I Realize I’m Loved at the Strangest Times, from the Smallest Things

a white paper note that says ".love." on it in red lettering. It is stuck in the branches of a tree
Image by Jennifer Donley / CC BY

It’s Saturday. We’re both working in the living room on our laptops.

Delighted as always to be workaholics.

His Spotify mix is playing in the background, a kind of active white noise to smooth out the normal ambient noises. The peaks and silences of the house. Our neighbors. The street.

I’m not even registering the music, absorbed in what I’m doing, until… one of my favorite songs begin to play.

And it dawns on me just then: He’s mixed my favorite music in with his.

I’m bowled over.

Yes, I forget this dude loves me. I’m not sure why. Maybe his love would be easier to see in a life with less in it. I don’t know. Maybe it’s that our lives are too full — overfull — with projects. Effort. Happiness. Maybe it’s just that there are too many variables to fully understand any part of the equation in isolation.

It surely doesn’t help that we have different love languages. He’s a doer, I’m a talker. Even knowing that framework, it can still be difficult sometimes to communicate effectively. So much gets lost in translation.

But not now. I understand him perfectly today.

I View Myself as an Interloper, But I Guess I’m Not

I’ve long considered myself an interloper into his life. I was the girl who came out of nowhere. A busy polyamorous hinge who was dating four other people when we started to see each other. I was wide-eyed at everything the city had to offer. Used to living not only in the country but up north in the woods. In the margins where nothing really ever happened.

To wit, when I first showed up in Cleveland, I was thrilled to go to an IHOP for the first time.

I came into his life under truly strange circumstances. I moved in with him suddenly, really before either of us were ready for it. Essentially, he saved me from a crisis when through a curious set of events my prior housing situation fell through.

I was used to being on the margins, and I expected to stay there. To be an imposition until the day he decided I had to go.

My goal, accordingly, was to be as pleasant of an imposition as possible. I did my best to be good company. Did chores. Made the most of the time we had together — which I always expected would be limited.

And mysteriously, the day that he asked me to leave never came. Instead, he asked me to marry him.

*

Still, I presumed that I was to stay on the margins. I assume that I’m a temporary guest in his life, not part of a life that we’re building together.

And then something like this happens. Something small that maybe someone else might miss but for me brings everything into focus. Something that makes me I see that he’s weaving me into his life in ways that are usually invisible to me. Like putting my music in with his.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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