Call me cliche but I’d love to have a Polaroid camera again. I like that you can write the date and captions right onto them and remember as soon as you pick it up. Mostly I like it because you get a sort of authenticity you can’t get with digital cameras or camera phones. Once a picture is online or stored on a hard drive it becomes transmissible. Anyone can see it at any time in any given context, but when it’s one single picture with one single copy, that memory can belong to you forever and the value of it is untouched and purely your own. You know?
What distance has done to me is make it so that in the time I get to spend with you, I can’t get rid of all my missing you, I can’t stop feeling your absence, I can’t seem to get close enough to you to prove to myself that you’re near, that I don’t have to miss you now. I keep missing you when you sit right next to me and that’s why I press my lips so hard against yours, just to make sure you’re still there. That’s why I climb on top of you and get rid of any space that separates our bodies, even though we just had sex. It’s not a sex thing, it’s an insatiable longing to be near you that never ever goes away and sometimes it eats at me until I force myself on you, grab your thigh suddenly, feel out every detail of your face with my fingertips even though I know you hate that. In all those moments you catch me staring a little too intensely at you (not exactly “catching” it, because it’s too obvious to miss) I’m memorizing the shape, size, and placement of every single freckle on your face, the little creases in your lip, the pattern the hair on the back of your neck grows in. I’m keeping time to the beating of your lashes, making note of what you look like when you sniffle, committing to memory how you execute every movement so that in your absence, when I no longer have that indulgence, I can take solace in your not so distant memory. Not any specific memory, because those can lose their vitality with too much use. The ones I covet are the ones that never die, the ones that hold your very lifeblood. Sometimes those sorts of memories are only felt within the feeling of closeness. So I get closer, closer, closer.
I want to share everything with you, from my collection of unfinished water bottles to the piles of ash that collect on the side tables and makeshift ash trays. From dental floss to dirty dishes, old leftovers in the fridge to toilet paper rolls. Kisses before work, your morning coffee, trivial details about our days - I want to share everything with you. I wish all my things were in the cabinets, on the shelves, in the dresser, on the counter instead of in an overnight bag. I wish there were pictures of the two of us in nice frames all over the house. I wish you’d ask me to turn up the volume on the TV or the radio and I’d make sure it was on an even number, just for you. I wish I could bother you on your day off and ask you to dig my car out of the snow and I wish you’d bang on the bathroom door when I’m singing in the shower because I’m using up all the hot water. I wish you’d cook us dinner and I’d wash the dishes in return, and the next day we’d argue over who has to take out the trash. I wish you were there when I was putting on makeup in the morning, telling me how much you wish I wouldn’t. I wish you’d ask me to shave your neck every few weeks, making me tremble a little every time, warning me not to mess up. I wish I could bring home all those things you never have and don’t think you really need like band-aids, cold medicine, tissues, and lotion. I want to sit around while you’re challenging your friends to some video game and I want to go downstairs to do laundry together so we don’t get scared. I want to know all your stories first-hand, laugh and finish your sentences when you tell them at parties. I want to share in every hardship, every triumph, every laugh, and every (almost) tear. I want you to be the one I come home to.
You and I see love a little differently, but it’s not a bad thing. When I say I love you beyond reason, it’s the way I feel and there’s no “why” or “how” about it, but there’s no way around it. I know that I love you in the same way that I know one foot goes in front of the other when I walk and in the same way I know my heart will beat faster when I’m nervous and in the same way I know to dot my “i“‘s and cross my “t“‘s. I love you without conscious thought, I love you because I am me and because you are you. That’s why I get so confused when you ask me why it is that I love you, and I hardly ever give a straight answer. But if there’s one thing I know about you and me, it’s that when our thoughts and opinions clash, we compromise. So I’m going to tell you “why” I love you.
I love you because of how passionate you are. I love your intensity. No matter whether it’s in your work, your relationships, your ideas or opinions, good or bad, you have a sort of undying fervency in you. Even on the days that you don’t want to get out from under the covers in the morning and I have to dress you while you lie in bed. Even on those days, you do everything with a sort of passion. The same sort of passion I, myself, lack. The sort I somehow lost, but you build it back up a little more every day. I love you because of that.
I love you because of your range of interests. You’ve built up an arsenal of knowledge and I don’t think you even realize how you crave learning. All the documentaries, bullshit Discovery channel shows, even those conspiracy theories, I love it all. The cooking, the cars, the music, the movies; everything that interests you makes me fall in love with you more and more. I love you because of that.
