Iunia slept the best sleep in a very long time. She opens her eyes and finds Ben wrapped around her sound asleep. She pulls herself from his arms gently and goes to the bathroom. The reflection shows was she already knows, she looks rested and a pinkish blush highlights her cheeks. It’s still early and outside is dark. Iunia makes a small espresso for her and prepares something for a frugal breakfast: toast, butter and jam. Her first impulse is to open the laptop to see what she missed on facebook and on the group chat, but something stops her. She just realized that it’s been like forever since she just stopped from any stimulants and think. Think for herself, no judgements, no presumptions, a good old fashioned introspection. Why did she let Ben stay? Where were things going with Chris? The job is everything she wanted, she dreamt of? The job met a few of the minimum requirements of a job: it allowed her to improvise often and reformulate the same information, she could travel and she earned enough. She was always happy to come home and find a familiar universe, couldn’t really complain there was nobody waiting. But everything seems wrong with the picture of her life. The thought of a baby warmed her heart, but it was a big responsibility. Plus, she was approaching 40 and never involved in a serious relationship, no man ever stayed enough to think about making it official. There weren’t many, true, but those that stayed longer never warmed up to the idea of spending a lifetime near her. Iunia wanted to insist on this thought, but it was too disturbing, she started biting her lips in an effort to stop herself from crying. And there was Chris, almost 30 years old, adventurous and kind. She could always predict his next move and this comforted her a lot. It was never a question of who earned more, in spite of what he thought. It was a matter of being taken over, shaken to knock some sense into her head, loved beyond reason. Chris wasn’t in touch with anything, he barely scratched the surface. He never saw her for real! But who wants to be seen, I mean really seen?! Who would want to see and then comfort her?! Who can stand by her side when she felt like running away, when she felt she isn’t worthy to be loved and cared for? Yes, she was a strong determined woman, always ready to deliver a funny quote or a movie quote, but never thought she deserved a love so consuming… she couldn’t find a term to compare it with (no wonder, ‘cause she never felt such love). The lyrics from her favorite band came into her mind:
I only call you when it’s half past five
The only time that I’ll be by your side
I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me…
She took a deep breath… and turned her thoughts to Ben. Ben who really saw into her, saw her speech inconsistency, probably saw fear and wasn’t scared. Saw a tormented woman, a woman that was never worshipped, nor loved or fucked properly. And he was still here, he even chose to stay against her will. This felt like her cue, she shrugged her shoulders in a poor attempt to become smaller and burst into tears. Her sobbing was so unexpected that it woke up Ben who found her cuddled in a fetal position.
– Baby, what’s wrong? Are you upset I didn’t hit on you last night? He tries the funny approach. I was really tired, I am sorry!
– Don’t call me baby! Please go, I don’t want you to see me like this, she says in between sobs. Give me some paper hankies, please, and go!
– I don’t want to go, I am sure it’s PMS! The man is unbearable, this is not funny!
– No, it’s not! It’s just you fucking up my life, I was fine until now… I could handle my emotions. What do you want from me?
– Why would I want anything? Can we just be here, in the moment and not wonder? Can you please try not to control it? You can’t be constantly putting yourself through this!
– Through what? What are you talking about, Iunia’s voice grows hysteric.
– You don’t have to think about it now. Relax for a minute, and carefully turns her on her back. I saw this in a movie: Hugging provides manual stimulation of the parasympathetic system. I am not gonna hug you, I will lay on top of you. You seem to need it badly and I hope it will calm you down.
Iunia looks at him perplexed and lets her arms on the side of her body. She is almost certain this will prevent her from breathing well, but she lets him do it.