jose, CA, I became involved. Layers upon layers of coincidences ate away at any sense of self-restraint, and suddenly, beneath scratchy airplane blankets and in full view of attendants who thought we were just friends, we stumbled into something more than that. A sister, jealous teammates, circumstances that seemed meaningless before the wheels left the icy runway in Boston suddenly prevented us from a real relationship. I looked at him and said "I promise I don't love you, not even close. I promise you I'm not that kind of girl." And so he kissed me, and my fear of landing suddenly became a metaphor for something more abstract than an airplane. So I tell my friends in CA that "we're involved" because circumstances mean I can't say it's a relationship, but that reminds me that I should feel easy, slutty, and slightly used.
Involved has a nice ring to it. Not quite the same ring of commitment that a relationship entails, but a dark alleyway, sinister smile, accomplice acceptance. It proclaims that I’m in the know, that my position has come from hard, dirty work. “I’m involved” is said with the deliberate raise of the eyebrow, poured over the tongue, held back by front teeth scraping bottom lips. Insinuations of scandal.
Friends with benefits might be a more likely explanation of our situation. I let those words form in my mouth. Friends. With. Benefits. Benefits is the easy part: steamy car windows, rug burned knees, a hand to hold during takeoff. Friends I can deal with too: we’re practicing giving the impression that we’re just friends, a car ride home with my mother, a New Year’s eve celebration with my other friends. Then we stumble upon With: with denotes or expresses some situation or relation of nearness, proximity, association, connection, or the like. Nearness makes sense, as does proximity, at least in the physical sense. Association falls right in line, he’s an acquaintance, we met on an airplane, a mere association of time and place. It’s connection that comes up short. We connect. There’s the problem.
No relationship though. All the pieces of that fall together except for one. We have no responsibility to one another.
No responsibility of fidelity: I held hands under a glass table with an Indiana and I don’t feel an ounce of guilt.
No responsibility of social partnership: I don’t feel obliged to take him to the movies or plan our future outings of skating in the commons and walks in the moonlight.
No responsibility of continuity: As my roommate sits and wonders about her relationship ball missing in action, I won’t be disappointed if I don’t talk to him until the next airplane ride.

No responsibility of being truthful: I’m not supposed to be truthful to him, to keep up the mystery, the intrigue, the seduction.

And in doing so, I’ve lost track of being truthful to myself.

just a fabrication of what I actually feel for the sake of beauty and complacency. this IS my life.

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