I love you because you’re gentle with me. You’re probably going to laugh at that because we both know the extent to which you wrestle me, twist my arm, and throw me around. And we both know how much you love to pick on me and say absolutely anything to get under my skin. But I also know that you always know if you’ve gone too far and you make an effort not to. You do whatever you can to make it up to me, make me laugh, get me smiling again. You stand up for me when you need to and make sure no one says that word I don’t like. And even though you have different views than me on certain things, you always, always look out for me when I’m hurt or in danger. You don’t believe in depression but you were the most positive influence and biggest support when you noticed I cut myself. You put my well-being before your pride and I couldn’t thank you enough. I love you because of that.
I love you because you’re not always stuck in the present. You look forward to the future the way I do. I love that we can talk about how we see our future and that we both see it being together. When you start moving up at work, you’re always anticipating the next move. You’re never just stuck where you are, you’re always looking for more in the best possible way. It’s never boring because we’re always dreaming. I love you because of that.
I love you because you’re my best friend. That means you’re the person I want to tell about my day, spend all my time with, exchange stories and secrets with. The person I go to for support, advice, a good laugh, but I’ve told you all of that. The thing is, the only thing I love more than being alone is being with you as often as possible. I feel so fortunate to have someone whose touch I crave, whose warmth, lips, and fingertips I hunger for, regardless of the last time I saw you. I’m fortunate because I never tire of your arms around me, my head on your chest, or your heartbeat thumping in my ear. Tightening the grip of my arm around your waist, my legs intertwined with yours, or tracing the goosebumps down your side. The really amazing thing is that you actually don’t tire of me either (or so you say). I love you because of that.
I love you because you can embrace my quirks that drive you crazy. You know if I say I’ll be over in a little while I really mean at least an hour and a half. You know how bad I am at painting my nails and that even if I tell you I don’t want breakfast I’m probably going to Dunkin as soon as I leave your house anyway. You know how I sleep the day away and can never sleep at night because I took my pills when I didn’t need to. You know how I love my old movies and hate country music and you can poke fun at me but you accept every little one of my flaws. As I do yours. I love you because of that.
I love you because of your big personality. The way you light up a room, steal everyone’s attention with your presence and your voice and your laughter. The way you can talk to anyone about anything and will go on and on sometimes and make me feel like I can hear the stream of thought going through your head. I love the way you can share all that conscious thought and be yourself, as corny as that sounds. Because you’re proud of the person you have become and are teaching me to be the same way. Because I’ve never felt like I know someone inside and out like I do with you, and I owe that to you. I love you because of that.
I can go on forever and ever, and I plan to. But right now you’re waiting for me to be ready and come over (as usual) so I’ll leave it at this and pick it up again another day. I love you even more than I love my reasons for loving you, but I know you love to hear them so I’ll write you a novel any time you ask.
It could’ve been that very first moment at the train station when I saw your face in a crowd and you made your way over to me and when you grabbed my face and kissed me right there, picked me up, and it was so surreal I barely experienced it. It could’ve been on the ride back to your place when the sky turned purple instead of pink and your song for me came on the radio and I couldn’t stop staring, waiting for that smile I love to quietly creep up on you when you noticed what I was doing. It could’ve been when we laid in your bed for an hour after that just staring, smiling, occasionally laughing and kissing. It might have been watching The Town, laying in bed with my head on your chest, legs tangled with yours, smoking the vape and feeling your chest inflate with the inhale and then mine doing the same when you exhaled with a kiss. Maybe it was when I woke up to the rain of the storm, your kisses on my back, and “beautiful girl” being whispered in my ear. Or even when I turned to face you and the sun shone through the blinds for the first and only time that day; it wasn’t just bright, it shone golden yellow and it hit you from behind. You looked heaven sent and I was sure you were. It could’ve been after the thousandth time I’d said I hated you and the thousand and first time you told me I would. It could’ve been when I felt your kiss again for the first time in a long time, or it could’ve been after I’d been feeling it all weekend. It might have been when I found every spot on your back that makes you shiver if I scratch it, when I felt every goosebump on your skin under my fingertips and smiled. It could’ve been each morning that I woke up to you thinking how much I’d like all of my mornings to be just like it. Maybe it was when I became the big spoon and you got that bashful smile whenever I kissed your cheeks and I pulled you in close the way you always do or when you tried to scratch my back the way I do. It could’ve been when you slapped me in the face with your pants when I tried to help you with your laundry or when I threw up outside Anne’s Market that first night and you never brought it up again. It could’ve been laughing at what a sore loser you were at wine wasted Monopoly or when you cleaned it all up the next morning. Even more likely could be when I laughed uncontrollably at your face when you lost your grip on the table you were moving, “strongest friend you know.” It could’ve been the night before when I was almost asleep and I heard you say “I think I might love you,” just like you had said so many times before. Then when I turned and looked you dead in the eyes for what seemed like an eternity, wondering if my pupils were dilating when I realized yours weren’t. When I finally spoke up and said, plainly but honestly, “I don’t think you do, but I do love you,” and I turned lazily back around. But I think it really could have been immediately after that when you put your arms around me and squeezed me so tightly, because I felt your relief in that hug. When I felt that force, although I knew I was right in my statement, I also knew it meant something to you. Truthfully, I’m not really sure when exactly it happened, but I decided on you all over again. It doesn’t matter when it happened; I love everything with you, everything about you, and I decided on you.
