The first love of my life never saw me naked - there was always a parent coming home in half an hour - always a little brother in the next room.
Always too much body and not enough time for me to show it.
Instead, I gave him my shoulder, my elbow, the bend of my knee - I lent him my corners, my edges, the parts of me I could afford to offer - the parts I had long since given up trying to hide.
He never asked for more.
He gave me back his eyelashes, the back of his neck, his palms - we held each piece we were given like it was a nectarine that could bruise if we weren’t careful.
We collected them like we were trying to build an orchid.
And the spaces that he never saw, the ones my parents half labeled “private parts” when I was still small enough to fit all of myself and my worries inside a bathtub - I made up for that by handing over all the private parts of me.
There was no secret I didn’t tell him, there was no moment I didn’t share - and we didn’t grow up, we grew in, like ivy wrapping, moulding each other into perfect yings and yangs.
We kissed with mouths open, breathing his exhale into my inhale - we could have survived underwater or outer space.
Breathing only of the breathe we traded, we spelled love, g-i-v-e, I never wanted to hide my body from him - if I could have I would have given it all away with the rest of me - I did not know it was possible.
To save some thing for myself.
Some nights I wake up knowing he is anxious, he is across the world in another woman’s arms - the years have spread us like dandelion seeds - sanding down the edges of our jigsaw parts that used to only fit each other.
He drinks from the pitcher on the night stand, checks the digital clock, it is 5am - he tosses in sheets and tries to settle, I wait for him to sleep.
Before tucking myself into elbows and knees reach for things I have long since given up.
Private Parts by Sarah Kay