I Like Them Unavailable


I like them unavailable—I guess that’s just me. Too many times I have listened to a man talking about his girl while his hand is on my knee. I smile and say, “She sounds great.” The way he says her name, like sunlight wrapped in cotton candy in his mouth. It tells me more than the words he says.

He tells me he adores me and she is just a little bit boring; that’s why he is here with me. He calls me sexy, says she is just so sweet. I know he’ll choose her over me. But I like him unavailable—it protects my heart.

When I leave his apartment in the cold early morning light, his cologne still in my hair, I think about the bottle of it she must have standing by her bed. I think about how she sprays a little bit on her pillow so she can think of him on nights apart. The nights he is with me.

I don’t know why I always end up in this situation. I tell myself this is it, I have to walk away. No more. I meet a nice man, I start falling for him just a little. Guess what? He is unavailable. It makes me like him more.

Am I just that much of a flirt? Or that much of a masochist? A “beautiful mess” is what one of those guys with his hand on my knee called me. Maybe that’s the right term; it kind of includes both, doesn’t it?

At a bar, I run into one of the ones to whom I only matter on lonely nights. He grabs me by the waist and kisses me in the back. It’s better if his friends don’t see—he says he does it for me. The kind of lines I expect, the ones that keep me in my place. They protect my heart.

Is it the blinding city lights? Or the fact that she’s not here tonight? Is it me self-sabotaging? Or protecting my own heart? Some nights it is hard to tell. Other nights we walk under those beautiful lights and I feel this is right. A feeling I’m chasing. I want what I can’t have, but so do you, that much is clear.

You keep calling me, telling me you miss me. I don’t believe it is a lie, you just want it all. The secret, the sexy, the stability, the sweet. I like them unavailable and they like me.