“All I did was wonder how your arms would be, and it happened to me.”

Decisions I made unwitting of consequence:

To keep kissing you because it feels good
To spend time waiting for growth
To forgive what I thought was foolishness
To stay until my love for you dissolved

My best friend told me a story last night, about a boy who’s loved her since she was eighteen. He’s been with another girl since he’s known my best friend – he’s even had a child with this other girl. This past week, he left the mother of his child because he said he had always loved my best friend. He said to her, “I don’t know how it got this bad.”

I also don’t know how it got so bad.

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I don’t want to forget:

The first time you really said I love you. And meant it. We were on the phone and I was picturing you lying on the leather couch we laid on, your sweaty cheek pressed to the cushion, your phone laying on your ear. I could see your eyes in the dark, dazed and wide, your mouth slightly open because you were tired. You were always tired, even though you didn’t show it. I was telling you about how hurt I was. I wasn’t always hurt, but when I was, you wouldn’t believe me, even when I showed it. You countered most things I said. You usually did. That hasn’t changed much. It was late and our parents had been disgusted with us for weeks. We were both defeated — by the world, by each other, by ourselves. I shook all the time. You were unhinged, but you’d touch down now and then. I could feel your floatiness from 30 miles away that night. I was sad, and so were you. I probably said something like, “If you loved me, a and b wouldn’t have happened, and c would have by now.” I don’t remember. You were distressed. You touched back down to be vulnerable. You asked, “But how do I know? How can I be sure? How do I know I love you?” You were desperate. You got like that sometimes. Your eyes would become wide and panicked and out of your inflated scatterings would rise a question, heavy as the sun. It always gave me pause. You could always humble me. You still do.
I didn’t know how to respond to what you said. I was too tired to be struck by it. And I was confident. I said, “I think you do.” Because I did. I knew you did. Maybe not as my father did my mother, but you did. I knew you thought of me at night. You had told me how you’d look up at the stars in your car after a night of delivering pizzas and going out to bars with your scummy friend.
You were silent, but I could feel you were scared. I could see your eyes. I could almost feel your body, tense, alone, and honest. You were so human. You said, “I think I do too.”
It was an early summer night. I was used to feeling defeated, false, lonely and secretive. I shook all the time. I was tired. I barely slept. But when you said that, I could feel gold shooting through me. A glowing liquid, pulsing. We were both laying in our beds, pathetic and tired and stupid, but it was victory. I knew what soaring felt like.
I think we said good night shortly after. Things didn’t get better for awhile. But I don’t want to forget how I felt.

Sunday gratitude

Here are things that stirred joy last week.

1 – A wide, metal sprinkler perched on a grassy hill. Running in the mud with a throng of crazed six year olds. Wet, muddy thighs and soaked sneakers. Triumphant giddiness.

2 – When my boyfriend I should tuck my hair behind my ears because my face was beautiful. Then we kissed.

3 – Little Aiden holding my hand and pulling it up to his face. Little Jordan calling out “ANNE! I miss you!”

4 – Hanging out with the older boys at the back of the bus. Teasing and chatting like equals, as every conversation should be. (Topics: seat belts, roller coasters, my job at an amusement park, and Chinese fingers)

5 – At work yesterday, a lovely lady said “what pretty eyes you have!” and another saying “They gave you a blue polo to match your blue eyes!”

6 – When the nurse told me about her deceased fiancee and the tattoo she got for him (a dragon). When she told me about her new husband and the tattoo he got for her (a dragon coming out of a shell). She said she’s grateful for him, “but it’s not the same”.

7 – Taking myself out to Barnes & Noble. Buying Fiji water, a chocolate cookie, and a nice copy of To The Lighthouse. Reading in public. Feeling special, calm, and at peace, all alone.

8 – Passion born of gentle, slow, long-awaited softness.

9 – “Glitter In the Air” – P!nk

10 – Little Max telling me I was his friend, then begging to dump his water bottle on me (I let him). His bright grin and floppy yellow hair.

11 – Playing concentration with Little Will. When he promised to bring me pictures of Israel to camp next year.