I feel like I’m trying to blame the sadness I feel right now on the fact that this happens to me all the time because I’m used to being upset about that. The fact of the matter is I’m very much in love with him, as stupid as it feels, these are the most honest feelings I’ve had for someone. And it was a selfless kind of love. As trivial as it seems, I knew it for certain when I noticed myself running my fingers up and down his back until I fell asleep, utterly contented. It was the first time I’d done so without the gnawing desire to switch places even crossing my mind. More often than not, love is given in the pursuit of being loved in return. I love him even when I don’t feel his love. It’s only been a few days, and I’m really good about getting over relationships, but every one of my methods is falling flat and I don’t know why. In the last hour, when I was trying not to think about him, I made a list of 51 things that made me think of him in that moment.
Waking up, sitting in my appointments expecting to have a text waiting for me when I get out, getting dressed, pizza, dresses, water bottles, music (not just our music either- ALL music), seeing a picture that said “free mustache rides”, my boots, every single picture on my phone for the last 3 months, Reese’s, Kit-Kats, my body pillow, smoking mids, taking things out of my refrigerator, my own handwriting, Thanksgiving, Netflix, my white sweater, Watsky, orange juice, the Skype icon, dogs (especially bull dogs), porches, my own naked body, windows, the Oreos in my room which I still haven’t eaten, Mumford’s new album, cooking supplies, Frank Sinatra, certain voice inflections, the library, closing my eyes, Folk music, my future, getting text messages, Boston accents, 12:34 and every combination of it, pointing, dimples, my notebook, Workaholics, veins, showering, Justin Bieber, boat shoes, porn, the letter “m”, Catherine Zeta-Jones (dips beneath lasers), flannels, making sad faces
Actually, there was a hell of a lot more but I realized this is crazy and it needs to stop, but I’ve been throwing out “I don’t want to talk about it” so much I think I’m going to explode soon and I want to do nothing but talk about him. Well, truthfully, I want to talk TO him but I need to at least get over that
I appreciate the pep talks and everything but regardless of the situation I don’t want to tear him down and I don’t want anyone else to either, he was nothing but good to me it just didn’t work out for him for whatever reason and I just have to learn to be okay with that but I’m not going to demonize him to make myself feel better, he doesn’t deserve that and I’d be lying if I said anything bad about him
I love the red in your beard and the freckles on your face and I love the hair on your arms and your long, dark eyelashes. I love your breath on the back of my neck and the spot between your bottom lip and your chin where your beard’s a little darker. I love the hair on your chest that tickles my nose when I hold you some nights and your eyes that change from green to brown and never lose their intensity. I love your voice when it’s bellowing along with your friends’ and I love it when it’s whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I love the wrinkles around your eyes when you’re laughing and the ones on your forehead when you’re concentrating and I’d even love them when you get old and they become permanent. I love the muscles at the top of your back and your toe with only half a toenail and I love the small gap between your teeth and I even love the veins in your arms. I love the way you walk when you wake up in the morning and your undeniably inviting lips and I love your hands when they’re covered in plaster or cornmeal and I love them even more when they’re on my hips. I love to watch your pupils grow and your lips part into a smile and the dimples form in the scruff on your cheeks. I love when you sneak a kiss even though your friends bust your balls when they see and how you train yourself not to say that word I don’t like and I love when you raise your eyebrows and cock your head and when you swing your arms around during a story and I love talking back when you talk in your sleep and feeling the strength in your arms when you pick me up. I love your tone when you rant and rave and I love it more when you’re talking about life or giving me reassurance. I love you blowing me a kiss before you leave for work in the morning and I love how vividly I can still imagine you doing it. I love you being able to tell me the exact thought in my head before I ever say a word even though I always deny it and I love waking up from a deep sleep to be greeted by your already bright-eyed and smiling face as if to say, “Welcome home”. I love every sigh, grunt, whisper, and hum. Every deep breath, every quiet murmur, every bat of your eye and brush of your hand. Every freckle, every hair, every bone in your body. Every rise of your chest, as well as the fall, every step up the stairs, every glance in my direction. Every laugh, every cough, every bite you took of a Reese’s. Every speech, every sentence, every word that’s ever left your lips. I love it all, I love everything, I love you.
