Love isn’t static.
It swirls around you like balmy air sent up from the south.
The wind catches your hair, and a few strands stick in the moist crease of your lips. You reach with your hand to move it, but you don’t have to because he gets there first and brushes it aside.
He gently touches your cheek with his slightly coarse fingertips (from working on his bikes in the garage).
You look up into his eyes (he doesn’t have to tilt your chin to him with his hand because you’re assertive enough to move yourself), and your shared gaze lingers a beat past your comfort zone—and in that moment you learn a lot.
You learn that you’re vulnerable, and that you need him—and you think you saw that he’s not as afraid of this as you are.
He’s not afraid to be vulnerable, because he’s naturally confident and understands his emotions much better than you know you’ll ever understand your own, and it’s not because you don’t want to be raw and open and accessible—it’s just because you’re scared.
What are you afraid of?
Are you afraid that he’ll hurt you?
No, that’s not it.
Are you afraid that he’ll leave?
No, he’ll never do that.
Are you afraid of death?
Partially. That’s the only way he would walk away from you, and you both know it.
Yet, that’s still not it.
But you know it’s this fear that makes you pull away‚ that encourages you to fight with him when you don’t even want to (when there’s nothing really to fight about).
And tears are streaming down your face, but you’re not sure why.
Maybe it’s because you yelled at him this morning when he didn’t deserve it. Maybe it’s because you know that you were wrong, that you’re needy and hot headed—and that this combination is unstable.
Maybe you’re afraid because you know that you aren’t stable without him, that you need him, because without him the ground is too shaky to walk on.
And it’s scary to need someone to hold you—and sometimes carry you—across that trembling surface.
It’s unnerving that in this huge, whole world there’s only one person that you want to hold your hand, and that if he wasn’t there to kiss your cheek and gently stroke your thigh right before you both fall asleep together, that this world would fall apart, that you would fall apart.
Because you’re strong.
You’re aggressive—but that was a lie. He often has to pull your chin up, and then he has to force you to look him in the eye, because you look away.
Sometimes it feels easier to look away and pretend that you’re whole enough without him—and maybe you are…enough.
And now the tears are dripping down your nose and falling into the crease of your lips and he’s not there to reach over first and dry them because he’s already gone to bed—he was too tired tonight to deal with your moods.
And you’re sorry.
You’re sorry that you screamed, and you’re sorry that you lied (with your eyes and your cocky stance) because you do need him.
He’s the air that you breathe. He’s the water that you drink. He’s the hole in your heart where it aches after you’ve hurt him.
Your heavy tears splash onto your keyboard and you get up for a tissue, but settle instead for a napkin because you can’t see anymore and the tissues are all the way down the hall (and besides, you don’t want to walk past the bedroom and wake him up).
But it’s okay. Soon you’ll crawl into bed after you’ve turned off the light that he kept on for you, waiting.
And in the morning he’ll reach over and touch your cheek and caress your thigh where he didn’t get to the night before.
And he knows that you lied to him (with your angry words and your haughty heart), because to him you’re see through.
He knows that he’s your world because you’re his too—and that’s enough.
This article was first published by elephant journal.