I stared at his little mustache and his slim little beard, the way they turn down into a hard U with his mouth – I stared at them for a solid three minutes this morning. His room is one hundred years old, just like the house, and all of the light in his room comes in through the dirty window panes just behind my head. The windows are like his headboard, but I’m the only one that really notices the windows and the morning light and the little prickly hairs.
By habit, he sleeps with a “face shirt.” To keep the light out in the mornings. I could probably get myself a face shirt too, they’re strewn all about his room for easy pickings, but I like getting woken by the light. I like the clarity it provides me when my eyes first open, even without my extremely strong glasses prescription sitting on the stool beside the bed. I like that, without my glasses, I can see perfectly clear the moment I wake up. I see half of his face, just there, lips lightly touching themselves with an air of confidence that evaporates the instant the face shirt comes off and he awakens. I see the black little furs prickling into shapes, and prickling in places that don’t really make sense. The little stache hairs over the upper left side of his lip are a little long, and I think about the tiny little scissors he uses to trim them.
The disarray of his room, the shield of his shirt, and the protruding hairs all around his face, the hairs that have nothing to do with the mustache or the beard – I remember his shaking hands. His hands shake a lot; he doesn’t believe me about getting enough protein. I try not to tell him things like “You’re not eating enough protein,” because those are the types of things girlfriends say, because they kind of have a say. I’m part of the room, I’m part of the disarray. I’m not his girlfriend, I am his lover. But that doesn’t make me any less of a person. A person with a personality. A personality that cares and gives, simply by nature. I can keep coming to this room, and waking with this light. I can keep my skin stuck to his skin in the sweat that comes with an old home, no AC. But I can’t keep caring that his hands are shaky. It would just help if he would stop telling me about his shaky hands. Because then I think about them, and then I care about them, and then I feel more like a companion and less like a casual lover. This is not good.