unfamiliar familiar / by Christina Rosalie

This is where I always slip: where the snare of expectation catches me off guard and I’m unaware that I’m expecting anything until it doesn’t happen and my feelings are dashed.

Sometimes even then I don’t know what I want. Sometimes I just can’t say what I’m hoping for, and it’s one of those times, back at home in the small world familiar things that are my life: fat snow; hazelnut shells in a bowl; T beside me at the table eating curry + chicken the fire flickering behind us; the boys after their bath with damp hair and new pajamas; marbles rolling around on the floor; laundry to fold.

I don’t expect the vulnerability I feel until I feel it. It’s jet lag maybe; hormones; whatever.

“We’ve known each other for eleven years, it’s safe to say I know you,” he says.

We’re in bed, lying stiff like boards, shoulder to shoulder. It’s not an argument really, and yet it is.

“I just want to feel like you’re curious about me still,” I say, not really knowing what I mean.

And yet it’s exactly what I mean.

We're so familiar we’re unfamiliar some days.

And sometimes it’s easier to give in to the laws of physics; to push away; to walk away; to look away. Equal and opposite reactions.

Tonight we move our shoulders towards each other in the dark. A small concession, but the night is already half gone.