I wanted to shout out to him as I heard him come down the stairs. I knew it was him. I could tell from his footsteps, and the way he made slightly more noise than he normally would – treading heavily to give me notice that he was awake. I’d been lying on the sofa for an hour or more, heart thumping and mind running over the things I wanted to say. The one thing I wanted to say: take me. Fuck me. Now, while my body is perfect.
There’s no such thing as the perfect body, of course. No such thing as the best moment in your life, when every atom of every inch of you is aligned just right. There’ll be ‘right for you at nineteen’ and ‘right for you at thirty-four’ and I’m excited to learn what’ll be right for me at fifty.
But there’s really no such thing as ‘perfect.’
At the time, though, my twenty-something-self was fervently invested in the idea that there was such a thing as perfection, and that she’d managed to achieve it for a fleeting moment.
As he came padding down the stairs I lifted my head and turned over in my sleeping bag. If his too-loud footsteps on the stairs were a call, then me rustling the bedding was a response.
I heard him pad into the kitchen to get a glass of water. My heart sank from my mouth to the pit of my stomach. Maybe he hadn’t heard? Maybe he had heard, and had changed his mind about coming to join me.
We were a constant, repetitive ‘will they/won’t they’ – a story that no doubt bored the shit out of our friends, but kept both of us entertained in the long gaps between our desperate, guilty fucks.
That night was an identical chapter in that predictable story – I was sleeping on the sofa because we’d sworn to keep our hands off each other. Vowed to be ‘good’, whatever good was supposed to mean. It would end the same way as all the other nights, though: with heavy breathing and whispered filth and his fingers wet from my cunt.
The only variation was that today my body was perfect.
All the past fucks we’d had were a reminder of how mismatched we were. He was clever and cool and fucking… sassy? Sassy. Sarcastic and witty and charming. Slim and lithe, he fucked like he ran each morning: relishing not just what his body could do, but how it looked. On the other hand, I was all dark eye make-up and baggy jumpers and holes in the crotch of my jeans. I fucked like I ran, too: aware of each tiny movement, and the way it made me ripple. Calculating angles and tensing muscles and breathing in.
But not today: today my body was perfect. I knew it was. After weeks of changes, it was right now. It was so right it didn’t feel like mine – instead I was on a field trip to someone else. Someone less likely to ripple.
So when he started back up the stairs, I couldn’t let him go back to bed alone. I felt good. I felt like finally I might equal him – deserve him. My body was perfect, so this time he’d stay until morning – not tiptoe back upstairs, ready to pretend tomorrow that we hadn’t fucked tonight.
“Pssst,” I whispered. “Is that you?”
He came into the living room quickly – because he’d always intended to. He just wanted to make me ask before he stepped through the door. Towel wrapped round his waist, water-glass in hand, hair messy like he’d been lying awake for hours.
“I’m awake,” he said. And he came to sit beside me.
There was no reason we couldn’t fuck straight away. Well, except for all the reasons that had come before. All the times we’d fucked and then fucked up, all the heated rows and angry exchanges. The times he’d neglected me, or I’d railed at him. The nights which ended in bitter sobs, or lonely walks home in the dark.
All the times I’d wanted to know if I was his girlfriend, and he’d refused to give me an answer.
He climbed into bed beside me and I unzipped my sleeping bag.
He cupped one of my breasts in his hand and told me it was just the right size. Squeezed my thighs and told me he wanted to bite them. Pulled down the sleeping bag and looked at me in the weird orange light from the street outside. I reminded myself that my body was perfect, as he touched it with trembling hands.
And as he dug his erection into my taut, skinny arse he sighed ‘yeah’ and my cunt ached so hard that I gave in and fucked him quickly. Riding him while he cupped my just-the-right-size tits in his hands and slamming hard down on his dick to give just the right amount of jiggle. Pinching my nipples with my fingers to get me quicker to climax, as he closed his eyes and grunted with the effort of holding himself back from the edge.
After we’d fucked, he ran a hand over my stomach, told me I’d lost weight.
I replied that heartbreak would do that.
This is an old, old story. I only wrote it because I was recently reminded of this day, and it made me sad to remember just how invested I was in the idea that if I could just be thin enough, and beautiful enough, this guy would love me for real. Through years of bodily changes and adventures, he loved me for real anyway.