It had been years that I’d been stepping in and out of the dating pool. Looking for resemblances of love. I was hesitant, unsure, and ready to take a break from putting my heart on the sidewalk for others to view. That word… love… took on many shapes. Sometimes it was autumn leaves crumpling quickly as I moved closer to it. Other times it was ice cubes shaped like hearts that I’d press against my chest to soothe my ache. Often it seemed to be small, jagged grains, that I could never quite figure out, or hold onto long enough, to truly identify. Love wasn’t lost on me, but it was tucked away in corner pieces that I’d offer up to unsuspecting onlookers, who had no idea what to do with this bright overpowering gift.
So each time I’d go back to where everybody was allowed in the pool. Each time I’d dip in a little wiser, a little colder, and a little more… hurt. And I’d sift through the broken limbs wading in the same space. None of us wanting to regurgitate any hurt into fresh opportunity, but not really knowing how to separate the shrapnel still lodged into bone, from the sturdy pieces. And at the center of all the looking, we all just want to be whole people, connecting with, whole people.
I continued to check off the boxes, to all the things needed for me, to navigate to, and uncover, my soulmate. And then, I fell into boxes I hadn’t checked off. Because I know that checking boxes doesn’t necessarily create the reality that best fits my being. I know that letting go and taking risks are what plants true meaning. So I went outside my space of need, and started to see these other versions of relationships. Forcing a purge of expectations and facilitating a powerful … letting go.
So I moved forward, checking new boxes. The box where you held odd hours and I adjusted my entire world to fit into your reality. The box where your world wrapped tightly around, your world, and I orbited just outside of it. The box where I burst open my chest ten minutes into meeting you and wished you’d crawl inside at that moment, and get to know the rooms that make up this body.
I didn’t mean to check any of the boxes you laid out for me, so quickly or so frequently, but I did. I still check them. I check the ones where you fall from the planet for days, even weeks at a time. I steady my hand at best, but I still check the box. I wrap my insecurity around your inconsistency and pray that it’s not fatal.
I constantly reach my fingers into the depths of your spine to pull out the knots that spell lonely and replace them with soft, unscathed portions of who I am. I keep reaching despite the bruises from resistance. I keep reaching and hold in deeply the air you press into my lungs, in the good moments. The ones where I become encased inside your arms and you remind me we fit in patterns unrecognizable. And your IN breath is my OUT breath and we breathe in rhythmic certainty that could sustain us buried beneath the earth. And in those precious ticking’s of time, I live the most life, and keep these memories tightly wound in the grandfather clock I call our home.
I’ve checked the box, “It gets’ better.” Following your lead and believing the voice that has let me down far too often, but never with intention, only with a heart that at the root means, “I hear you but I don’t know where to place what you give… with what I have.”
We come together with an already written story. I hold loosely the understanding that it is hard for some to write another in, to understand what the pull and push of their ink on another truly means. I hold loosely, because my poetic heart will write you in the moment I know. It was never your fault that I knew before I ever met you, and that when I met you, the story wrote itself and began tattooing your name in the secret place where our souls meet. And where our souls met, far before our eyes ever did.
I take my empathetic and vulnerable, with a capital V… spirit, and I unfold it at your feet. I label my own boxes for you to see, so that one day, you can go through and check them off, one by one. So that you can finally see me. Know me at the root. And let me in with the key that’s been dangling from your neck since the day you first pressed your chest to mine.
There is safety in consistency. There is hope in knowing you’ve held firmly to something that without a doubt will hold you right back and reach for you with clarity and honor all the lower case and capital letters you bring for building.
We are builders, you and I. Builders of boxes, timelines, memories, hopes, and currency. Your touch is my hearts currency and I will keep checking the boxes until we build what we are meant to build and I will reach, and I will orbit, and I will hold you as close as you will fit against my ribs, until the sun rises, or it sets… on our not yet perfect, but waiting to be perfect, soul connection.