His & Hers

“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
is consistent
unconditional
ground-shaking
good.

“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.”

fluffy’s

she sat on the stoop of the building
her arms cradling his head that hung low into his chest
his eyes pressed hard into the palms of his hand
her posture spoke to me
her every cell begged to perform a transfusion
willingly
selflessly.
“transfer the hurt, from him, to me” her face said
as she nuzzled her forehead into the curve between his ear and shoulder

cars passed between them, & me
kicking up the odors of the street
of drunken night life
& sober regrets.
i could feel her desperation from four lanes away
i silently observed them
as my drunken companion pulled me along

but all i wanted was to pause, & watch–
to know their night’s story.
because even in an entirely different country,
hurt easily translates.

all in

my reddening eyes betrayed me
with their sloppy wet lashes
before i could articulate
my disappointment.

not in you.
let the record state that.

“i just dont want you to get so lost in this, that if it doesn’t work out… it will destroy you.”

“how cocky” i thought
“how presumptuous!?”

but as my body reacted
before my mind could process
i realized that at the heart of it all,
my disappointment was in myself

because you were right.
& i didnt know how to convince you
that it wouldnt be so.

/ˈɛs.kɪ.moʊæ.liːˈ.uːt/

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
for you.

here i am,
assuming “snow” just means winter
& powdered white landscapes
but for you,
its based on context
& texture
& 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
no restrictions
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
& obstacles
& 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.

the verb & the feeling

i always thought the highest level of a relationship
based on regard for one another,
not on labels or status,
is whether or not love is ever-present.

Because after all,
one of God’s ultimate commandments
is to love one another–
He never said it would be easy.

But loving someone is a verb
its demonstrated through actions
through consistency
through words of affirmation
& always showing up.
Love is putting someone else before you,
and embodying the care & utmost respect
you could have for someone else.

Liking someone, however?
that’s a feeling.
it comes from judging a person’s character,
weighing it against your own ideals.
its demonstrated through the ease of having common ground
unsolicited friendship.
You could strive to love your neighbor,
but do you ever have to like her & her love of stray cats,
hoarding tendencies,
& late night, pot-perfumed, porch parties?

it seems to precede love–
but isnt it really its own making?

i think in most of my relationships,
i didn’t take the time to figure out whether i even liked the guy,
before committing to his lifestyle,
his dreams,
his future,
his expectations.
& because i had done all that so fluidly
so readily
i reasoned, i must’ve been in love.
because the actions of the word were all present.

Now i have a man,
who’s taken a year and a half to be mine
but i can say, honestly, i thoroughly love him.
But now that love’s been declared
& commitment’s been pronounced
i’m not so afraid of not loving him
as i am of not liking him.
because love is an action,
& i am a gold-star follow-through-er.

but will i like him while doing so?

sense-imental

do you see?

the admiration beaming from my eyes when i gaze at you?
as if even minutes apart made me thirst for you
& just seeing you in all your handsome charm quenches it.

can you feel?

me trying to pluck the stress from your temples
your neck, your shoulders
as you tell me about your eventful day?
my earnest attempt to transfer all the bad you’re feeling
& take it upon myself.

can you hear?

the sweet sound of honest to goodness happiness?
in my laugh, in the way i coo, “you’re my favorite”
for the hundredth time today.
in the sincerity in my apologies for your long hours,
back to back meetings, & difficult days.

[i’ve never apologized so much before
& rarely ever for things that have
nothing to do with me]

is this what it is to love?

it feels like
such an incredible responsibility
to feel something this insurmountable
for someone else
& having now felt it,
to know that to live any other way
would be a half-life.

the drawer

6a4bed11-e1bc-4bd7-8ee4-46a0f0e6ad5e
“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.

grey

i wish
i could be the kind of girl
just along for the ride.
revel in the silence
& await the big reveal.
& if he bows out
before it ever gets to that point in this romantic comedy?
it’s fine.
rewrite the script
cast a new leading man.
you still have a movie.

i wish i could be that girl.
more than any other self deprecating thoughts i have–
this one ranks the highest.

but because i can’t
because i’ve tried
and failed
again & again
at trying to be her,
can’t we just have a go at me being this one?

& not consider each time i push for answers
to be two steps backward into the abyss of unknowns?
that grey area
where you can’t tell where the horizon is,
the foreground from the background,
or anything in between
is what got me here
in the first place.

this is me
in the middle of a room
with a hundred different paint swatches of grey
laid out around me
holding each one up to the light
to see if it matches the walls.

“is it more of a ‘classic french grey’? … no? how bout an ‘earl grey’? or ‘gauntlet grey’?

i think i got it–

“agreeable grey”

missing people easily isn’t natural for him
& now that i think about it,
it isn’t for me too.

i’ve had boyfriends go on
long family vacations
even deployments
& they’d have to pull the words out of me
“don’t you miss me yet?” they’d ask.
i’d say it because..
you’re supposed to say it.
but it was usually such a relief to have them away
it told me i could be fine without
which i thought was just because i’m reasonable
independent
just slightly emotionally detached.

but with you,
i’m afraid
i may be at the mercy of my feelings
i’m terrified
i may fall apart when you leave.
& the ache will be a throbbing never ending feeling
that can’t be satiated with texts
& quick layover visits
& facetime
& alexa drop-ins

& you’ll think to yourself,
this girl just feels too much
& assume that this is my M.O when people leave me,

but it’s as if my heart just reserved all this,
just for you.