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Can I come in? Just for a bit. I won’t stay long, I promise. Just a couple of minutes.

I was just passing through and I saw that your lights were still on. I’ve been thinking about you for a while and I was wondering how you’ve been doing. I wanted to see you. I know you’re surprised, it seems like it’s been forever, doesn’t it? I need to rest a bit, too. I haven’t in so long and you don’t care, so what’s the harm, right? You won’t mind if I just rest here with you a bit before I have to be on my way again, will you? And I’ve missed you a bit.

I won’t stay long, I promise. Just for a while.

Ι’m just going to put this bag down. I need to take a load off. You don’t have to hold it for me. I don’t want you to. I’m just going to leave it here in the entrance, so that I can forget it for as long as I’m here. No bags, no baggage, no cell phones, no reminders of the world outside these four walls. Just some peace and quiet for a bit. I don’t mean you; I’ve missed your voice. I just can’t stand the chatter of everyone else around me. I don’t want to hear their talk, their words of caution, their advice. But if you like, you can go ahead and tell me how you’ve been. How have you been since I was last here?

I just want to hear your voice; the only voice in my head that doesn’t demand to be heard, and the only one I desire to listen to for hours on end. I’ve missed your voice a bit.

It’s just that these shoes are killing my feet. I need to take them off for a while.  I’ve been in these damn heels all day, walking around, running from place to place, trying to get a break. I’ll just leave them right here by the door. I’ll put them back on on the way out. I need to stand tall and straight if I’m ever to reach their expectations, if I’m ever going to grab those dreams hanging there, dangling right over my head. I can’t do it on my own.  But, right now, with you I don’t need them. I don’t need to stand tall for you, I can reach you without them. Let me walk around barefoot like this here in your room; the tiles are cool and the temperature soothes my blistered soles.

I’m just going to go get this make-up off my face, okay? I’ve been wearing a whole other face all day, one painted on to suit what I have to look like and I don’t want to wear it in front of you. Υou don’t need to see that mask, it holds no appeal to you, you’re not interested in it. I don’t have to pretend, I don’t have to look like someone else. Painted on, lines drawn to perfection, nothing out of place. But you’ve seen me without it, you know those tiny wrinkles around my eyes, and the scar in my eyebrow I hide. Look at me; I’ve missed how your eyes stare into mine.

Come close, stand by me. Do you mind if I take down my hair too? Help me untie this bun. Let it loose, just free like that so that the breeze coming in from your balcony door can blow through it. I hate it tied up. But it gets in the way when it’s down. It falls in my eyes and I can’t see what they’re showing me. I can’t watch the world around me with strands of it my face. It’s not something a serious woman would do, anyhow. It’s not even “serious” for me to have such long hair. What am I? An innocent little girl with long braids or a careless teenager with waves that touch the small of her back? No, I don’t think I was ever either.  Go ahead, run your fingers through it. I’ve missed the way your fingers feel tangled in its wild curls.

Can you get this zipper for me? I can’t reach the back of this dress and I need to get out of it. It’s strangling me, cloth wrapped around my body, without a wrinkle in it, no room to breath. Pull it over my head and off, get me out of it. I can’t stand it on me any longer. It’s too hot and uncomfortable. I’ve been struggling with it all day, acting like it fits right, like it suits me. Go ahead, look at me. Your eyes on me don’t bother me. I don’t care if you see me; you’ve seen me naked before. It wasn’t some giant feat for you to strip me down, out of my clothes, out of the mask, out of whatever it is the rest of the world gets to see every single day. It was fun, it wasn’t a hassle. Something to do when there was nothing better to do. Just another body. Just another night.

Well, if it wasn’t a big deal for you, let me stay the night again tonight.

I won’t stay long, I promise. Just tonight.

Just like this, no makeup, no shoes, no clothes, naked and exposed, take me to your bed. Pick me up and hold me close all the way there. And when you put me down, lay with me. Pull me against you, bare skin against skin, every inch of our bodies touching, not space enough for air between us. So that there is nothing between us. I’ve missed your body pressed up against mine. I’ve missed what you feel like.

It feels so good to be back in your arms, my head resting on your chest. I can hear your heartbeat against my ear, you know. It’s calmed, too. Just like your whole body has at my touched. You remember what this was like, right? You’ve missed it too. I can tell.Tell me that it’s okay. Tell me that you’ve missed me too. Tell me not to go. Demand it from me, just as others demand so many other things from me. Tell me that we’ll be alright. Hold me tonight and we’ll figure it all out in the morning. Sometimes, one night is enough.

I won’t stay long, I promise. Just for one night, just until dawn.

I’ve missed you. All the things you are, all the things you could have been. I’ve missed me. With you. I can’t pretend anymore. Why should I? It’s not like you didn’t know why I came the second you opened that door. The minute you let me in. When I took off my shoes and makeup. When I let my hair down and you ran your finger through it. When you unzipped my dress and let it fall to the floor at my feet. When you picked me up into your arms and took me to your bed. You knew exactly what I wanted — to come home; to you.

Can I stay?

Author: Nikoletta Vasilopoulou

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