Birthdays and anniversaries and being together for 5 months next Wednesday aren’t important. There are promotions you’ll get at work and I won’t be home waiting to congratulate you with flowers and edible arrangements on your accomplishments, but I will send a text saying how proud I am of you, and it’ll be true. I’m quite forgetful, and when you asked for another pint of Talenti ice cream from the market, I didn’t hear you. I was busy writing a note I was trying to remember from the shower.
Weeks will go by and I won’t ask you out, but I’ll gladly accept your invitation. Time in my world doesn’t often exist, and when it does, it can be manipulated. I swear to god, two weeks passed with a single closing and a single opening of my eyes.
This is romance: you in sweats, me in sweats, us in winter on a couch. A grey sky but bright home, burning wood from a neighbor’s house to remind us of all the Halloweens we’ve known. I give you a place to bury your feet in exchange for quiet to finish my work; to finish something I’ve been working on since we met or made love. It’ll be about how your hair smelled when it was trapped between the back of my head, locking your face closer to mine. Romance is sharing all my developed characters with you, and all their well-developed flaws.
Ask me about their clothes, and their childhood, and what they’d order from the bars they frequent and you’ll find pieces of you. You’ll find I was listening when you thought I wasn’t. You’ll see that even when I was dead tired, I paid attention to what I told you wasn’t important.
You’re never allowed to be so sensitive that insecurity swallows you when I ask, “were you the one I told that to, or was it someone else?” Say yes or no, and understand.
I won’t always answer the phone, but I can always be reached. Spoken words, as you’ll find time and time again when you want to sit and have serious conversations about our future, get trapped in the middle of my throat, or, and this is rare, they come all at once when we’re not so sober. I am a writer, I am going to write, but when I speak, it will always be with intention.
Loving others will be easier, more convenient, but others can’t know you like I’ve known you. They can’t speak about you without cliché’s. Their admiration for you is like every other admiration that has ever existed. You’ll ask, “What do you love most about me,” because the question in inevitable. You’ll be satisfied when they tell you “your spirit is kind, and you’re passionate about what you believe in.”
You have a stubborn curl your fingers find when you think others aren’t looking, and you slide into the warm spot my body left when I hop out of my side of your bed. I know your neck and your wrists. I’ve studied you. I can line you up with “everybody else” you think I’ve grouped you with and find you because I know everywhere you spray every fragrance you own. I know what you smell like fresh out of the shower, and after running in the rain. You are found in pieces of every character, every scene, every song, and every half-decent adjective I’ve created since meeting you.
I am a writer. Forgive this cliché, but I know you better than you know yourself.