What took you so long?
I feel like it’s been lifetimes since I last saw those eyes.
You look different. I guess I do too.
But you feel the same—like home.
I’ve felt this magic before. That moment when shelter and security are no longer in a place, but a person.
For so many reasons—some I still can’t explain—it was never the right home at the right time. And a guttural sadness was left inside me, aching and permanent, because I knew that even when I found you, I’d still have the lingering energy of the ones who mattered before.
I worried I’d never find my way home again. What if I missed you? What if I took a left when you were right?
But here you are. Like four walls and a warm cup of tea.
I want to know you, to relearn you. Do you hate the smell of coffee, like I do? What movies can you recite by heart? What was your happiest moment? And the day you wish you could forget?
I want to be as familiar with your routine as I am with your soul. I want to know the path you took to get here and all the lessons you pocketed along the way. Tell me about your childhood day dreams and your adolescent rebellions.
Did you plan your future on construction paper with scented markers? Did you wander from moment to moment hoping life would be overflowing bank accounts and endless love?
Did you always believe: that you’d find me, that no matter what choice you made or opportunity you turned down, that’d I’d still be standing here?
Tell me about the moments you almost gave up. Don’t apologize. I cried countless, hopeless tears more nights than I care to remember, believing you would never arrive. But I also spent many nights dreaming of sharing myself with you, of finally opening all the doors I’d long kept locked tight.
I want to know the women you loved: how they cherished you, what they taught you, the parts of you they helped cultivate. Who was the first to taste your kiss? Who shattered your heart beyond repair? Talk to me about the one who got away. Are there pieces of her you search for in me?
Please don’t hide them. I feel no jealousy, just a longing to have experienced you throughout the years, as they have.
And I want you to know them: the men who walked into my life and left me changed; the men I’m supposed to pack away in a box and forget. They are stitched into my heart—my Scarecrow and Tinman and Cowardly Lion. They took my hand and guided me, kept me close and protected.
They were never perfect, but beautifully human in their mistakes and missteps. These men who praised my beauty and incited my anger; caused millions of smiles and tears; strengthened my heart and cut into my broken pieces. They built me up, even when it felt like they were tearing me apart.
I can love you because I loved them. And while I wished I could take them with me, I knew they were there to walk me home to you.
I want to see the world with you. I want each stamp on my passport to remind me of sitting close to you, eating questionable cuisine, slow dancing to lyrics we can’t decipher. Exotic countries and simple towns. The beauty in unknown surroundings.
I want to share my excitement and awe with you. I want to see it reflected back in your eyes. I want to sit with you years from now, surrounded by foreign trinkets and framed reminders, and laugh about our delayed flight to Heathrow; how the powder at Holi Festival stained our skin; and the time we contemplated smuggling a koala out of Queensland. I want each bite of pizza I taste to never be as good as the first we took together in Naples.
I want to spend nights in huts with dirt floors, ride camels at sunset and put my feet in crystal white sand next to yours. I want to complain about frozen toes at the tops of mountains and cuddle close when the wind changes the direction of our sails.
I want it all. But I don’t believe in forever. The idea is too perfect, yet already flawed by the fact that you couldn’t be here from the beginning.
So promise that you’ll give me the window seat and your shoulder to rest my head on. I promise to always be your navigator, your road map across land and sea.
And I’ll give what’s left of my heart in the hopes that it will be enough. To know that when we run out of time-–-because it is inevitable—the moment I first caught your eye will be what you take with you.
Until we meet again.
Author: Nicole Cameron
Editor: Caroline Beaton