i love her… …soccer history. i would have loved to travel to her games, watching her take on the field. i feel like i missed out on so much just for not having met her sooner. so weird to think that this time last year, i didn’t know her.
i love her… …sense of humour. one of the hardest aspects to describe, but also one of the best. half the time i don’t remember what we were laughing so hard about, but i know my face hurt from smiling.
i love her… …so it’s times like these that i’m glad i’ve worked her into memory. missing her is easier when i can see her in my head, see trademarks of her skin. her face when she’s sleeping, her smile when she’s angry, her laugh when it’s true.
i love her… …and i didn’t want it to be easy. i wanted to mean it, to be sure i meant it. so i fought it. for months i tried to deny it. but i am sure. and i do mean it. and i can’t fight that any more. she’s undeniable.
i love her… …and since i miss her because she’s on vacation this week, i’ve taken to looking at the sky. like we share it, like they say. but let’s be honest, it’s raining here, it’s always raining. there, there are sunrises and sunsets. she’s away and that’s not my sky.
i love her… …and the way she looks at me. she says her eyes are dull, but they’re a crescent city sunrise in july, a kaleidoscope of redwood and summer. warm, deep brown with flecks of red, small streaks of gold in hiding.
i love her… …because she is my opposite complement. everything i ever wondered, strange and wonderful, she’s discovered. she has the answers to all of the questions in my head.
i love her… …yet she has only ever asked one thing of me: ‘don’t forget me.’ difficult, because i have a terrible memory. but i try. every time i stare too long, i kiss too hard, i hold too close, i’m making a memory. something i can keep to keep my promise.
i love her… …smell; she left some wet clothes in my house, despite our effort to remember them, so i hung them to dry on the line. her scent caught the air and, for a brief moment, i felt peace.
i love her… …and sometimes, it surprises me still. on occasion, i say the phrase alone in open air, turn the syllables over in my mouth, taste test their honesty, startled by their certainty. i say the words aloud because, sometimes, even i don’t know what to do with them.
i love her… …touch, the spread of her small hands, like mine yet unlike mine. i leaned my head into her stomach, her side, when she had to go, feeling her hips, her muscles, happy for her touch, her hands on my back, then her lips on my forehead by carlight.
i love her… …eyelashes, the soft dark length of them, pressed light against her cheek, especially as she sleeps. the smooth serenity in her face in midmorning hues is fleeting and precious. i do not know if her dreams are better than her nightmares, but i can hope.
i love her… …so when she had said it all was too much, i just learned to say things softer. and when that is too much, i say things silently, with just my heartbeat. i am learning how to love her. it is worth the effort.
i love her… …subtle tendencies. the last time i slept in her bed, it was unmade, no sheets. it had been like that for two weeks; a combination of finals and life. last night, i was too tired to make up my bed. i slept on my bare mattress and smiled.
i love her… …though she says that she is not what i see. not as bright, as beautiful, as bold. she denies, worried that i don’t know the whole of her. she may not tell me everything, but i understand; i won’t be let down: i put her on no pedestal and we’re both on level ground.
i love her… …so-called bad habit. it doesn’t fade her, so in the meanwhile, i like to watch the smoke lilt and curl around her face, earthy cloud caresses that loose the tension skyward from her lungs.
i love her… …because she’s different, she knows she is, and it laces her breath and her words. because for all the reasons and all the words, it comes down to something undefinable, inexplicable; no reasons, no words.
i love her… …but when she’s aching, she goes it alone. i wish it weren’t always so. nothing she says could make me run, and yet, she can feel so far away. at least she knows i’m here, ready to cross that distance.
i love her… …so whenever i eat an egg bagel, i think of riding shotgun down 111 in her car after late night mornings, windows down in the spring sunlight streaming, one eye on the road, the other on the backseat puppy. a cream cheese catastrophe, a hand-in-hand memory.
i love her… …even at her worst. though rare, she can be selfish, forgetful, insensitive, and stubborn as hell. in truth, i like that she’s stubborn. i adore her disaster, dance with her dangers. she is entitled to them. if i can’t love the worst in her, i don’t deserve her best.
i love her… …so i don’t want to ruin this. i bite my tongue to stomach fear; i know its taste in my mouth, its texture at the back of my throat. copper and cotton. but i love her more than i fear the future, so i cannot let it choke me.
i love her… …because we both appreciate similar music. i had missed being able to share songs, concerts. when we first met, she flipped through my cd book. i was so impressed that she knew Damone.
i love her… …though that may be hard to swallow. ‘how can you like such a dark person?’ she asked once. i want her darkness; i do not edit it with nightlights, false amenities. i am not afraid of the dark.
i love her… …even when she’s overworked, tired, and “looks terrible.” i don’t notice. i told her she could be an insomniac for eight days and she’d still be the most beautiful girl i’ve ever seen. and it would be true.
i love her… …so when she balls herself upright beside me, doubled over her knees, i cradle her around. one hand finds her knots, her furious muscles, and works at them, firm and gentle, until she sleeps. even then i don’t let go.
i love her… …heartbeat, as i rest my head on her chest. in the game on-screen, i’m dead, so she continues on still trigger-happy. happy, i’m alive with the rounds of rhythm i hear through her rib cage.
i love her… …arms, relaxed to reach around me, hugging me as close as i hug her, head on neck on head on neck, the grass soft wet with late night dew. my arms empty never hold as much air as the breath i exhaled then.
i love her… …and the way she talks, so self-assured and obvious. she’s got a mouth on her all cuss and sass. but her reticent thoughts are fierce and quiet: they sound different tripping off her tongue.
i love her… …tattoos; her neck, her wrist. i woke up to her nape for days and days, for days and days she held my hand. secretly, it makes me really angry that her mum doesn’t like them: what they represent is so important. i felt proud to be there when we got her ankles inked.
i love her… …and that i’ve gotten to see all four seasons shine off her skin. the trees have changed and so have we, colours ring us older. red hot heat and butterflies, a refrain from last summer, replay.