i love her… …so the acoustic version of Everlong will never be the same for me. last summer, we’d kissed, just kissed, for three hours in my bedroom to an acoustic playlist of the same seventeen songs. kissing her is the closest i have ever come to perfection.
i love her… …breasts, and how sensitive they are for her. when she got one pierced i nearly had a heart attack for want of her. her taste has lingered long on my lips; her touch is where art and sex meet.
i love her… …boxy glasses framing feral eyes, and her dimples when she smiles wide, and her little, cute feet, toenails painted black. she had short, courageous hair when we met. her hair’s grown out but not her courage.
i love her… …and i know it feels like her sky’s falling down in waves, she’s sinking slowly. i want to be her rock, that coastline with the beacon that spells safe harbour; no, i want to be the ship that braves the storm just to keep her warm.
i love her… …nakedness. when she first gets out of the shower, her long rose-pink towel wrapped loose around her, wet hair disheveled, her embarrassed half-smile. no lighting, no camera angles, could translate that quiet grace.
i love her… …so i walk the busy city and feel its emptiness without her nearby. “i missed your skin when you were east” plays to the hum of the traffic. i got on the train and for the first time it was in her opposite direction.
i love her… …when she sings. no one sings like she does, no one. in the car, her energy conducts hotwired music. she exhales along with the sound system and she becomes the song that’s stuck in my head.
i love her… …and i miss sleeping next to her, so badly, and still. i always went to sleep cold in that room with the queen bed, cuddling up to her, but by morning my body heat had driven the covers off though not us any farther apart.
i love her… …even though she’s painfully intractable. ‘i’m just me,’ she says, and i almost laugh. of course she’s her; that’s who i fell for, and i knew what i was getting into, through both the simple and the struggle.
i love her… …so i blush whenever she takes me by surprise. when she catches me unaware, i shade red. unexpectedly behind me in my room, or beside me at her job, i’m left laughing, turning colours just for her.
i love her… …and every room in my house knows her. here, and here, and here. there we kissed hard over plastic chairs, there we took floor shots during the election, there we slept after long nights, the dog beside us. and every chamber in my heart knows her. here, and here, and here.
i love her… …personality, particularly as she is for no other purpose than her own, when she is as she is for herself alone. she is most beautiful when no one is looking; but that is a lie, in part. she is always beautiful.
i love her… …hands, bigger than mine but not by much, much like the rest of her. at times her hands haunt me, ghost howls of where they once were, yet are no longer. overboard in midnight hours, her hands were lifelines.
i love her… …because though she can barely boil water, she claims, she makes wicked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch. i have bartered with her for them. and i’m craving them like mad right now.
i love her… …pants, slick wet with water and sweat after a long work shift, her smile roughed up as much as her hands. off-work but at work, she brushed her cheek against mine, a kiss goodbye so quick anyone looking would miss it. these small moments mean everything.
i love her… …because though she isn’t perfect, she is to me. if you had asked me what i wanted in a girl, what i needed, i could list it all, but instead the qualities could all be summed up by saying her name.
i love her… …in her car, emptying parking lots and streetlights, out behind the stadium where we met. i held her arms, her wrists, and looked at her, really looked at her, kissed her. i knew nothing outside her car doors.
i love her… …and i want to say to her, with my words and eyes, ‘you are so beautiful. you are so beautiful,’ in such a way that she can not again say softly after, ‘no.’ she is worth it, worth everything. baby, happy birthday.
i love her… …and one of my favourite things to do with her is just talk. i like to hear her thoughts, her opinions. i miss our conversations strewn like steps from the balcony to the door.
i love her… …and her favourite Cold Stone: banana ice cream, brownie and cookie dough chunks. we shared one as we walked eight blocks that night, the Times Square cement sidewalks glittering like nowhere else in the city.
i love her… …and she may feel like she doesn’t fit in, like she’s a loner, product of too many disappointments, but she fits in my life. she fits next to me, my head on her collar bone, arm around her, better than anyone i’ve ever known.
i love her… …even in my dreams. last night, we were all leaving. us, our families too. exodus by ocean liner, the world together for elsewhere. i lifted her out of the pool before we boarded, looked in her sad eyes and said, ‘i will never give up on you.’
i love her… …although she wouldn’t let me give her Valentine’s Day. why only one cold hideaway day to treat her right? i agree. every day, even in careless, carefree summer. every day. that’s when you should show it.
i love her… …and that’s her fault as much as mine. just being herself around me, how she treated me, held me, laughed with me, convinced me that, wordlessly, this was the only way for me: held breaths, the space between heartbeats.
i love her… …and i know she’s not healed. she’s afraid to open up, to be loved and left once more. so she pushes it away. she pushes me away. i bloodlet but i don’t want to leave. god, i don’t want to leave her.
i love her… …even when it hurts. even when i can’t see her enough, when i am afraid she’ll forget me, when i’m afraid it’s easier not to, when i’m afraid it won’t matter or that it never did.
i love her… …and she doesn’t owe me anything, no. i am here freely. when fireworks dizzy the darkness with carousels of colour, i hope that she thinks of freedom. yes, of the country, but also, in time, of love.
i love her… …in the weight of quietness. in the daylight, i’ve slept in, the sun warm against my skin for once, the clouds rolling pictures, as they do. in this mundane, in this disconnected quiet, the day itself is not enough.
i love her… …t-shirt sleeves rolled up, her strong arms, her muscles, as she works at the ball park where we first met. i remember my nerves, clear as yesterday, when i’d gathered the courage to give her my number.
i love her… …because she doesn’t realize what she does. unaware when she kisses, when she kills; beneath it all, her priorities are hers alone. strip the facade and the bliss that’s left is of her own making.
i love her… …and i feel better after talking to her, even if it’s texting about nothing in particular. she strips away some anxiety, some breath i didn’t know i was still holding.