We’ve had a terrible evening. The next morning, we wake up already feeling exhausted. Full of regret.
The first thing you say to me is an apology. You tell me you feel awful. I try to let you off the hook, but you aren’t done feeling bad yet about what you said. So you make me really good coffee instead. You make it up in such an intricate way that it’s like you’re a barista. A coffee artist — but one who is working with only the most rudimentary tools.
“If I can’t say what I need to with words,” you explain, “I want to do it with actions.”
Later, you suggest we shower together. That you wash my hair. I love this, and we haven’t done this as much since we moved. That’s because it’s not quite the same in the shower at the new place. But up until now, neither of us has wanted to talk about it.
I’m so tired that I just blurt it out while we’re in the new shower. And you laugh and agree.
After we’re clean, we hop in the car and drive for an hour in a direction we’ve never explored. We note how the sprawl drops off once we reach the city limits.
Both ways, we drive over a lake that’s new enough that it still has trees sticking up from the waters in parts of it. Trees that were covered when the damming patterns changed but haven’t quite died out yet, despite being submerged.
The treetops are bare. They look like clawed hands that are ready to pull people under. I think back to the night before and have a glimpse of a dark moment when I would have welcomed that. But it simultaneously strikes me how different now is. Because it’s sunny. We’re both smiling.
When we get home, you cook dinner. We flirt all day. As we do, I see glimmers of who we were a long time ago, back when this love was new. Back before we even really knew each other — and mostly just knew one another’s energy.
No One Told Me About This Kind of Love Story Before
By the end of the day, we’re both past what happened the night before. I’m still tired, but I feel gratitude instead of regret. Relief.
And as I fall asleep, it occurs to me that no one told me about this kind of love story before. One where people don’t always do things perfectly. But they still manage to find a way forward together, imperfect beings who might struggle sometimes in the moment but find a way to accept each other and avoid resentment.
But maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe I wouldn’t have believed them.
Because there are days, even now, that my time with you is so incredible — and real — that I don’t know if I could have understood it without living it.