My personal space is, well, personal. Sometimes. I am defensive regarding my personal space only under trepidation of attack. Non-threateners are invited welcomingly, encouraged even, into the bubble but once a threat is sensed, barriers will develop immediately.

It was not my choice to share the couch with him, which is why my arms were wrapped around my knees, defending my personal bubble. I hadn’t seen him in a few months, not since a friend had commented that he seemed quite “taken” with me. Taken is applicable in a few ways, I suppose. He is also engaged.

When he reclined on the loveseat with his head against my forearm, I tried to pretend it was so he could see the Rock Band performance better. Plausible reasoning which meant no danger.

When it was his turn to play bass, he drunkenly declared that he needed my knees as a backrest. Only he wasn’t satisfied with my knees to stay rigidly upright. He wedged a shoulder in-between them, fidgeting until my defense-barrier knees were spread outwards and his back was comfortably plastered against my front. His head rested under my shoulder; when he lifted his face to talk to me, I could smell the last vestiges of his whiskey-Cokes.

Selfishly, the human contact was nice. Since the room was crowded and he was facing away from me, I could almost succumb to the false sense of security.

But then he reached his arm backwards to hook his elbow around my shoulder and graze his fingertips on my neck, my conscience bleated Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! and the suffocation inside my personal bubble began. I needed an escape. I briskly tapped his shoulder and claimed that I needed to make a phone call. He was surprised but untangled himself from my lap.

I stayed upstairs for an hour, watching, delightedly, as two guy friends devoured three pounds of buttercream-frosting-laden cake. Non-threats. When I finally returned to the basement group to retrieve my shoes and say my good-byes, he was still on the loveseat, passed out.

Freaking engaged. Am I the prude who imagines problems … or are they all scum?

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