Poking and prodding, nudging and shaking, pressing my icy cold feet into your legs in an effort to stir you. “It’s already past 5:30,” I whisper. You groan a response but fall immediately back into soft drifting snores. I continue. More alarms go off. There’s only one left now – the real thing – and I’m determined to be on time this morning whereas your slumber-drunk self is only determined to fight off consciousness.
“Wake up, babe. It’s Friday, it’s our early day.” More grumbles. I throw a leg over your hip and tap my fingers along your once-broken collarbone. “For real. We can’t keep sleeping.”
“Yes huh,” you argue, shifting onto your stomach and stretching your legs. Then you fall onto your left side and pull me into your chest. We both know I can’t pass up a chance to bask in your body heat. Continue reading “Worth It.”
What if we ran away? I mean it. What if we packed up the dogs, loaded up the trucks and your trailer, and just left this town in the rearview? No trace of us beyond a cloud of dust. Wouldn’t that be something?
It scared me at first, hearing that thought squeeze past your lips, but now it sounds better and better every minute. West Texas. New Mexico. Arizona. Somewhere far and somewhere warm. A place away from the only home I’ve ever known. Away from parents and pasts, finally free from so many of the things we wish we’d never been. Just us and a new start together in a place where people will only know us together and never as something before that. Yeah, that’d really be something.
I want to apologize. I know you’d rather I didn’t, but I can’t keep keeping this to myself. So please, just this once, hear me out.
I’m not good at this yet. I do love you – tremendously, recklessly, endlessly – but I struggle when I try to say so. As wordy and poetic as I can sometimes be, love just isn’t sure how to pass my lips. And I could rattle off a reason – hell, he even has a name – but it sounds like an excuse that way. It sounds like I expect you to deliver that same kind of pain….and I don’t.
You’re not like him or any of them who were once standing in your place. You’re better. You’re kinder and stronger and more certain. You’re wiser and wittier and more fun. I can’t even count all the ways or reasons that I adore you. Continue reading “I wish I’d say so”
He watched over me, made sure I was eating and sleeping and smiling enough. He coaxed me out of the house from time to time and even introduced me to people who mattered. I don’t know what I could have done to deserve his affection or even what it was about me that ever captured his attention. But here he is, and he seems to be staying.
And you know what? I’m glad he is.
For every gentle kiss he’s planted on my forehead, I’ve breathed a little easier. And for every fervent kiss he’s planted elsewhere, he takes another breath away. This man is bringing balance into a life that’s never known it before. He’s the push and pull, the give and take, the want and need. I may not be gifted in the language of romance, but I’ve got a strong intuition, and I can tell you that this is important. Either it’s forever or it’s the worst-ever ending waiting to happen – no one is escaping unscathed.
Hours into days and nights and weeks into months. The beginning feels so far away now. I’m not so nervous anymore – I almost enjoy feeling his eyes on me. I sleep curled into his chest, and I slide my icy feet between his knees. We share plates of mac n cheese in the middle of the night while he talks over a movie that he picked out. I fight back when he tickles me in bed, and he teases me for my comic book underwear.
If he turns out to be the greatest thing to ever happen to me, I won’t even be surprised. Fingers crossed that he stays.
“You bring out some kind of storm in me,” I told him, ashes still dancing from the fires he set in my eyes. “I like that you didn’t run from it.”
“Run?” he repeated, startled. “Angel, I couldn’t turn away from this if I wanted to. I don’t think this is really a runner’s sport. Not anymore at least.”
“A walker’s sport then?” I asked, suggesting he might already have one foot out the door. I was only half-joking.
“No, a stayer’s sport.”
I smiled into his bare chest and felt relief soothe the itches of doubt that had crept into me and threatened to get in the way of everything. What a man, to stay and love me in the midst of all this. What a man, to ever claim me at all.
“I love you,” he whispered, and I almost couldn’t hear him. Rough fingertips softly stroked my spine. “Taylor, I love you, and that’s that.”
Wildflowers erupted to life in my lungs. Fires rekindled in my eyes. My beat-up tattered heart sprouted wings and floods of those feel-good drugs washed over everything else, wiping away fears from a long history of hurt. History doesn’t have to repeat itself, you know. Not always.
“That’s that,” I sighed audibly. “I love you, and that’s that.”
I may be beaming at the thought of you, giggling through 1am conversations, and risking a heart attack every single time we kiss. I may be interested, may be involved, may be infatuated. I may be thinking that I stumbled into something truly spectacular when I reached out to you.
But soon I’m going to panic.
I’ve only known good things to bring bad endings. I’m too familiar with the crash and burn, too aware of the pattern of demise. The voices in my head tell me horrible things to keep pace with every sweet word you have to offer. Just as this starts to get really good for us, this sick darkness is going to emerge and ruin everything. It always does. And as much as I like you and bad as I want this, how can I go through that again? How can I put you through that, knowing you don’t deserve a bit of it?
From what I can tell, you’re a genuine guy. You’re polite and you mean it. You’re not afraid to care for someone, not paralyzed by the idea of forever.
Relationships are scary. Falling for someone is scary. Knowing that the odds are stacked so high against us….it’s really fucking scary. Things with you are new, but they’re not. I can tell that you’re going to be important and that whatever happens between us is going to matter. But things have mattered before, and there’s no way to know whether or not I’ll survive it again.
I was black eyes and insomnia
and you were rewound tapes of suicide.
It felt good, the way we fit together,
the way we wronged together.
We were raw and mean and selfish about it.
Kindness never knew us,
so we never could be bothered to try.
But God, there’s something about a mean streak
that keeps me alive through the night.