“She went and sat on one of the chairs in the living room, overlooking the bay. I paced back and forth in the kitchen. I couldn’t stand still. I was shaking. Pacing. I knew I had to tell her. In that moment I knew it was time to stop forcefully swallowing those three words. They needed to be let out, they needed to be heard. Regardless of how they would be received.”
When this pandemic started, the same day schools closed, I suggested to Katie that she come to the beach house with me. She gleefully accepted. It was going to be this fun little week-long vacation for us. Why not? Psh. If we only knew. Typing that out makes me laugh.
Katie… this incredibly beautiful (strikingly, intimidatingly), intense, lighthearted, little ball of life. Most insane dancer I’ve ever seen. Strike-the-fear-in-you type of intriguing human. I’m a fucking awesome person, attractive enough, fit, kind, cool, you know.. but damn. She came out of nowhere. The moment I saw her, I knew I was fucked.
In the beginning, our dynamic was a little something like this: It was as if when I reached my hand out to meet her, arm stretched, fingers straight, wide, shaking, straining – she was just barely out of my reach. Every once in a while my fingertips would graze her, but they were still missing those vital two or so inches needed to grab on. That’s how it felt. That’s how she felt. That’s how I thought it would always be. So goddamn close, but just out of reach.
Fast forward to today and every day I still feel lucky to learn her. Every day I adore her more, see her more.
I love you. The three words I didn’t want to feel, the three words I avoided like hell. Yet, the three words the essence of my being always yearns for. But fuck, not now, nope. Go away. The three words that kept making their way to the back of my throat. The three words I almost kept uttering to her with complete natural flow. Laying in bed, catching eye contact while eating dinner, saying goodnight, saying good morning. NO.
And then it hit me. It was mid-morning. She was sitting oppositely from me at the dining table – our new favorite office space. In the stir of a moment I noticed her reach to close her laptop. She looked at me across that table with the look she gives when she’s being strong. She sat there staring into my eyes with a still, stiff body. Hand firmly placed on the top of her now closed computer. To any other human that strength would be undeniably believable. To me, I see through it. I listen to her though and go along with her facade. Don’t get me wrong though, she is strong. She’s really fucking strong.
She began voicing her worries about the pandemic and how it was beginning to strain every aspect of our lives. She’s worried, she’s nervous, scared even, and I can see it. Without processing, without thinking, I said, “As far as I’m concerned, we’re in this together now. We will figure it all out together.” I said that because I meant it. Because, in layman’s terms, duh. This is us now, we are a team. But wait a minute, when did that happen? The naturalness of the statement I had just offered felt so right. And then as she looked at me with tears in her eyes. As she held her gaze on mine, tears now rolling down her cheeks. As I felt my heart radiating out of my chest. As I felt, I got you babe, we got this.
It hit me.
She went and sat on one of the chairs in the living room, overlooking the bay. I paced back and forth in the kitchen. I couldn’t stand still. I was shaking. Pacing. I knew I had to tell her. In that moment I knew it was time to stop forcefully swallowing those three words. They needed to be let out, they needed to be heard. Regardless of how they would be received.
Brave? No. At this point in my life I have had many loves. Each time learning different lessons. Each time gaining wisdom, each time growing. I’ve learned the stupidity of hiding emotions based upon fear of them being unmatched. Which is a discovery that unfortunately takes life experience, takes heartbreak, takes a release of ego, takes age, takes time. Those familiar lyrics, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.” – that’s one of them. If you love someone, you tell them. Without expecting or needing anything in return. I told her she didn’t have to say it back, she didn’t even have to feel it. She didn’t say it back and I still to this day don’t know if she feels it. And that’s ok. Her process is hers.
Looking forward, parts of us will be challenging. I know this. Parts of us will challenge me. Parts of us will be different from anything else I’ve ever experienced. And you know what? There is a sense of relief in that. Excitement even. Parts of me that have been caged will be released. That’s scary and exhilarating. That’s… a relief.
We’ll fight, I know we will. I’ll fight too, inside of my own head. I’ll be challenged in ways I’ve never been challenged before. And, again, you know what? I’m excited for all of this. Because I believe in her, I believe in what we could be. She enhances my life in every way she touches. Isn’t that what a partnership is all about?
I can’t tell the future – sometimes I wish I could. But. What I can see from here is that if I get lucky enough to continue this path with her, we will be stronger together. Because we already are.