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Definition of Romantic Love

By Dorothy Dorcine

PROMPT — If only ...

The intimacy of hearing your voice in the dim lighting of my bedroom. My arms tangled around my pillowcase—I took my prescribed sedative moments before our call and slipped beneath the sheets. I don’t remember how the conversation began, something about The Batman and Twilight, sparkling skin and brooding appearances. Listening to your male voice, magnetic; the warmth and cadence, down-to-earth tones and Spanish accent, I want to ask you dangerous questions. Even though I know what you like from firsthand previous experience, I am tempted to ask you to tell me about your biggest fantasy—so I do. Your brief description grips me to the present, aware of my pulse points and steady breathing. I want to hear more details so I can be brought back to soft and slow kisses, teasing lips, grazing nails, looking into your eyes, feeling hazy, a natural drunk sensation, and moaning my safe word when you ask me if I remember the word I chose that will get you to stop immediately—a memory that lives rent-free in my mind. I find my way back to you on the phone when you admit that you’re lit and you’ve been smoking, and how this makes perfect sense to me because your mind doesn’t usually wander randomly. While I hope you don’t catch the flirtatious nature behind my teasing, a part of me doesn’t care. This call is about you asking me an unexpected question but I find the courage to ask mine. What is your definition of romantic love? Unconditional, understanding, and loyal—it is like you stole the words directly from my unconscious to your lips, uttered and put together thoughtfully. I am silent, the sedative keeps my muscles relaxed. I blink and don’t say what’s in my chest—that is how I love; unconditionally, with understanding, and loyalty. The moment is lost just as I receive deeper insights about your experience with the people in your life who you love. I used to want to prove to you that I was different. Now I know better—you won’t allow yourself to feel that I am different. I lose my courage to push my way further when I hear your subtle yearning for understanding and the shadows of loneliness in your drifting between-the-line responses, dismissals, and half-answers that I read into. I feel you and stop asking my hard-hitting questions, allow your high to dictate the rest of our conversation until you end the call when you get sleepy. Talk to you later. I look away from the black screen and try to get comfortable. My one milligram sedative for insomnia should be kicking in soon—but I am wide awake.


Dorothy Dorcine graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2017 from University of Central Florida and continued her education with graduate studies in script writing for television. When she isn't exploring the craft of storytelling, she is reading romance novels, watching YouTube morning routines, or listening to alternative R&B or pop music. Dorothy writes from Boca Raton, Florida.


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