there’s this simple test
theorists use to determine the success of children
they call it the marshmallow test.
they offer a child a marshmallow,
but also propose
that if they can wait
and resist the first marshmallow
they’ll be rewarded with two.
the impulsive, take the first
seizing the opportunity for gooey sugary goodness in the now
the successful, are those who wait
understanding the double reward for their self control
i am the sugar-driven
the parameters of my test
weren’t clear on the outset.
the two prized marshmallows after my patience
was not a guarantee.
it was a possibility
not wanting to be left
knowing one is better than none
took that first marshmallow
like it was the last piece of heaven
i’d ever taste.
i need to learn to leave the scales
the weighing of equal deeds & favors
i need to adapt to a world
where i cant feel guilty
everytime i ask you to attend a family function
like its one more tally against me
for being weak enough to want you there.
i need to accept my right to feel
like i need you
even if in my mind i havent done enough
to deserve it
we may trade in different currencies
but they’re exchanged for the same reason
i need to remember
that to turn our gestures
into leveraged goods
is to make it a transaction
& not an act of grace.
“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 always kind of liked being unreachable
meant i was un-tethered to the “real world”
i mean i hated that i had a radius
a short distance & practiced route
to get me to & from the hotel
so i wouldn’t get lost.
but at least i couldn’t be bothered
when i was away.
but you went & got me an international data plan
because you know i have a tendency
of getting lost
[even on practiced streets]
so i could be reachable
if i wanted to be.
& instead of feeling tied down
tethered by a leash thats been shortened with this newfound accessibility
i felt even freer.
because when i saw the snow fall in Japan
i could tell you i was thinking of you.
when i tasted the most amazing dessert in Australia
i could send you a photo of it, & tell you to come with me next time to try it for yourself.
because the difference is,
everything i wander towards
i want to share with you.
because you are my world.
it amazes me
that in the age of the internet
where knowledge, and the ability to be informed
is at the tip of your fingers
you choose to live in a house
with the drapes of ignorance
pulled tight over the windows.
Because if you pulled back those curtains
you’d see the earth is not flat.
You choose to live in a place
circulating old air
& outdated information
to sustain you.
You rely on those walls,
to protect you from “those” people out there
but i wish for those walls,
to transform into mirrors
to reflect what devolved creatures
you’ve let yourself become
but you wouldn’t see.
you wouldn’t see, what we all see.
Because in order to see change,
to see fault,
you need a standard
something to compare yourself to.
But in your four-walled sanctuary,
there’s only the same
in a house with blacked-out windows
& severed ties to the real world
you’ve lost touch with reality.
So go on.
believe the earth is flat,
and that homosexuality is an infection,
to be transferred to your children.
for the sake of society,
remain in your house.
because we wouldn’t want your
to infect us.
He always stands in front of me on descending escalators,
& behind me on ascending ones
because he knows I have a propensity for falling.
He packs an overcoat even though he knows he’ll never use it,
because he’d rather carry the extra garment
& give me the option of having an added layer to protect me from the cold.
He sends me videos of himself,
welcoming me to whatever country,
state, city I’m flying into
so that however bad of a flight I had,
it’s always remedied with his bright smile.
He writes me notes with the sweetest sentiments
& sends them via email when he knows im still sleeping
so as not to wake me with a text notification.
These are the gestures
however small or large they appear
that lets me know
he chooses me.
each and every day.
ive never been so sad to be away from you.
but ive never been so happy,
to realize how sad i am without you.
how deeply i adore you.
my reddening eyes betrayed me
with their sloppy wet lashes
before i could articulate
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
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.
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.