Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love at Every Turn

Here I am,

Sixteen, sitting in the locker room, lacing up my high tops knowing you're across the gym, in a room just like this, doing the same. We'll come out at the same time, because I planned it that way, and you'll walk with me to weights class. I'm hoping you'll ask me to hang out with you and your friends again. I'm literally doing back flips to impress you. I'm waiting for pep assemblies where I'll sit in front of you and you'll put your hands on my shoulders and I'll lean into you and feel your heartbeat. I'm anxious for that day when your hand brushes over mine at the lunch table and stays there. I'm all in. I'm yours.


I'm sixteen and falling in love in a passionate stupor. Making out to rock music blasting from my boombox, and halfway watching movies with wandering hands. Driving out into the desert and watching the sunset. Sneaking off campus for forbidden fast-food lunches. Making trips to buy doughnuts on late-in days with your brother and the German. Lying on Derek's trampoline staring at the pale blue sky. Going to school dances in cheap, glittering dresses and borrowed heels. Hiding hickeys. Boldly saying I love you on the deck as you drop me off.

Here I am,

Throwing a graduation cap into the air. Spending late summer nights in your backyard, fire burning in the laundry drum. Trailing out into the country to watch friends marry young. Telling you I'll never marry you if you tattoo "straightedge" in bold letters across your chest like you want to. Lying across boulders at Lake Tahoe and talking about the big dreams and big houses and big money of someday. Hiking the foothills and speaking loftily of joining the Peace Corps. Waiting for life to begin. With you.


Here I am,

Emaciated by college poorness, struggling through insomnia, working a thankless job that occasionally accuses me of being a thief. I'm coming home late and calling you, and you're walking through the dark night, from the safety of college dorms into my shady part of town, and you're staying with me so the world doesn't feel like it's falling apart anymore. I'm starting to say "we" when I talk about the future and proposals are half-whispered in the night. I'm making a Valentine's Day dinner that we eat sitting on the floor of my room at a coffee table stolen from the common space. I'm telling you about the sort of life I want. In every version, you're in it.

I'm loading up the Dodge Neon and we're unloading across town, in an even worse neighborhood. We're buying cheap futons at K-Mart, and eating spaghetti at folding card table and playing grown-up in our shoebox apartment. We're taking in roommates when there's hardly room for the two of us. We're driving out in the middle of the night and buying sparkling cider when you ask me to marry you because we're still too young to drink. We're shrugging off the comments that we're too damn young for marriage. Considering the drive-through chapel about once a month.


Here I am,

Walking down the aisle in a white dress. Holding your shaking hands, scared you're going to run. Putting on rings. Taking vows. Kissing you for the first time as my husband. Ringing the church bell that no one inside can hear. Dancing to Frank Sinatra. Toasting and taking too many photographs to manage. Watching lightning crack overhead as we leave in the limo. Coming home to our trashed apartment; a thank you note from friends stuck to a sticky, boozy counter top. Picking up where we left off yesterday, but today I'm your wife. 

Here I am,

Standing in an empty living room, decorating a Christmas tree. Dragging a mattress inside despite the snowstorm, so we can sleep for the first time in our house. Coming home to a little black puppy you picked out for us. Looking around myself and wondering how it all happened so fast. Wondering how I got so lucky. Wondering how it could get any better.


Here I am,

Stomach rounding, new life growing inside me. Buying clothes, trinkets, diapers, baby books. Picking over names on the couch, hands intertwined. Taking for granted late night trips to the grocery store together. Life unencumbered, but as of yet incomplete. Sleeping at night in your arms. Waiting impatiently for our son to be born.

Here I am,

Awestruck by the fact that today there is a new person in the world, and he is ours. He is you and he is me and he is perfect. I'm watching you hold him, love him, transforming into a new man before my eyes. Loving you more deeply than I knew possible. Hoping that our son grows up to be just like you. Lying exhausted on the couch; a living, breathing patchwork of our love asleep on your chest. Disbelieving that the days can be so long and pass so quickly.


Here I am,

Spending sweet days at home with Lucas. Sifting through memories of our life together. Feeling grateful and overwhelmed and undeserving of it all. Looking forward to our daughter being born. Looking forward to years ahead. Knowing they'll be filled with happiness. Knowing that I'll love you at every turn our lives take.

Waiting for you to come home. Wanting to tell you I love you again.

Here I am. 

I'm all in. I'm yours. And I always have been.


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