I’m steeped in reality. In fact, I’m too steeped in reality. Clay was always a bit of dreamer. I liked that about him. He was happy in his Fantasyland, but here on Earth, lost. It was difficult to keep him in the present. He was happier in his head then he was in the real world. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I was apart of his Fantasyland. I thought he was there without me. Girls are funny; we want you to be thinking of us all the time. The main problem, picking up the pieces he left scattered while he was in his head. He was kind and caring. He took care of me. He worried about me. He always put my needs before his, even in the bedroom. When he was good, he was very good. When he was down, he was inconsolable. He’d just disappear into his head for weeks at a time, leaving me wondering where he was. I knew where he was physically. However, somebody lying next you, doesn’t mean they are with you. It was difficult to walk away, but I had to do it.
Clay was comfortable in silence. I had to fill every second with sound. I think most people do. Clay could sit next to me for hours, and not say a word. I would ask him, “What’s wrong? Where are you? What’s so great about that place in your head?” He’d respond with, “Nothing. Here. Nothing.” I’d pout. I’d throw things. I’d yell. He would sit there unfazed. I thought it meant he didn’t love me. He didn’t care about me. He wouldn’t fight for me. Girls are funny; we like you to fight for us. Not in the, punch-everyone-in-the-face-that-leers-at-us-way. More like the, angry-break-stuff-then-grab-us-tell-us-you-love-us-way. It’s a subtle difference, but we want you to do it from time to time. He would try and be mad; he’d throw his hat, scream and curse, and kick at the ground. He looked like a baseball manager arguing a call, and I’d laugh. When Clay would get to the point he’d break something, he’d look at me with his big doe eyes, and then apologize for it. I was never scared or nervous that Clay would ever hurt me. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally not a fly; he’d escort them outside. He eschewed violence at every turn. Sometimes it was sexy. Mostly, it was maddening. Like I said, sometimes we want you to fight.
I realized later on that I missed Clay’s silence. I’d lay my head on his chest and ramble on and on. I forgot how cathartic that was. He’d never interrupt, never interject, would let me go until I slept. I thought he was the one that was uncomfortable, it was me, it was the rest of us that needed words. Clay was taking everything in. He was taking notes, learning everything he could about the situation, about me. He noticed things about me that nobody else ever did. There is something comforting and terrifying when somebody knows you better than you know yourself. You feel like you can be your complete self, but then there are no secrets, no surprises. It felt unfair, he knew what I was going to do before I did it, and I had no idea what he was even thinking. I felt he was hiding from me. There was some big secret he was keeping. However, all he wanted to do is lie next to me and hear my brain spill out. It was that simple. I made it something else. I couldn’t sit there in his silence.