When you don’t think somebody cares about you until you mention not being around for them anymore

and then suddenly they need to be assured that you care about them

We are laying like yin and yang in his bed and I run my fingers along his thigh.

"Tactile fixation," he diagnoses with a grin. Always picking on me because I can’t not touch him.

It's true, too. Like my mind, my hands are hardly ever idle. Whenever he is within reach, my fingertips find their way to his parts. Especially after sex, as our heart rates normalize and the haze of bliss slowly lifts. In these quiet moments, my slow drags against his skin are a fine replacement for chatter between us.

"I have an interview in LA next week.”

I mention it like he won't care and for the first time he acts like he does. He props himself up to look at me and pulls his leg away from my hand.

His words are what I expect but his expression is not.

"Oh? Cool." He is wincing; he is confused. He does not think this is cool.

I am flooded with regret. “Yup,” I offer, with a little too much emphasis on the vowel. I look at the ceiling to avoid analyzing his eyes. I hesitate with the details that he does not ask for and there's a noticeable tinge of discomfort in the air; we both bask in it alone. Physically together, but mentally apart in our own feelings of uneasiness. I am repulsed by feeling, by feelings. My brain starts rifling through possible avenues of subject change.

He startles my process and swings his feet to the ground. Reaching down and then pulling up, he is quickly half-dressed but remains vulnerable despite this.

His voice reveals something he cannot clothe.

"So...you'd move there?"

He is anchoring me in this conversation for at least one more exchange. There's a strange amount of care in his voice. Like he already misses me.

"Yeah..." I start, suddenly very self conscious of the decision I haven't even made yet. "But it's going to be a very competitive process. I doubt I'll even get it. I think I'm actually a little under qualified. But we'll see…" I'm rambling. Like a stone kicked down a hill I am picking up momentum and nearing a drop off.

He doesn't stop me.

He lets me sputter insincere doubts until it sounds like I am equally unhappy. Until enough of my mumbles can be translated into an "I'd miss you, too."

When he is satisfied by the level playing field he smirks.
 "I'm sure you'll do great."