Tag Archives: What is love?

I knew this was home

When you knocked on my door, shy smile on your face, my heart skipped a beat, and it must have known before I though it even possible.

When we laughed for hours at the coffee shop, my eyes were kissed pink red, and my heart must have told them.

When my fingers rested in between yours, comfortable in the gaps, comforted by the weight, and they tightened on their own, and they must have known.

When my arm slipped around your shoulders, the laugh shaking around them whispered to me, “hey, you know what this is?”

When you pushed me up against the door and kissed my breath away, I realized I had been drowning, and your touch was my air, your hands were my anchor to land, your eyes were my lighthouse through the night, and I never wanted to stop breathing and finding you.

When the words slipped through your lips, I think I finally knew, even though your said “no, not yet,” your eyes said, “yes, yes, maybe I know too,” and I think I knew this was going to be home.

When I told you that I knew, and you said yes, and I said yes, and you spun me around, I knew this was home.

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Hey love

Hey love, do you remember when we were young? Even before we had met, we were already saying the same words and feeling the same emotions, and we just did not know it.

Hey love, do you remember when you were just another young single? In college and confused about everything?

I do. I remember it clearly. The summer before third year. It was a hot summer (as it always is in my hometown), and I had no car, nothing to do, no one I wanted to see, only my laptop and my dog and my bedroom. And I knew nothing. I was sure of nothing.

I had plenty to say. I knew what my major was, but not my career. I knew what my hobbies were, but not my true passions. I knew who I loved, but not who I was in love with. I had things I wanted to do, things I had planned, but nothing that I had done. But they would take me on dates and I could talk plenty, but it was never enough. My words filled nothing but empty space, and the more words I poured into space, the emptier it became.

But you were the same.

You were a gentleman, respectful and courteous and traditional, but of course never too posh because you were just as young and wild as I was. You threw your head back at all of my awful pick-up lines, and where I filled the space with words, you filled it with laughter. You had a job, but not a career. You had a home and a car, but no one to fill them with. You were a playboy but always so sweet to me anyway.

Hey love, remember when we threw all of that together? We never really figured out any of our confusion, but somehow, we made it work.

Hey love, remember when you saw your first grey hair? You complained about growing old, but your heart was still as young and wild as ever.

And so maybe we are old. Maybe we have kids and grandkids and aching joints and creaking bones and a house, once new, with faded white walls and stained pots and pans and clothes that are soft and loose, once denim and tight. Maybe we can no longer run around the park as fast as we can, arms thrown up and faces toward the sun, spinning and falling and grabbing hands. Maybe we wake up with the sun and sleep with it too, instead of defying every waking hour as we once did. Maybe our hair is all grey and white, and our skin is permanently wrinkled, and we have crow’s feet and laugh lines and frown lines and sagging skin everywhere.

Hey love, do you remember when I had to stay goodbye? You were fading, but with a smile on your face even as you left me for the last time.

Hey love, do you remember when I closed that wooden door for the last time? You were long gone, your insides no longer what I knew and no longer mine, but now stuffed and preserved with things I could never bear to think about it.

We were young singles then old couple and through it all I could talk and talk and talk and I knew exactly what to say and our kids and grandkids always got sick of me. But you never did.

But now there is no one left to hear me talk.

Hey love, when you left, did your soul leave your body and walk through me as I held your hand? Did you take my voice box with you when you walked away from this mortal Earth? Can I follow your ghost and leave behind this torturous silence?

Hey love, can we go back to when we were young?

(Inspired by a friend’s prose: “Old couple young single talking talk”)


The love I got instead

I wanted love.

I wanted the perfect fairy-tale, storybook fantasy of love.

I wanted the midnight serenades, the breakfast made in bed, the dinner served with wine, the red rose bouquets, the love poem notes.

I wanted the sunset car rides, the beach picnics, the two dogs and two kids, the white-picket fence house with a big backyard.

I wanted the frilly white wedding dress, the self-written vows, the cake on our faces, the toasts that made us cry, the small family wedding.

I wanted the love that everyone on earth has talked about and written about and sang about and had.

But that’s not what I got.

I didn’t get the perfect package of love that I was always told that I would get – if I just waited long enough, the perfect person would come my way.

No, I didn’t get the perfect person.

I got you, and I don’t think anyone could ever come closer.

