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Love is, we are traveling across the country doing whatever we want, taking pictures in front of giant cacti and rusty Cadillacs buried in the sand and getting high and holding hands.
We are in a camper. And sometimes we swim and sometimes we fool around and sometimes we talk and sometimes we eat cheeseburgers. And we also watch the sunrise, and look for interesting living and nonliving things, but mostly we gaze at the moon and each other and we laugh because we are happiest this way: together.
Love is, we are sitting by a fire and I am watching the flames flicker and we can both feel the heat and I see how the light plays on your face while I look at your mouth form lots of sweet, earnest words. And yes, I am listening but only halfway because I am really just thinking about having ridiculously dirty, epic sex with you the entire time you are telling me about the day you found that expensive coat at the flea market, or how you fell into a frozen pond, which I care about of course, but not as much as the sex.
By the fire, and before the sex, we will feel warm and cozy and connected, and we will discuss serious past and future things and also many trivial things, and I will laugh like a frog and you will smile, and then I will lean in and rest my head on your shoulder, and squeeze your arm, and we will not talk at all for awhile, we will just listen to the fire crackle and pop. And we will both jump when a heavy log suddenly drops, and our eyes will grow big as they delight in the explosion of sparks flying up into the night.
Love is, we are not always on the same page because you are doing your thing and I am doing mine. You are eating sugary cereal from the box in handfuls and I am spooning plain yogurt from a cup into a bowl and sprinkling it with flax, and seeds, and sliced strawberries. You are dropping frosted pieces onto the floor, on purpose, for the dog, and you are grinning as you watch me slice a bit more fruit, and what I am thinking secretly is that I am healthy and therefore superior, but you are way more fun.
Love is, we are in a bed and on the floor and on the stairs and in all the chairs we own, and on the kitchen table and in the shower and in the woods atop a blanket of pungent pine needles behind a tree that hides us a little bit. I am loving you, and you are loving me. Our love happens everywhere, and we are not jealous or angry or struggling. We do not feel like any of this is work until we pull a muscle or feel a cramp. We are at a party and we sneak away because the party is boring and we make our own decisions about our time.
Love is, we are hiking and you are pointing at things and telling me things and I am rolling my eyes and just a little bit out of breath until you stop and you say, “please just look,” and so I do. I do, and what I see changes me and we are both quiet and I am grateful for you, so I look at you too and I marvel at how your eyes are dancing while you stare at something that is not me.
Love is, we are in the kitchen and you are making me pancakes and you are making a mess, the batter is dripping and sticky, but the pancakes—they could not be more perfect, the edges are crispy, the insides are fluffy, and you stack them high and you present them on a plate and you say, “I used applesauce instead of oil,” with expectant eyes, and when you place a small bowl of freshly sliced pineapple pieces to the side of my plate you are smiling and I am smiling and it is not a special occasion, it is just morning. Love is you are making the coffee and I am not because I do not make the coffee.
Love is we are outside working and it is difficult work because we are raking and washing cars and cleaning garages and when we find something wonderful tucked away in a corner we both stop for a moment to pass it back and forth each remembering a different version of the same story, the details are murky on both sides, but it’s a memory we have stored that makes us smile and laugh. We put it back on the shelf because it holds a very small little bit of our history and our history belongs to us and with us, not on some random, different, dusty, old, rickety, metal shelf, down at Goodwill.
Love is, we are not agreeing on everything. For example I love a song that you loathe and you love a movie I will never watch with you. Plus your ice cream is filled with bits of things, chocolate pieces and gooey candy and drippy sauce, a garbage pail of sorts while mine is refined and plain, smooth, simple vanilla, with nothing on it or in it at all unless I decide to live dangerously and add rainbow sprinkles and one thing we both believe is true is that our ice cream choices do not reflect our personalities.
Love is, we are in our bed and you are out cold and I am as usual trying my best to just fall asleep so I am twisting and turning and you feel me move inside the choppy waters of midnight and you halfway wake up and lightly rub my back, which really does help, and then you fall back to sleep, softly, your hand drops with a quiet thud inside the space between us, while I lay awake still. You are so much better at sleep than I will ever be.
Love is, we are in the car and I am driving and you are wincing, just a little, and you are having trouble with how I am switching lanes. And I can hear you sigh and I can hear your sharp intake of breath, and I can see you pumping the brakes in the passenger seat, but it does not bother me, not even a little, because my driving record is much better than yours, and this is something we both know.
Love is, we are in a room filled with people and you are talking in a corner and I am far away, talking too, and every so often you glance over and I feel you, I feel your eyes on me so I look back because connection cannot be faked and I am not a pretender, and neither are you and that is, oh—that is what I think I love the most.