It was all in the way he looked at me, the way his wavy hair fell across his forehead, boyish and masculine and innocent and devilish, his gait, the way he softly whispered my name, like a lullaby, like a song in the dark.
Something in the way he moved moved me.
His lips, his hips, the touch of his fingertips.
It was how he was, how we were together, how he talked to people, bending his neck to the side, like an earnest dog, how he listened, the way he fed the birds or searched for me in a crowd, like a homing pigeon focused on getting back home, back to safety, back to me. His loyalty.
It was how he walked into a party, like he was walking onto a yacht. He wasn’t vain, but he had every right to be. It was the way he cantered, how he carried himself, at home among the well-connected and worldly, though he was neither. It was how he crouched down to speak to the man with the sign, the man with an outstretched hand, how he filled that calloused palm with his own, and a bit of cash, and kindness in his eyes, without judgement, without looking for a witness.
It was how he made me dance when the mood struck and the music was right, at all hours of the day, or night, the way he swiveled and beckoned and drew me closer, without words, it was the sway of his body, the bow of his arms, the way his smile lit up the room, illuminating the space around him, the way he enveloped me and grabbed my face with both hands, or his firm but gentle grip on my waist, how he smoothed my hair back in our kitchen and looked at me deeply instead of kissing my mouth.
It was how he made me wait.
But when he kissed my mouth, he did it with purpose, with hunger, with focus. He kissed me with intention.
I felt loved beyond measure. I felt loved beyond what was normal. He was obsessed, and me, possessed, and everything about him made me weak. Together, we were a beautifully toxic burning ring of fire, all suffocation and zero visibility. All heat and combustion. All shrapnel and flying shards.
It was like he could see inside me, flesh and bone. It was like two souls colliding, twisting into one. His happiness, mine too. His anger, mine to absorb, endure, withstand, transform into something palatable. Mine to wring out, smooth over, fold, and put back the corner where no one would ever see it.
Our love created a seismic shift, the kind that alters molecules. The kind that leaves gaping holes and crevices and chipped edges. The kind that creates casualties. It was a disaster, yes, and I swam amid the debris. I fell in—willing.
Pushed to the edge and then past it, I tumbled to a heap at the bottom, and I’ve had to learn to climb up and out again, toward something not quite as bright, something safer, something easy, something I like well enough, but do not want.
Something in the way he moved moved me, and I will never be the same.
But I want to be loved like that again.