Did you know that desire has a weight? Sometimes it’s light like strong hands stroking down the smooth skin of a back, tracing constellations. Or like kisses raining down from the delicate curve of the ear, to the sweet slope of a neck, and pausing there on a warm shoulder before making their way back up to the delight of the ear again. It can have a feather lightness to it, warm and intimate, and easy to carry around.
But desire has another weight. It can be leaden. It can be rocks filling the pockets of a dress that has been touched one too many times by ravenous hands, greedy to possess what can never be owned. That dress, with its torn edges and ripped stockings, the fabric discolored and frayed now from one too many attempts to run away.
Desire can be the anchor weight of words called down the street as we walk to purchase a cup of coffee or go to work. It can be the stares that undress us as we walk, making no attempt to hide the meaning from our eyes. It can be as heavy as dirt heaped on a coffin that’s suffocating us beneath all the times you’ve made a pass, and all the times we’ve said no.
It can be the weight of a glass of alcohol you bought us to change our minds. Sometimes it’s the weight only of shot glasses lined up on the bar with a smile. Other times, it’s the weight of a glass of wine or two, the glass refilling without our permission, our eyes searching for the bold red of an exit sign, but there is no exit here. It can be as heavy as a pint of beer, pushed across the table.
You watch as we drink and hope that when it’s done we’ll be more amenable to suggestion. We don’t watch our handbags around you, but we look for exits and lean away from your body when it presses close to ours. We don’t reek of alcohol but of fear. Because desire is a weight that can trap us beneath it as we struggle to get free.
It can be the insistent hand that won’t be pushed away, the kiss that comes before it can be avoided, or the proposition made again after we’ve already said no. Desire can be the ache in our feet to run, but its weight keeps us there in place- afraid to stay and afraid there’s nowhere we can ever run to where we can just quit running. You call it the friend zone, but we’ve created friend zones for our protection, a safe haven where we cannot be harmed by a desire we don’t return, didn’t ask for, and can’t ever seem to escape.
You think it’s flattery, but flattery is the compliment given expecting no thanks, no debt, and no response. Wanting nothing but to give appreciation and move along. You think we should be grateful, but you’ve never had to walk quickly, keys in hand, across a dark parking lot with every terror hounding your steps, hoping that the dress you chose to wore isn’t an enticement to assessing eyes. You think it’s harmless, but our no didn’t mean no if you keep asking. We’ve learned to fear men who can’t take no for an answer.
Desire has a weight. Sometimes it’s the feather lightness of shared desire, that warms and heats without burning us inside of it. Then there is the desire that is unwanted, unasked for, and dogged in its persistence. It is the weight of coffins beneath the ground, of anchors tied to ankles, and of feet tired from running when there is no place left to rest.
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