I have felt inspired these past few months creatively. As gross as it sounds, I think it has much to do with being in love. Sometimes I just had a few words I wanted to write down somewhere about it, and other times it was paragraphs of moments I wanted to remember. These became dispatches of sorts — chunks of prose. Writing them has been indescribably cathartic. I’m putting some here so it feels real. Thanks for reading!
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Everything feels okay when he’s holding me. The world stops spinning, it all just slows down. Not quite to a standstill, but to a very soothing pace, like you’re in a quiet train carriage at night. Everyone is asleep, reading a book or listening to music on their headphones. All living their own little movie. The countryside — now a deep ocean blue and lit occasionally by a streetlamp or someone’s house — is scrolling along the window beside you. Where you came from doesn’t matter, and neither does where you’re going; you’re in the space between. A space that feels safe. Time hardly moves, and yet it moves too fast. When he’s holding me, I don’t think about anything else.
His fingers brush my arm, so light and gentle that I get goosebumps. He’s looking at me and I want nothing but to dive into his blue-grey eyes and drown. I wouldn’t mind drowning in him. I’m already drowning in thoughts of him. He reaches his arm around my waist and pulls me closer, kissing my forehead and sighing contently. I nestle my head into his neck and entangle my legs with his, getting as close as I possibly can. It’s never close enough but it’s okay; I’m back on my train to nowhere.
I walk him to the bus stop. It’s the opposite direction of where I am headed, but it’s an excuse to spend more time with him so who cares. We stand facing one another, our hands lightly touching, barely inches between us. He has one eye on the road and one on me. I rest my chin on his chest to stare up at him, and he moves his hands around my waist under my coat.
“Love you,” he says.
“Love you too.”
But it’s not enough. I need him to understand that it’s more.
“You deserve the world.” I pause. “I’ll give it to you somehow.”
And I mean it. I want to give him everything. I want to scoop out all of myself; my past, my present, my future. I want to hand it all over for him to keep. He can have it all.
I’ll give it to you somehow. He tells me it’s the most romantic thing he’s ever heard.
“I can see a little blackhead on your butt. Can I get it?”
I look up, startled, convinced I misheard him.
He is lying next to me, on his side in his black Calvins, looking at my exposed backside and then back at me with a sly smile. “What?” I exclaim, embarrassed and probably turning a bright shade of red. “You want to squeeze a blackhead on my bum? But you’ll be so up close.”
He interjects swiftly. “Um, I’ve been up close with your bum before.” My face must look like a tomato by now. “But it’s okay,” he adds. “It’s cool, I don’t have to.”
Somehow I feel I’m letting him down if I don’t let him squeeze the blackhead nestled between my ass cheeks. I lie down on my stomach, like I’m getting a massage (not quite), and sigh. “Okay go for it, but don’t judge me.”
He seems startled by this addition, and I startle myself a little too.
“Why would I judge you? That’s dumb,” he says and proceeds to excitedly move down the bed toward his target. He’s right, though. My boyfriend — who loves me and who I am literally lying with naked right now — is obviously not going to judge the spots on my ass. I’m saddened by my own immediate reaction to this as he has his fun. If anything, it’s a beautifully intimate moment, and I’ve never felt this close to anyone before. Lying with him at my most vulnerable, every part of me on show and unprotected, is the safest I’ve ever felt. I’m completely comfortable. I hope he is too.
He returns to the head of the bed, waving his index finger in triumph.
“I got it,” he smiles. “Look at that!”
I can’t see anything, but I’m happy he’s happy. I pull him on top of me for a kiss.
I know love exists, I have seen the movies. I spent most Sunday afternoons growing up watching trashy romances with mum; “if you’re a bird, I’m a bird” and all that stuff. But I know my place. All my life I’ve known that I was not that girl.
There’s something about always being the best friend of ‘that girl’, the ‘other one’, the one who is asked out on a dare. It’s a feeling that burrows deep under your skin. It goes layer by layer as you grow up and impacts every relationship and your entire perception of yourself. I finally grew into my own in college, I began to see my worth and so did others — but I still couldn’t let myself be liked romantically. It was as though I had cast an unbreakable protection spell on myself. I would be repulsed the second a crush showed any sort of interest or affection toward me, as though that proved some lack of intelligence or common sense: they like me? Are they crazy? My insecurities have destroyed so many of my chances.
I know love exists, I just didn’t think it was something that existed for me. Then I met him. It was all so easy, it felt like falling under a wave — I just let the water take me. If he was a river, I would be a rock. But he loves me. And I’m not scared. Instead, now I’m in this almost constant state of overwhelm. It’s like I’m buzzing all of the time because I just can’t believe it’s real. It feels impossible to be still, to be calm, because I’m overflowing with love for him. How does anyone function like this? Is this what I had been missing?
Sometimes ‘I love you’ feels like an understatement.