I got the off-tune singing in the shower, the burnt sunny-side-up eggs, the dry chicken served with a sheepish smile, the white orchids (because that’s my middle name), the texts that said “Love you baby.”

I got the traffic-laden car rides home from the beach, a cooler of drinks but no snacks because we both forgot, no dogs and no kids because we’re too young, and separate apartments because we’re at different stages in our life.

I didn’t even get talks about marriage because we’re far far far from there.

Our love isn’t the perfect story where you sweep me off my feet after waking me with true love’s kiss. Our love isn’t that of Romeo and Juliet or Wall-E and Eve. Our love is more like two wolf clubs playing together – we bite but we don’t know how harsh our teeth are, we wrestle because we want to come out on top, we’re young and immature, but we’re cute and fluffy and full of a thirst for life, and we have the potential to be so much more.

I didn’t get the love I had always dreamed about. I got something better.

(And I know you’re going to complain about how damn cheesy I am, but I know you feel the same).


You and I fit

You look at me with a smile, and I can’t help but smile back.

You smile with eyes crinkled, lip corners upturned, the barest hint of teeth. I smile with eyes almost closed, lip corners stretched, all my top teeth showing.

Your hair is styled to stay in shape, and I leave mine to do as it will.

You have long fingers and pale hands, and it doesn’t look like you’ve done a day of manual labor in your life. I have short fingers and soft hands that are covered in callouses from all my years in a marching band.

You like holding hands, and I hate it but I’ll do it with you anyway. It makes you happy, but you never push me.

You like to wear t-shirts and skinny jeans, and I do too.

You like to drive with sun roof open, and I enjoy sitting in the passenger seat.

You like to wear this big-brimmed straw hat all the time, and I think it’s kind of silly but it looks cute on you all the same.

You like to go to the gym for hours to pick up heavy things and put them down because it makes you feel strong. I dance in the mirrored room upstairs, hips swaying and hands soft because dance makes me feel graceful.

You like to play online video games that take hours, and I like to sit next to you on the bed and do my own thing.

You are different from me, and yet, we fit so well it feels as if we were made from the same piece.

And that’s enough to tell me that we fit, just as well as our smiles in pictures, our bodies against each other, our fingers and legs intertwined, our humor as it bounces back and forth, and everything else in between.


Singing

I can’t sing, at least not well.

And you say you can’t either.

But that doesn’t stop us from singing along to every song that comes on the radio, even if we don’t know the words, when we’re driving with the sunroof open and not a care in the world beyond what food adventure we’re having next.

But even if we can’t sing, I can still hear music when I’m around you.

Every one of your sentences is a song: each word a verse, each pause a bridge, each stutter a staccato rhythm, every breath a swell of music, and every exclamation a climax. And I could listen to your songs all day.

But my heart plays its own music in response to yours, with every accelerato rapidly increasing my heart rate just because I’m near you, with every rest as my heart skips a beat when you look my way, with the fortissimo loud beating of my heart when your face is close to mine.

And when we’re ever closer, lying side by side, our breathing plays a duet, at sometimes synchronized and at others weaving together intricate bars of a calm, quiet music.

We can’t sing, but I will learn every one of your favorite songs on the piano just to see you smile.

We can’t sing, but I’ll sing out the beating of my heart if only it would make you happy.

I can’t sing, but I will serenade you with every love poem that I write to convey how much music you bring to my life.

And I don’t need you to sing either.

All you have to do is say yes.


Artistry

You make me want to be an artist, or at least learn how.

You make me want to learn how to use those small, soft sticks of charcoal and that thick, ridged paper so that I may capture the lines of your face in perfect black and white detail. Because words will not do them justice: the window frames of your eyes that hold the clearest view to your soul, the bridge of your nose that divides your face into imperfect symmetry, the height of your cheekbones that seem ever higher when you turn your face up towards the sun, the outline of your lips that I can never get enough of (whether that be staring or touching or kissing, it doesn’t matter).

But even if I learned how to charcoal in the lines of your face, I would need to learn how to transform water colors and colored pencils and paints into the shade of your irises, a shade found in only those two places in all of nature. Could I learn how to mix the correct colors and use my fingers to lay down into my outlines your stunning eyes? You make me want to.

