Ron Lach

When Too Much Becomes Nothing

You knew I was soft. 

I came rushing through the door to see you sitting in the chair watching Squid Game. I separated your long legs outward and sat my body in between yours. I grabbed your hands and played with them, holding them against mine. I clung onto your left leg like a sloth or koala; I felt the faint prickliness of your almost hairless legs. I always admired your hairless legs.

* * *

I skidded my toes up and down your leg, hinting for you to join me in bed. You wouldn’t join me. I begged you to come cuddle with me.

I left for my room, calling your name. I asked you to grab my Invisalign from the box in my closet. You only did me the favor of bringing me my Invisalign and quickly hugged me goodnight.

* * *

Monster House was playing on the television. The big air mattress was blown up in the living room. On one side, it was Ji Soo and her boyfriend. On the other, it was me and you. Your torso on the sofa and your legs on the air mattress. I cuddled all three feet of your barely hairless, prickly leg. I clung on like a sloth. I called the position “the lopsided chopstick.” Only I clung onto you.

I joined you on the sofa, looked at your face, your proportionate dark features. Your dreamy soft eyes. Your button nose. 

* * *

Some movie was playing on the television. We were underneath the covers; I lifted your arm so that it would wrap around my body. Slowly, you moved your fingers down my underwear. 

I clung tighter; you lifted your arms to swat me like a fly.

* * *

We made a deal. I would make you a cup of ramen noodles and you would cuddle with me for nine minutes. We would make up a cuddling position and call it “the garlic knot”—no, you called it “the pretzel.” Our bodies were fully tangled, our foreheads pressed against each other.

* * *

I asked you to be my boyfriend. You told me that I didn’t want a boyfriend.

* * *

I wore your Avatar the Last Airbender shirt. Your prized possession. The shirt hung slightly above my knees.

We were laying in bed, your arms wrapped around me. “Give me back my shirt.”

“No—make me.”

We ended with our bodies pressed naked against each other. My face nuzzling yours.

* * *

I woke up and found myself on top of you. I saw a man walking across the street outside the window. You pulled me off you, jumped off the bed, ready to leave. 

I pulled you in, your head on my bare chest; you clung tightly onto me. It was a few seconds of silence, of closeness, of clinging. This was the first time I felt like it was mutual. That we were mutual. 

* * *

I wanted to bury my face in you. I wanted to be buried inside you. Until I realized I already was.

* * *

You used it against me.

I watched as the couples picked up their partners from the airport. In the yellow jeep waits a man with bleach blonde hair. A skinny blonde woman walks out of the airport; the man walks out of the car. He handles her suitcase in the back; he props open the door for her.

In a white BMW waits a woman on her phone. A man walks out the airport and the woman jolts out of the driver’s seat; she greets the man with a hug and kiss, her legs hanging off the floor as the man lifts her.

I waited 30 minutes and you pulled up in your white Honda SUV. You barely greeted me. 

We talked about our family and our somewhat complicated relationship with them. Dug a bit deeper than we usually do. Or maybe this was our norm.

* * *

You saw my self-affirmation sticky notes taped on the wall above our heads. “What’s that?” you asked. I told you a BoJack Horseman reference and how I had everything but felt immense emptiness inside.

* * *

I didn’t believe you when you told me that you were also interested in philosophy. I made fun of you for what I perceived to be a lie.

You made fun of me for not knowing Camus.

* * *

You mentioned your mom. She sounds like she has big expectations of you.

I mentioned my dad. I wanted to cut off all contact with him.

We mentioned forced religion in our lives. We were born skeptics.

* * *

I told you that I might be gay. You told me that your best friend in high school was also gay or bisexual. You had a “thing” with her before she entered a relationship with women.

* * *

I came rushing to lunch to swipe you in and pay for your meal. You sat distanced from me on your phone, checking fantasy sports. We didn’t talk much that lunch. I left without saying goodbye and you found me in my room moments later. I asked you to help me blow up this balloon, you yelled at me and told me to stop asking.

* * *

Let me start again: You used it against me.

You stole my charger from the wall, deliberately knowing it was mine. You cut off contact with me, knowing there was no way for me to reach you. You clung onto it until I ran into you full faced red, yelling, “Give me back my charger!” 

* * *

I unadded you and blocked you. Then at a party, I made out with another man, someone you were talking to minutes before, in front of you.

* * *

You came to my room high or drunk weeks after we cut off contact. You came with your friend, or rather, my neighbor. You asked me to make you a cup of noodles; I said no but that I’d teach you.

You ignored me and talked to your friend. I ignored you and played on my phone. I looked up and your body was facing me. You met my eyes and shifted your stance away from me.

We talked to your friend, but our eyes only met each other’s. Your friend got bored and left.

We played chess at 5 a.m. I fell asleep and you were gone the next morning. 

* * *

I always liked your forehead. I complimented it often.

You only started to wear your hair up after we stopped talking. 

* * *

You came to take your Vodka from the freezer. I told you, drunk, that I was going on a date with a woman. You told me not to embarrass myself and left the door, slamming.

* * *

You smiled when you looked at me and tried to mask it.

You yelled at me and called me an idiot for not missing you. 

You told all your friends how much I liked you. 

I told you to take your things from my apartment. To not leave your trash hanging over. To take the trash out, which included you. 

* * *

You tried coming into the apartment. I didn’t look at you. I wasn’t responsive. You weren’t welcomed. 

* * *

You made me feel soft.

We sat on the corner nook of the living room. You slept while I read a book on Nietzsche. I whispered it, knowing it would soothe you. I tangled my legs against yours. Your sock barely hung on your heel. 

I watched as you slept. Your soft but sunken eyelids. 

* * *

“What do you find hot?” you asked.


Our faces dived into each other. 

* * * 

You made me feel weak and strong at the same time.  

Smart and stupid.

Happy and mad.

Ultimately it was too much. You were too much. I was too much.

When too much comes together, it becomes nothing. 

We were nothing.

Or so I tell myself. To bury it. To bury myself in you.