i love her… …because there is music in us. a muse for mix tapes and soundtracks. i hear her on the radio, i hear us in the trees. loving her is two parts rock and roll, one part rhapsody.
i love her… …independence. she has her own thing going on and she doesn’t let most things tie her down or hold her. to try to change that would be like caging a lion, cherished and tragic. she’s a survivor soul in this concrete jungle.
i love her… …voice, a pitch or two lower, rough-and-tumble, almost as loud as mine. when we met, i was looking the other direction, distracted half-hearted, but there she was saying something. it echoed, and later, i realized it sounded like my name. i was being called home.
i love her… …so i fight for her. it is what lovers do. there is no dichotomy: lover or fighter? it is lover/fighter both. i fought to get her, so i fight to keep her while i’m with her. i do not understand those who fight only to get back what they have lost. you should have been fighting all along.
i love her… …and though it’s not often, i get jealous sometimes. the sidelong, furtive glances. those old memories i can’t compete with. then they say she’s beautiful. well obviously. how had they not noticed until now? everything she does is beautiful.
i love her… …and if she ever walks away, i want it to be with the stride of knowing that love does not have to be made of lies. beautiful lies that keep everything comfortable. maybe only in the unusual is there the freedom of honesty because it is free of expectation.
i love her… …so this summer, i want to take her back to the start. sit on the rooftop of the old theatre overlooking main street, order fast food, and watch the dark clouds unmoving. i wonder if we’ll still feel the silences. that first night, i barely touched her. i’d wanted to so badly.
i love her… …because she saves me from undead cannibals who want to Hannibal Lecter my brain. granted, they’re video game zombies, but i appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.
i love her… …body. yes, in that way, but also in other ways. the shades, the contours, the play of light, the art of her. i told her the first time that i had a good memory for bodies. this one i can’t forget. right down to the scar on the small of her back that no one else had noticed but me.
i love her… …heart, that center of her, beating drums and fire pits and starless skies, both fear of the dark and intimacy with it. i ran my hands along her sides to feel the blood pulse like lightning striking when she got anxious and knew the strength there was older than she is.
i love her… …and i still have the tickets from our first date. me, ballsy fast-talker, somehow nervous to hold her hand during Step Brothers, uncertain of her. i don’t know why i kept them then, but a smile slides on whenever i see them in my wallet now.
i love her… …because she sends me random pics of her on the phone. especially the one like last night, off the cuff, goofy, and endlessly adorable. ‘have fun but not too much fun without me!’ i will. i live life to enjoy it, but it’s more fun with her along for the ride.
i love her… …even though she won’t watch horror movies. the rules are no ghosts, no dead children. on one of our later dates, i got her to watch Mirrors on the condition that afterward she’d get a kiss. it was our first kiss, her childhood bedroom, and the sweetest.
i love her… …but because of her, i have absolutely no idea what Gran Torino was about. i remember it being intensely boring, but that could also be because i was too busy trying to string sentences together out of stoned slow sounds i knew should be words.
i love her… …so i have learned to doze to the racket of the television on all night long. or at least long enough to let her fall asleep; then i unravel myself from her, gently, at three in the morning to walk over and power off the sounds of late night.
i love her… …so yes, i believe in her. belief is based on recognition, not on knowing. she says i barely know her; i say, if you insist, but i recognize you. both foreign and familiar, i rely on faith. beyond certainty, constants, and variable change—i believe in you.
i love her… …sides, the curve of her stomach, the dip in the small of her back between ribs and hips. sometimes she’ll turn and stretch, or lean over to kiss the dog, and it’s all i can do just to keep breathing, to not tackle her and kiss her hard every single time.
i love her… …eccentricities. that which is known only through time of knowing. like how she has her GPS always set to night mode so that the roads are blue. or like how her favourite drunk-food is a bag of croutons. or how the left side of the bed is hers whenever we lay on it.
i love her… …and i remind myself of that when i get uneasy and my skin crawls off my body, headed for the floor, the door. she may not permit herself to feel as intensely, but i know she cares, and i cannot ask for more than she can give. it is always enough.
i love her… …and her love of infinitive adverbs. always, never. these words like promises that defy linear time, that rebel against endings, that form sounds of hope, that disprove what we know to be true: nothing is without limit, everything is terminal.
i love her… …and i’m scared that it shows, that it makes a sieve of my skin and each pore spills over with the light until i’m dripping stars.
i love her… …and when i wake up beside her and brush aside the hair from her sleeping face, my first thought is always ‘this is exactly where i want to be.’ okay, it’s actually, ‘fuck, it’s time to get up already?’ but the other follows shortly after.
i love her… …smile. it was the first thing i ever saw, beneath that baseball cap and above the oversized yellow stadium tee. i had to look away, my eyes adjusting the after image, so bright was the draw of her solar flare, the promise of her laughter.
i love her… …and i told her i’d write a letter with all the things i loved about her in it. i used her back once, blue Sharpie, and wrote all the words that belonged to her. i ran out of skin before i ran out of words. we left the stains all over her couch in sweat that night. she never read it.
i love her… …and she makes me believe everything can be good. she was the sun-sized yes in my world of no. she happened, and happens, rather than almost-happened. despite my fascination with the impossible, she reminds me that, sometimes, it’s all possible.
i love her… …and one thing’s led to another: i haven’t seen her in almost two weeks. i miss her. i try not to think that i do. but sometimes it sneaks up on me, taps me on the shoulder, and makes me gasp.
i love her… …flaws, or what she calls flaws. she doesn’t believe me when i say that her imperfection is amazing to me. she has known chasms of pain, sadness, regret, and i ache for her. my hands have scars from touching her rough edges. yet i would choose no other.
i love her… …road rage, actually. my best friend, who’ll gun 80+ down a Florida interstate highway and blow red lights in winter blizzards, won’t get in the car when she’s driving; that’s how bad it is. but i love it. it kinda makes me giddy.
i love her… …simply. i love her for who she is and who she chooses to be. not for who she isn’t, or who she could be made into. not the idea of her. or the idea of us. or any idea. no questions asked, no expectations. just for herself, skin and skull, breathing body wild eyed.
i love her… …because she rarely, if ever, says sorry. i admire that. if she should break plans last minute, or lock the bedroom door, or take space until further notice, she does so without saying sorry. but also if she should adore you, she does so unapologetically.