And if I can color in your eyes, then I would wish to learn how to use a calligraphy brush, its hairs hard yet malleable, to brush onto those pages the flat planes and smooth curves of your body: the diagonal line from the side of your face and down to your chin to form your jaw, the curve of your neck that transforms into the curve of your shoulder, the angled outward jut of your hipbone, the sinuous curve of your spine, the long-lined shadows that your legs cast whenever you walk, the alternating and flowing shapes of your fingers as they dance with every sentence you speak.

If I can capture your body, surely I could learn to use pencils and pens, dark as the night sky and any raven’s feather, to draw each individual strand of your hair, to pause those strands’ movements just for a moment to lay them down into a permanent pose on paper. But how impossible that seems – I doubt the Renaissance artists themselves could capture the crazy flowing of your hair with every shake of your head, every spinning circle of your body, every time you run your hands through your hair and ruffle it.

To the core of the earth and to the farthest reaches of the universe, you make me want to be an artist, and I can only ask every god and goddess that I don’t believe in how they could have been willing to share the masterpiece that is your smile. I would use every medium, drawn or painted or photographed, if only I could capture every instance that that smile appeared, and I would learn the art of comedy if only to keep it there forever.

You make me want to learn to be an artist if only to have phantom images of you even after you leave my presence. Your very presence makes me want to be an artist, but I never have the time because all of it is soaked up in your laughter and your words and your hands, and every breath I take is art in and of itself if I can breathe you in, and I would gladly spend the rest of my life just breathing you in. (Because no art of scent-making could ever bottle the smell of your joy for the world and your appreciation for all the lives in it.)

You inspire me to be an artist (of words because that is the best way I know), and I can only hope that these words do that inspiration justice.


Our love was toxic

I don’t know how to turn this heartbreak into words. I don’t know how to turn it into something tangible, something I can write down and tear into pieces. I don’t know how I ever was able to before. I always thought that heartbreak would get easier, but it doesn’t. And I knew it was coming too, I saw it from a mile away.

Because it was in the way we started, wrong, toxic, rotten, poison, something to get rid of before it could spread. But it was still human, because humans are not perfect and humans fuck up and sometimes badly. And we were still human. And we were weak, too fragile, too delicate, too vulnerable to be on our own.

(And he made me feel human, he reminded me what it felt like to feel. To care. To love. To hope. Above all, gods and goddesses I don’t believe in, he made me remember how to hope.)

So maybe still wrong and toxic and rotten and poison but still human. Still hopeful. But still so wrong, and we hated ourselves and we wanted to hide away from the world. Because we did not deserve to be in the garden that was life when we had just thrown trash in it.

But we turned it into something beautiful, something worth looking at, caring about, loving. Our beginning was transformed into something we wanted to keep if only because around its hated core was something we both wanted.

But no matter how beautiful the growth, the stem, the leaves, the blooming flowers – the seed was rotten. And we both knew it. But we wanted to breathe the air and reach for the sky and together feel the rain on our skin as we grew ever more brightly. But it wasn’t enough. And time passed and the rot made itself known and it spread.

The flowers died, but we rallied and if we could just reach a little further, a little longer, we could make it. But no, the leaves died and so did the stem, and we were left with nothing but the dead pieces of our growth. Everything we had nurtured was now nothing but shriveled, wilted remains lying the dirt. And our rotten seed was exposed for the world to see.

And so we threw all of it away, and it was no more. But our wilted flowers were already lost in the dirt, and maybe the results of our beginning can be a good thing for that garden. But not for us. Never for us.

Our rotten seed is gone but always remembered. And that brief moment of beauty of life too will be remembered. But only fleetingly. Because it was not long enough in the sun to imprint the warmth of it onto our skin.

Because it was not long enough that I am even sure it happened. Because I am weak, too fragile, too delicate, too vulnerable to be on my own. With you, I was wrong, toxic, rotten, poison, but with you, and that made all the difference.

But now I am once again on my own. And I need to search for a new beginning. But not yet. Because I do not have it within me to grow any time soon.

Because I loved you. As rotten as we were, I loved you. And I thought you loved me too, and you promised that we could make it. And I believed in you. But you threw me away as if our development meant nothing you. And maybe it’s better off this way, our rotten seed no longer polluting the garden. But that does not mean I don’t miss you all the same.