I could never understand why it was so hard for him to laugh.
That's all I asked of him sometimes: laughter, pure and simple and unrestrained, like the rest of him.Instead he would reach out for me, eyes full of things he never said. Sometimes he'd say things which scared me because they were bold and unafraid. Sometimes he insisted on dressing me up in the morning, and telling me what to wear. Sometimes he picked out my perfume because he said he knew what I should smell like. Planned details, small, insignificant things, the dip in the back of my dress, the way people would look at me when I entered a room, he planned everything. He'd set me free then, observe me as I talked, laughed, frowned with people, like an outsider, a narrator in some depraved plot. When they came to ask for a dance, he nodded his approval with his eyes, signalled with the smallest blink and I obliged. And with these freedoms I was bound to him.
I remember how hard I tried, donning weird outfits, singing 'single ladies' on his street, throwing pebbles on his window but he just spoke with his eyes, smiled like an omniscient god. Sometimes he put a violin in my hands and asked me to play it when I had no idea how to. I must play it myself and not be taught and when I am tired of it, he could have it, should have it, so he could complete the notes where I left them off.
They say you can't plan love, but the way he played at it, I was sure this was his plan too. I tried conjuring him, but he wouldn't move and then out of nowhere he came out and asked for it all. I didn't get it. I didn't get him. I was scared of him, of what he made me feel, of the power I let him have over me. I was scared of loving him more than I already did. So scared, so, so scared of him, of the possibility of us, that I ran away because the alternative frightenend the hell out of me. In the alternative, he was the one who left tomorrow, or the day after, or ten years down the line, left me with a broken heart, an accidental baby, nothing but his memories full of desire and longing, but no laughter.
I met him again then, after so, so long. He was still the same, smiling, but unlaughing, still a god who could tug at me and erode my defences if I came close, with my body physically requiring his proximity, his approval, his anything.
Why did you never laugh?
I asked finally, after being haunted by this question for years.
He laughed then.
Pure and simple and unrestrained, like himself.
I was so happy with you, I didn't need to laugh.
Laughter is for those who need proof, and it isn't love if it needs proof.