It was never an immediate effect. When we came back from Paris and he said he loved me I was filled with weightless summer clouds and a feeling of serenity that lasted for weeks. But I'm a restless person, and tranquility frightens me more than any ghost.
So the more I felt good enough for him the more I wanted to understand why. I couldn't figure it out, how someone as beautiful as him would want to spend time with someone like me, how I could be seen as anything beyond inadequate. All I needed was an excuse, a sign, something to tell me that he had made a mistake, that he was in fact looking at someone else when he spoke of love.
As autumn closed in on us we decided to go swimming one late Thursday evening. The sun was beginning to set, the cliffs by the beach were still warm and people were on their way home. For days I had wanted to touch him, to feel his lips against mine and be close to his body in the water. The air was full of electricity from imminent thunder storms, and I felt magnetic as I undressed in front of him.
When, in the corner of my eye, I could see him looking away, purposely, I just felt vulnerably naked.