I thought knew how much I loved you.
I thought I knew the way you made me feel but the distance between us has taught me that I knew nothing.
That I know nothing.
I once thought that love would be like a fire. Shakespeare and all those clichés of love as a flame, consuming those that dare indulge, but they’re so wrong. Love is a heavy rain on the 4th of July. The noise, the spontaneous, airborne combustion, the intolerable heat; it all stops when you’re around. All I feel is the cool water on my face and the wet blades of green beneath my toes. It drips down my cheeks and floods my open mouth. It fills my veins and sends shivers to every cell of my being, waking me up. I didn’t even know I was asleep until I opened my eyes and there you were with your hair slightly disheveled, talking about how gardenias smell at Christmas.
Before you, I was on fire, burning with this primal anger at the world and at myself for feeling, not just the pure rage but any form of emotion. I was a wicked thing let loose by broken tethers to the world around me.
Before you, I was burnt. I was ashes littering the floor of my room, warming the cold tiles with a white hot heat. When I look at you, I’m born again and where once was char becomes something soft and tangible. I can feel your gaze like hands on me. Fingers running through my hair and down my back, lacing with my own. You see me. The love, the kindness, the hunger is all there, swirling into infinite cerulean. It’s only when I’m looking into that blue that I realize that “falling in love” is the perfect way to describe that feeling. I stand on the edge of your long lashes and listen to the sound of my name roll off your lips. I love the way you say my name, emphasizing the first part, the little crests and falls forming questions I’m too intoxicated to answer. I listen and I dive into the blue. I’m enveloped in it like satin and silk, over my scarred skin. I close my eyes and see the world as it is between us. You make me feel like you and I are the only people on Earth, banal as it may sound. If I close my eyes the universe is just you and me, sitting on a grassy hill somewhere in the Hebrides, watching the wind turn the grass into a breathing ocean, endless and green. I look at you and I see possibilities. I see dreams I never wanted. I see a house, a family, fifty possible outcomes of our lives intertwined. Before you, I planned for one. I planned to leave everything behind and live by myself, for myself. A sail passing in the night leaving only fading waves lost in the sea. Now instead of an incense-filed studio above a coffee shop, I see a ship-lapped two bedroom with a yard and wonder what you think about holidays with my parents and a wrap-around porch.
You say you love me best when I feel I look the worst. At first, it annoyed me to no end. I just wanted someone else to agree with me so we could co-vent about how my skin is breaking out or how my eyeliner looks like I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of “An American Tail”. I wanted validation for the enormous letdown that was my body. I wanted someone to tell me that, yes, I was disgusting so I wouldn’t have to keep worrying if the dementors from high school were right. My thought process was that if you would just tell me all of my flaws and shortcomings, I could try and chameleon myself into someone worthy of your time. Instead, you called me beautiful. You called me beautiful and for the first time in my life, I believed it. Shockingly, you seemed to love me just as I am. I began to like the idea that even when I scrape the spackle and paint off my face at the end of the day, you’d want me. I could be vulnerable around you without worrying which kidney the knife would nick this time. “Every little bit” is what you say and every little bit is what I want to give you. Everything I have and more. I want you to have anything and everything because that’s what you deserve. Not just for what you do for me but for who you are.
I love the way you think above all else. I like to think we make the perfect team. When I have a dream or idea that goes way beyond the realm of idealism, you know exactly how to make it come true. You’re logical where I’m romantic but in a way that makes everything seem possible. You treat every fantasy like a possibility and you’re smart enough to make it happen. If we joined forces for evil, the entire Marvel universe would tremble in terror. We’d be unstoppable. The thing that drives me crazy about you is that you don’t even see the kinds of perfect that you are. You have all of this talent in everything you do, all of this spark and fire in your heart and you act like you’re just this normal guy. If I had even half your brain I’d be boasting to everyone I know and I’d buy 22 billboards all over town with “I’m smarter than you all, Tee Hee” plastered on the front with a number people could call to hear testimonials from others about my genius or a direct line to my grandmother so she could tell them how great I am and a good recipe for buttermilk pie. With a full Atlas brain, I’d go mad with power by noon and find a way to get my cat appointed as head of the national guard. Your mind amazes me. I find myself lost in thought constantly wondering about you. What you’re doing, what you’re thinking, what you would do if you were here. Missing you is like having a phantom limb, feeling a part of me that is no longer here. Sometimes, if I allow myself to get too lost I can almost see you sitting next to me. Almost feel your arm brush against mine. Almost reach my hand up to your face and brush away those locks of hair that fall right on your forehead. I like to imagine what you’d say. Sometimes it’s profane laced descriptions of how hot it is outside. Mostly it’s everyday comments like your revulsion at my olive sandwiches or commentary on a show I’m watching.
When we watch t.v. my favorite part of anything is your commentary. You make me laugh and you make me cry. I think I’ve cried more with you than I have in my entire life. I cry because I love you. I cry because you love me. I cry because I’m happy that I have you. Unnaturally happy in a way that I would have sworn up and down was reserved for characters in vintage musicals. If I could dance, I’d dance. If I could sing, I’d sing for you and about you to anyone that’d listen. If I could rollerblade, I’d do all three and put on an adaptation of Xanadu just for you. But, since I can’t do any of those things, I’ll just keep telling you that I love you because that’s as simple and as truthful I can be. I’m a better person for knowing you and I’m the luckiest person alive for loving you and being loved in return. You are my everything.
Sine amore, nihil est vita