Hey, you see that woman over there? The tall one? The one who drives a beat up old Jeep? The one arguing with someone about the temperature of her coffee? The one who stands with all her weight on one hip, who is never warm enough, and who can’t keep her hands out of her hair?
Yeah, she’s mine.
That woman over there who is softer to the touch than she is to the ear, the tall brunette with a glare that cuts, but a hug that melts; That entitled girl who snorts when she laughs and will work on an equation for five hours just to be right? The woman who bites her lip instead of actually smiling and hides behind big boots and red lips like armor?
And I’m hers.
She’ll never be yours. You can’t have her. She doesn’t want you. She wants me. Every day she chooses me and I choose her. Not because she’s perfect, and definitely not because I am.
She’s mine because I gave her something I didn’t give to anyone else, and in return, she gave me what she gives only me.
She’s mine because she’s broken and I’m broken. When we faced each other, held each other, we saw our fractures were offset. And when we lined up, we realized the shafts of light ceased to shine through our cracks and into oblivion, but instead, landed on each other, lighting up the pieces of ourselves that were still whole. The pieces we decided to give to each other.
You can’t have that part of her. She won’t give it to you. If you ask for it, she’ll act like it doesn’t exist. And if you look for it, she’ll hide it from you. But if you give her something equally precious, if you lay in wait, if you get comfortable with the possibility you might never see it, then maybe, maybe you’ll get a glimpse of what I’m talking about.
Don’t count on it though. Don’t hold your breath. She held hers for some before and turned blue. It was not her best color. It was not her best time.
It’s not always beautiful. It’s not always light. The sun goes down sometimes, and we forget that we’re broken. Without seeing through one another, standing in the dark, we forget that we’re still just walking patch jobs. And when we expect the other to operate like a new thing, like the version of happiness that is advertised everywhere, that’s when I need to turn toward her and remember that I chose to forego the Barbie and picked a rag doll.
Stuffed with feathers and butterfly wings, and whiskey, and wildflower seeds, and dirt, and coffee beans, clovers, and fear. And when she chooses to see me, as she does every day, she looks at my worn pieces, my chipped paint job. She puts her ear to my chest and listens to my rough idle, and times herself to match it instead of reaching in there and making it sound like everything else.
Because you don’t throw away something that works. I don’t subscribe to that notion. I don’t fit in with my generation. I am not entitled to her. And I don’t think the newest and the shiniest is always the best. Shine is temporary. Rust is proof of life.
I won’t apologize, but I will empathize with a complete loss you didn’t know you were experiencing. Instead, you get the pleasure of surface conversation and the occasional joke from her. You get to experience exactly what she lets you, and you get to see exactly what she wants you to see. Looking at her from your point of view is like trying to experience an eclipse from beneath a rain cloud.
That woman over there who is paying for her own flowers, she thinks I’m something amazing. She never yells at me in front of people. She never puts me down and makes me feel like less of a man when I feel like less of a man. She reminds me when I’m not at my most proud, that not only am I a man, but I am her man. The man she chose for all the good and bad about me.
That woman, the one that is afraid to sleep, but isn’t afraid to love me; The woman who is afraid of tornadoes, and cheese, she’s not afraid of my shit. She’s not afraid of the ugliest pieces and can look right at my gaping lesions as if they were expired dandelions in a field of green grass. She will make a wish on my wounds and promise better days ahead, and mean it. She carries a sewing kit in her heart in case a button falls off, or a suture strains. It looks like a handkerchief tucked into her bra, and a silver flask of Jameson in her pocket that we might share on a long walk when words aren’t working.
Hey, do you see that woman over there?
Of course you don’t.
How could you?
She doesn’t want you to.
Because she chose me. All of me. Some assembly required.
Who he was doesn’t really matter. I had simply found myself in the same position I’d been in repeatedly before. Silently lying on my back on the carpet, alone, the quiet and supportive presence of my dog next to me.
Eventually, this time, I penned a letter detailing the kind of love I’d blindly hoped to find some day. In order to do that, however, it was a realization I would have to let myself be vulnerable enough to show I was capable of as deep a love I wished for and perhaps I’ve been finding myself single due to my own double standard.
So who knows if it’s a love letter to myself, if it’s a pipe dream or a cheap Want Ad.
At the end of the day, at the end of that day specifically, it was what I needed to hear to make it to the next one.
Take a shot, make a toast, make a wish…
Sláinte to love, both imaginary and unfound.
Sláinte from a girl and a letter, both post dated.