If I’m Honest. {fiction}


His bedroom is hot. I’m not sure if it’s the bed or the fact that he has the heat turned up to sauna-like levels, but I’m buck naked and dripping sweat.

I’d say it was from the sex, but that ended hours before, so I’m pretty sure it’s a sauna in here.

I’m high up. The bed is one of those double mattresses on top of a box-spring rather than the platform bed I’m used to, so if I roll off, I’ll break a bone for sure. I protect myself by inching further towards him and the wall.

His naked body lay next to me, but it isn’t intertwined in mine the way I like it, which makes me immediately feel alone because a man sleeping with his back to me or without making some attempt to make contact with my skin always screams “I’m scared as fuck of intimacy” to me.

“Ding, ding,” his phone goes off on the nightstand to my right. He’s to my left. I’m parched from the sauna-like levels in the bedroom, so I lift myself off the bed and reach for the water bottle I always travel with to quench my thirst.

A loud sigh comes from his side of the bed. He mutters my name and grabs me in a bear hug, then kisses my lips, the promise of another sex session that I crave but is going to still leave me feeling unsatisfied since his heart doesn’t come with this arrangement between us.

I look at his phone on the nightstand. It’s 2:45 am. The bedroom is tiny. It barely fits a full-size bed and a dresser. There’s a sliding glass door opposite the bed, which remains closed — something I can’t understand since it’s so obvious we need some air in here even though we’re both naked. The drapes are heavy, which blocks out most of the light.

If I position myself a certain way on the bed, I can just see the outdoor patio and a metal chair in the crack where the drapes meet. A rustling of covers breaks the silence in the room, and his body comes down on top of me, the heat between us intensifying. I realize the same way he has to turn his body on to make love to me, I have to turn my heart off to not love him.

It seems that he has the much simpler part of this arrangement, and I immediately resent him for it.

I’m not sure why I’m here, in this bed with him. The sex isn’t that great, if I’m honest, mainly because he’s checked out most of the time. He’s like a light that flickers on and off erratically, at times bright as the sun and warming my heart, and other times dark and cold.

The emotional connection with him is inconsistent, depending on his mood, and he’s ridiculously moody– one minute acting like he adores me more than any other woman he knows, and the next minute, aloof and distant because he can’t handle emotions in general and what he may feel for me.

His attempt to engage me in another round of lovemaking is halfhearted at best, and I refuse to do all the work. Besides, it’s 3:00 am, and I don’t think either of us is willing to work overtime on making this happen, so we give each other a few lingering kisses and settle back into each other’s arms. I’m frustrated on every level.

Emotionally, physically, spiritually, I’m frustrated, unfulfilled and pissed at myself for being here at all.

I turn my back on him as my own F*ck you for playing with my heart as if he’s engaged in a game of football. Tackling me when he wants to be taken seriously and fully in the game, and then running at breakneck speed down the field in the opposite direction when he’s tired of the close contact and wants to conquer another member of the opposite team. It’s childish. He’s childish.

I’m trying to figure out as I lie here why I’m playing at all.

We women do this.We willingly volunteer to play a game we know we have no business playing, because we convince ourselves that with a little more practice, we’ll master it.

If we keep throwing ourselves onto the field with someone who keeps knocking us down, we might eventually be able to hold our own and push back against them, getting them to realize how fucking amazing we are at this game, and that they should take it easy on us because we’re a force to be reckoned with.

The truth is, it may be good practice, but it’s exhausting and demoralizing, and no matter how good we are at the game, if we’re playing with opponents who don’t play fair and change the rules on us as often as they change their uniform, we’re never going to win.

I decide to take myself out of the game. I like football, but I play to win, and I realize not long after that hot sauna-like night that I’ll never win with him. Besides, I really loved him, and there’s no place for love on the field of his heart.

And if I’m honest, he doesn’t know how to play that game anyway, and isn’t even interest in learning. Besides, I realize with some trace of honesty for once, I’m not looking to play games anymore. I’m just looking to be able to love somebody without it having to be so damn painful.


Dina Strada is an LA-based event planner, writer, and certified Life Coach specializing in relationships, healing from emotional trauma and empowering women. A featured author and top writer for Elephant Journal, her work has also appeared in Huff Post, Thought Catalogue, Elite Daily, The Good Men Project, Chopra, Tiny Buddha, and the Manifestation Station. You can connect with Dina on her website, and get a daily dose of inspiration by following her on Facebook or Instagram.


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