I’d been living in a fantasy world and what you said snapped me back to reality. I’m not, by any means, upset with you for it - I needed a serious reality check. I’m just trying to come to terms with it and trying hard not to be hurt by it because you’re absolutely right. I guess I’d just hoped you were living in a fantasy too
The first time you told me you loved me, you warned me. You were drunk as all Hell, throwing up on the front porch, and I was at the 24-hour CVS picking up band-aids for your bloody thumb when you called me. You told me that tonight you were going to tell me a lot of things. They were all good things and I’d like them a lot but I’d have to ignore it. When I got back to your house, we went up to your room and you got the spins and threw up out the window and then sat with your back against the bed, begging me not to hate you. “I never would,” I laughed. You said, “I know I told you to ignore me, but only ignore it half way because it’s all true.” You told me some things you loved about me and then, “I love - nevermind.” But I wanted to know and you admitted you were going to tell me you loved me, but I told you you didn’t. “You’re right it’s too soon.” And it was, but I was glad you said it.
The second time you told me you loved me, I think we must’ve been high because I don’t remember why but we were laughing uncontrollably in your bed. I was watching you (you know how I love watching you do anything), and I admired the way your eyes crinkled and the creases your dimples made in your beard and the little gap in your toothy smile and thought how beautiful you looked, but I didn’t say anything. Still laughing and with such confidence you said, “I love you so much,” and I stopped laughing but still smiled just the same. You told me you were sorry and I told you not to be. You asked why, but I didn’t say anything. You said you were sorry, but you never took it back.
The third time you told me you loved me was early on a Saturday. My hair was still wet from the shower that morning and your skin still smelled sweet. You had been telling me all morning, “I think it’s more than ‘like’,” and still, all I could do was smile. You sat on the edge of the bed while I gave you a massage and when I put my ear next to your cheek you whispered, “I might love you.” I might, I might, I might.
The first time I told you I loved you, I whispered it to myself while you were asleep. Just to see how it would sound out loud. I loved the way it sounded and I might have loved you too.
The first time we told each other we loved one another was this morning. We got into our first fight last night, with me crying and yelling about the dark of my past, and I was drunk but I think I went to sleep feeling safe again, drowning out the sound of old demons with the familiar rhythm of your heartbeat. This morning, you pulled me in close and planted a trail of kisses up my spine, to my shoulder, to my neck. I turned, smiling sleepily, and with wide eyes and your pupils dilating, you said, “I love you.” Just like that. Almost in a matter-of-fact way, like we’d already known it for a thousand years. In that moment, hearing you say those words felt like unexpectedly hearing my name being called in a raffle with a million people. It felt like the best part of your favorite song you always wait to sing along to or adventitiously finding something you’d lost years ago. It felt like one of those perfect dreams where you wake up happy and even though you know it wasn’t real, you bask in the fantasy for a while. But this wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a fantasy and the truth was on your tongue and the proof was in your eyes and I admitted it; I love you too.
Being with you feels like starting over. I don’t like to admit that there are some things I never dealt with but I didn’t think I needed this as bad as I did. Now, when I say starting over, I mean I get to ignore anything and everything that’s happened to me in the past and relish in the blissful naivety I feel any time I take a thorough look at you. You’ve got gentle, honest eyes and a calm, genuine smile. I don’t know if you knew that. I’m able to comfortably fall into you and I do so eagerly and completely. No games, no hint of distrust, skepticism, or doubt. Nothing can touch me or you or us and we’re finally safe. This is something so entirely different and new to me because not only do you make my heart beat out of my chest and my mind go blank, but you put me at ease. I’m not scared to feel those things anymore and I welcome it with open arms. My mind is free of worry, my chest free of pain, and my heart free of hesitation. I don’t think I’ll be able to make you understand how I feel when I say everything feels right, but just know it’s the only time I’ve been able to say it in complete confidence. You changed everything I thought I knew, broke down walls I had no idea were there, and made me really, genuinely feel again. You make me flustered, but not nervous. You make me vulnerable, but secure. You make me irrational, but sane. You do something crazy to me but it makes sense. Don’t make me let you go