Everything is changing; love stays the same.
These times are uncertain. Everything feels off, everything feels frightening, and everything feels unstable. When I close my eyes at night, right before drifting off to sleep, I briefly wonder what sort of hellish headline will greet me in the morning. What will happen next? In the midst of all this unknown, there has remained a single constant in my life. When I fall asleep, I am in love, and when I wake up, I am in love.
I roll over in bed. Then I roll back the other way. I can’t get comfortable; the blankets are twisted around my leg and my hair is in my face and, Jesus, why is it so hot? Even though I keep my eyes closed, I feel him there. He slowly, gently unwraps the blankets from my legs. Then his hand goes to my face, where he wipes the sweaty hair away and tucks it behind my ears. I hear him get up and walk quietly over to the window, opening it as slowly as possible. He does that because he thinks I’m still sleeping. I love that.
We are eating dinner. I am talking fast about something; I always talk fast when I really want to tell a story. He is smiling and nodding along. Since I’m not paying attention, what I have on my fork somehow doesn’t make it to my mouth and ends up all over my shirt. Naturally, I think to myself, embarrassed by my lack of grace. “Wow, that piece of spaghetti really looks good there, they should introduce that into the fall line, it will definitely be the next big thing.” He says, being goofy. He’s trying to make me laugh (he’s trying to make me not feel bad about spilling on myself.) It works. I love that.
I’m standing in front of the mirror. My stomach and thighs are definitely looking bigger than they did a year ago at this time. I have been on a diet of cheeseburgers at midnight and too much alcohol. Even if my gym were still open, I would probably skip going in lieu of laying in bed. I turn and look at my body from a different angle. He comes up behind me, puts his arms around my waist, and kisses my cheek. “You look sexy,” he says as he holds me tighter. He calls me sexy because that’s what I need to be called right then. Not beautiful, not cute, but sexy. I love that.
I’ve been struggling with the current state of the world and I feel overwhelmed. I can’t seem to move from my couch–I am so tired, so sad, so scared, so everything. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life and I could really just cry. He takes my hand in his and sits next to me. No words are exchanged, he doesn’t talk, he doesn’t try to give me advice, he just lets it be. I can be overwhelmed and he will still be right beside me. When I’ve calmed down, he offers me a beer and a back massage. Not because he necessarily feels like getting me a beer or giving me a back massage, but because he knows that’s exactly what I feel like. I love that.
I’m jealous of a girl he’s friends with. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, it’s so silly and I know it, but I am. It makes me upset and I get angry with myself for being insecure enough to be jealous (aren’t I too old to feel this way?) He can be friends with whomever he wants. I still feel jealous. He doesn’t call me crazy, he doesn’t get mad, and he doesn’t laugh at me–he listens to me. I guess that’s really all I needed. I love that.
I’m nervous around his family and close friends. I want them to like me as much as possible because I like him more than I ever thought possible. The first time I meet his parents, I get anxious. He puts his arm around my waist and laughs at my jokes, nodding encouragingly. As we walk away, he leans in and whispers, “they love you.” I close my eyes for a moment, feeling like I must have hit some sort of lottery. I love that.
At night, while settling in between the bedsheets, the fear returns. I try not to look at the news on my phone again, but I can’t help it. He quietly leans his head until his cheek is pressed against my cheek, silently letting me know we are in this together. I eventually close my eyes. When I fall asleep, I am in love, and when I wake up, I am in love.