I never held your fingers, traced the wrinkles and creases—kissed the freckle on the inside of your hand.
I never sat across from you, with your big brown hat as people pass by.
Brushed my toe against your toe, and even though there are wool socks and boots and so forth, you would still feel me beneath it all and smile over your laptop.
And then you would return, to pitter-patter away wildly.
And I would smile and sigh and eventually, when I am done looking at the backside of a screen, I would close the screen and you would be angry and dramatic and yell about how important you are and all this—and then I would grab your red shirt from across the table and kiss you and you would forget the non-existent buzz once at your finger tips and remember that I am here for you.
If I came to visit we would be here, often, your favorite coffee shop—I’m sure there are books, there, lots and lots of books covered in dust and fingerprints and coffee stains. I would like you to introduce me to your favorite ones.
I would like to see the bent pages, the creases and wrinkles and pen marks. Do you draw in your books, underline the bits that stay in your heart? I hope you do.
And I am sure they all know you and smile as you yell boisterous hellos across the counters over the whiff of coffee and tea and cake. I think many know you, but I would like to know you differently.
I wish to run my fingers through your soft hair, and coarse red beard.
There would be large to-stay mugs that have cracks, and we would likely sit by that window—for there are plants and sunshine and you love it there.
And we would argue about who was Pooh and Piglet, and you would say, “No, No—that makes no sense, for I am Christopher Robin.”
I want to see your bike. Even though I don’t know how to ride bikes—I’ve never learned, and I’m embarrassed to say it out loud.
You could teach me, maybe—if you open, again.
And if I give up, perhaps I can ride in your basket and lean back to distract you with soft kisses.
And you will gruffle, and sigh dramatically for your hands wish to be anywhere but steering bars—and everywhere on my body.
I want to enter a shop, and for you to complain about the air conditioning. For although my activist blood lies with animals and women—I know yours lies with the earth.
And after you are through making your dent in the wrong you see in this world, I will take your arm in my arm and tell you of the time my mother’s boyfriend in the Yukon saw a man throw a fast food bag out his window. And how he stopped his car, picked up the garbage and sped up to that car, asked the man to unroll his window—driving side by side, like a drive-by in the movies somewhere hot in Texas and threw his garbage right back in his face and said, “Don’t litter, asshole!”
And you will laugh, maybe—and oh, would I love to know your laugh. To hear it all the way in my heart—to let it goose bump its way around my body.
And then we will speak of my mother. And you will tell me that she is beautiful, and that you would like to meet her.
And I will tell you about her heart that oozes and that I am the luckiest egg.
I would like to ask you if you want children, too.
I want to walk up the steps to your house, after the hill, and to feel the snow crunch beneath my feet. I want to hear loud woofs and the scuffing of your feet.
I want to see woven slippers and white and red spotted paws.
I want to see your face in the doorway.
I want you to pull me inside, to you.
I want to make small talk, and non small talk for we have talked and talked and talked and I haven’t seen you. I want to see the way your eyes wrinkle.
I haven’t seen the way you stand—are your shoulders slumped, for you are a tired bear? Will you cross your arms while you speak to me, as the kettle howls? Are you comfortable around me, or afraid of me? Not me, but love with me?
I am afraid of love, I am a little afraid of knowing you.
Do you have speckles of brown and green or blue in your eyes? Are your eyelashes long or short? What mug is your favorite? What mug is for me? Show me.
I want to know you—I want to know all these things.
I want to know what it feels like to hold you.
I’m a hugger, are you? Or do you say you are a hugger, but you are a hugger that shys away from hugs, close for a minute yet distant all the while?
Do you let your soul collapse when you hug, a little? Are your arms strong, but your heart soft? Can you be soft with me?
I wish you to be soft with me.
I wish to hold your hands, when they shake, after too much dark coffee.
I would like to hold you between my thighs, as I shake—before the coffee.
I would not like to lay with you, until we have undressed our souls—truly.
I would like to take my rings off, all of them—one by one and place them on my turquoise trunk bought from the antique shop up the road. They will make a thunk sound in the quiet of the night.
I would like to take your watch off, and your shadow, your stress—I would like to take it all off with time.
I would like to see your red and white jacket, covered in snow, hung beside mine. It is bigger than me, and I will put it on and you will laugh and then tell me you prefer me naked.
I would like to sit in the evening, drinking Earl Grey tea with too much milk and sugar, like my grandma and watch you meditate at dusk.
Outside, on the steps of my cabin—on my meditation cushion I don’t use for meditation. There are flowers in the windowsill—they are pink and blue and from the land.
And I would like to see your face after—light, like the first five minutes after yoga.
Cloudy and free and burdenless.
And I would like you to tell me I should meditate, and I would like to listen.
I would like to make you happy.
I would like to listen to Chopin with you. Do you like Chopin?
I would like to make space for you, here.
I would like to swim beneath the waterfall, 20 feet high.
I would like you to follow me, beneath it as it beats upon our shoulders—reminding us that we are silly, powerless humans.
I would like to climb up, upon the slippery rocks behind the waterfall and I would like to show you where to put your hand and foot.
And then we will stand, in the waterfall—and hide from the world, here, for a little while.
I would like to walk you through the garden, at first light—when the butterflies are stirring. I would like to show you the birth I witness each morning, the newness and fragility of their wings as they first open, drying them.
I would like to watch your face as you see the red and blue and black spots on their wings—see your eyes bug as the chrysalis move back and forth, ready to burst forth.
I would like to hear your accent—from afar. To hear your voice, and know it, before I see you—for we know one another now.
I would like to walk beside you.
I walk slowly, I hope you do too.
I have never told you that although age doesn’t matter, I am afraid that you are too old for me, and that I—am too young for you.
I am telling you now.
I would like to have an argument and for both our sensitive as shit, Cancerian hearts to retreat into their shells.
And I would like to coax you from yours, slowly, with time.
I would like to see you when you are tired. For when we are tired, we are the most ourselves.
I would like to see you when you have nothing else to give but you.
And I would like to love that you, so that you know you can be tired with me.
I would like you to tell me stories of important people, people that would make other people’s eyes bug—and be uninterested.
For I am not interested by things, or people, or people who have many people that love them.
I am only interested in people that you love, and people I love.
I would like to teach you the Spanish that I know. I would like to see you get it wrong, and the locals to smile because you are trying anyway.
I would like to see your eyes light up when you get it right.
I would like to take you to Zwart, my favorite coffee shop—here.
It is white, all white. There are trees growing inside and bright pink and yellow and childlike art that resembles Banksy.
I would like the cat that lives there to come over and flirt with you.
The cat that wins even those that don’t like cats over.
I would like you to rest, here, with me.
I would like to know if there is an us worth knowing.
You say you cannot wait to know, but we have waited and waited and waited and now it’s time and you are closing to me, choosing not to know me.
You turned off, today.
And in that uncanny way that hearts work it all slowly, bit-by-bit shut down.
As if the lights are going off in the house, one by one.
And I am sitting in the dark, hitting the reset button with no avail.
Throwing rocks at your window and asking for you to come outside.
But there is no window, and you’re not there.
This is the greatest love story I’ve never had.
We held this wishful space that it was more than just words and would grow into the big love people read about and see but never have.
And we would have it, we still could.
But you are no longer open, to me.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Courtesy of Author