“there will be two sets of knives
one for you, & one for me,” he says
because he’s seen how haphazardly i stack the dishes in the dish rack
& leave the drying towel unevenly folded on the counter
he’s noticed my frizzy fly-away hairs
that i wear proudly in protest to hair spray & pomade
& my black eyeliner that pools in the corner of my eyes
when i’ve yawned too much on our red-eye flights
he’s observed how my toiletries slowly claim unused counter space
& how he wakes up with my fine, long, hair
woven between his toes, & the fibers of his blanket
he doesnt have to tell me why
there will be two sets of knives
i know all the reasons why.
what i dont know
is where the compartmentalizing
of his & mine ends
& where the sharing begins.
there are things i will probably never have again
now that i’m with you.
i will never have to dread
waking up to passive aggressive texts,
& the onslaught of angry, unproductive back & forth digital arguing.
i will never have to question who’s blowing up your phone,
& pulling your loyalty, your attention from me.
i will never have to imagine all my dirty secrets
that you’re airing out over drinks with the boys.
you don’t realize the bad that you’re missing
when all you’ve been showered with
“so you mean.. a mature relationship?” you ask, smirking.
“no. i mean… the kind of relationship i didn’t know i deserved, but was looking for, my whole life.”
i know that eskimos dont actually have
a hundred words for “snow.”
but i think that myth is the only way i know how
to articulate these moments
when i forget
that what i know to be true
the basis of my future-making decisions
& my unwavering faith
may not be the same
here i am,
assuming “snow” just means winter
& powdered white landscapes
but for you,
its based on context
& speed at which it’s falling.
that isn’t to say
we disagree on the sky being blue
or the moon meaning night
or “i love you” to be anything short of what it is.
For me, “all in” is no holds barred
regardless of what life throws at us,
im dedicating myself to this completely.
For you, “all in” translates to:
from what you know of me thus far,
from all youve grown to love
you’re in it. that much you can commit to.
but there is still life
& curved balls
that may change the concept of
“soft, delicate, beautiful” snow
into “icy, hazardous, dangerous” snow–
& that kind of shift demands reassessing of “all in.”
i wish i knew
all the variations of the word
before committing my whole heart
to the only translation ive ever known.
i want to run through every red light to get to you faster
the butterflies caged in my chest break free
when i recognize your silhouette across the dark parking lot
i want to live with my face buried in the space between your collar bones
your smile sets my gut at ease
like the ease you have with kissing the top of my forehead
with a warm, “hey babe”
& i never knew how much i craved
the velvety softness of those two words
until you say it
like how you casually play off the incredibly thoughtful things you do for me,
like loading the Harry Potter audiobooks to a playlist for me,
or leaving me “thinking of you” videos in the morning.
i want to extend each moment,
because time apart feels like that game i used to play with my brothers,
holding my breath at the entrance of a tunnel
only allowing myself to exhale once you reach the other side–
only, it’s not a game now.
& i’ve only just caught my breath with you
& don’t want to hold it a second more.
& yet.. i want to let you leave.
i want you to go conquer the world,
and be the person you tell all about it
at the end of the day.
if you didn’t ask me, “how was your circle group meeting?”
i’m quite sure
that all of this
would’ve come tumbling out
“its a logistical thing,” he explains.
“it just makes sense for you to have one,” he reasons.
offering a drawer
in a man’s place
is a huge thing.. at least to women. [i think]
so i ask, “but what does this really mean?”
what im really asking is, don’t let my heart & mind wander off to some hopeful cliff to later plummet off of.
“its progress.” he says, as he pulls me in close to kiss my forehead.
“dont be anxious
dont be worried
i can see it in your face
we’ll figure things out”
when he catches me
before i can get caught up
in my own runaway thought train
when he lassos me with his reality
& pulls me in close
is when i realize
he’s willing to balance
on that fine line
“is she your type?” i ask, motioning to the smokin’ hot YouTube guru i had playing on his desktop
“come here” he says, pulling me to sit on his lap at the edge of his bed
“you are my type” he affirms, wrapping his arms around my waist
“no i’m not” i laugh rolling my eyes, then searching his for a visual contradiction to his words
i find none.
“you are now.” and he kisses me on the cheek
we sit there, having finished our meal
me pressed to your side, people watching
we quietly observe the tired families who pass us
pushing on to make their time
your arm is draped over my shoulder, casually.
im peaceful. im happy.
“are you gonna be devastated when i leave?” he asks,
i pause, holding my breath, pressing my lips hard together to keep from blurting out my truth.
“im really worried about you that’s why…” he says, filling the silence i created, as he leans in to kiss the side of my head.
“i dunnoooo… i mean, what do you think? .. are you going to be? devastated i mean?” i shift away from him so i can turn to see his face.
“yeah, i’ll be a lil’ devastated” he shrugs.
“i just.. i dunno. i don’t do well with change– well no one does i guess. but i’m a creature of habit. i like plans. this will just shift… things. im afraid of the unknown.”
“yeah i know”
“i mean… i could fly mostly Pheonix. i like it. it’s good credit.. and i could visit. but is that what you’d want?”
“yeah of course!”
“but i don’t want you to feel obligated to see me, just because i’m flying there. i don’t want to be an obligation.”
“no. you won’t be.. but you have to understand, studying is studying. that’s a non-negotiable. after those first 9 months of school, i’ll have more flexibility”
“i get that…” i nod slowly, reassuring him of my being on the same page, “yeah. i get it.” i reaffirm, giving a final, concise nod, as if my chin was a firm handshake agreeing to these terms.
i lean back into him as we resume our people watching, letting our words sink in
” i just need you to know though..” i begin, looking down at my lap, “this,” i draw a circle widely with my hand in the space before me, “whatever this is… it’s important to me… you know?” i turn to face him again, to make sure he understands.
my eyes flit acros
the power he holds.
his eyes shrink to mischievous slits, “oh? this isnt just fun for you?” he smirks.
i nervously laugh, “no. you know it isn’t. not for me. for you?”
he stops smiling, “no. its not.”
“ok. good.” i nod.
its not ground breaking
but its a start.
“at least give me.. a fighting chance.” he reasoned.
& i paused
because he was right.
ive gotten so accustomed to beating him to the punch
& lining up his check.. & mate
i run through a million reasons why i shouldn’t
that the possibility of “i can”
never comes to the forefront.
he’d fight to make you happy.
so why are you pushing him away?
“so how are you two anyway?”
“well, i think we’ve reached that point where we know each other well enough to not push the others buttons…
but we’ve also reached the point where we know each other well enough to know what makes the other happy.. & we’re not going out of our way to do so.”
complacency must be the drug
responsible for slowing the blood flow to the heart
& thinning the oxygen to the brain
which if not induced in such a state,
there would be internal sirens firing off
Get out! Escape! Leave now!