How can you love me, let me count the ways…
Good morning texts.
When I roll over, blurry from sleep and still staggering the divide between dreams and reality, and reach for my phone to silence my alarm, I want to see your name. I want to know that of all the things you could be thinking and all the people in this whole wide world you could have made your first hello, that it was me who was on your mind. I am thinking of you. I am thinking of you. More than you know I am thinking of you.
Dark and rich and layered with flavor. Add some tart fruit, or a hint of spice to wake up the inside of my mouth. Watch me as I eat it, the way the flavor lands and unfolds across my face. A warm pan of not quite cooked brownies, right from the oven. Surprise me with some when you come back from the store with eggs and milk. Crack me off a bite and feed it to me with your fingers and hold my gaze as I lick off every last bit.
Speak to me in lyrics and melody. Find a line that whispers my name and echoes our magic. Send me a song that makes you want to spend all afternoon in bed, losing hours to heat and sweat and desire. Pick up my long-ignored guitar, gathering dust in the corner, and strum me a tune. Walk up behind me when I’m washing dishes and pull me back into your arms and croon the lyrics in my ear. Pull together a playlist of your favorite childhood songs and tell me the stories behind every single one. Use the music to say the unsayable, the undefinable, the unknowable, the all. Let us have an entire conversation consisting only of shared songs, no words necessary when the music holds so much.
Play with my hair.
Let me lie with my head on your lap while we watch tv, or nestle into your chest when we finally collapse into each other’s arms and all is silent. Without words, begin to run your fingers through my hair. Softly but firmly, rhythmically. Feel my body unwind, my breath deepens, all my defenses drop. Watch as I unwind entirely, become putty in your hands, purring like a satisfied cat, safe from the whole wide world.
Read my words.
To attempt to know me without reading what I write is to forever remain on the periphery of my heart. My words are my everything, more than I can give you in voice or thought or even the deepest conversation. The most complete fullness of truth that I can muster. The whole reflection of me. To love me fully, dive into the way I use words to translate my experience and my connection to the whole. Show me you find beauty there, that you see me there. That you want more.
Fix. My. Shit.
Take my car for the long-overdue oil change. Load the dishwasher. Change the burnt-out light bulb so that when I come home late at night there is a light over the door. Mow my lawn early on a Saturday morning. Sit in silence with me and fold the laundry. I hold this entire life on my shoulders, keep all the balls in the air — to be given space to let down the weight, even for a moment, is everything. And in that space, I can breathe, and let down my guard, and offer all the more of me to you.
Steal like an artist.
Plagiarize the beauty of the world and bring it to my doorstep. PIck roadside flowers. Send me other people’s poems. Tell me what shape you see in the clouds and how it made you think of me. Snap a photo of the sunset when you’re across the country and let it steal the breath from my lungs too. Show me what it is that moves you, what hurts your heart, what brings you to tears, what makes you think. Share with me the ideas and people and art that changed your life. Paint me a picture in words, in watercolor, in melody. Relentlessly steal from the beauty of this world and place it at my feet so that I can see through your eyes, it is always an honor to see what moves you, what changes you, what brings you back to me.
Recognize my inherent hedonism. Make it your highest mission to bring me pleasure. Keep your gaze on me when I swallow the first pour of whiskey and the burn slides down my throat and blooms in my chest before landing warm and full in my belly, or the way I close my eyes when I take the first sip of a rich, full-bodied red wine into my mouth. Take me to a restaurant where the food explodes wildly or unfolds gently in layers from first bite to last and watch the way my body responds. Watch me respond to music, to poetry, to a hug that lasts and lasts. Pay exquisite attention to the surface of my skin when you touch me there, the way the shiver rises and my lips part and the most imperceptible moan escapes. See my face when I turn while hiking to take in the view I’ve seen a thousand times already? Know that that awe and wonder is the same when I see your face for the thousandth time.
There are a million ways to love me, it is true. And a million ways I want to love you back. With words and actions and the wholeness and holiness of your human body in the spaces where it meets mine. But really, what is it that any of us want but to be seen? To have someone look at us with wide-open eyes (and heart and mind). To see below the surface, what the rest of the world misses in the rush, rush, rush to be and do and move. To slow down. To pay exquisite attention to my ask. My please. My wish and want and daydream. Not because you will be able to meet and answer them all, but because it matters to you that I know that I’ve been heard.