i guess i’ve only been in love once.
oh, i remember my first relationship. he was cute and sweet and artsy. he always smelled like paint and had chapped lips and big dreams. he quoted vonnegut daily and i thought he was the sun. he also talked about marriage, and kids; things i did not want.
it ended. i wasn’t in love.
i remember the relationships after that. i remember dating a girl for the first time, how new and frightening it was, and how it ended, unceremoniously, and it did not hurt.
there were others after that. temporary infatuation, questionable choices. guys with bad haircuts and “straight” girls figuring things out.
i loved, but wasn’t in love.
and then there was THE relationship. i was IN love. IN L-O-V-E. i’m talking ‘this is it’ thoughts, future planned, promises, everything. it started like a storm, powerful and electric and gorgeous, but it eventually became a devastating hurricane, and we were not prepared for it. a wreck.
it destroyed. it ended. i almost drowned.
in a way, i’m still relearning how to breathe.
i spent some time trying to anchor myself in all the wrong ways. rebounds, rebounds, rebounds. i made myself believe that i was moving on, when i wasn’t. i couldn’t let go.
it’s as if i was scarred all over, and kept poking at the scabs. i always had blood in my hands, under my fingernails, in my mouth.
so i stopped. i decided to focus on myself, even when the dull ache in my heart didn’t quite go away, but kept stabbing at me.
i spent sleepless nights blaming myself for so many things that i couldn’t control. i felt broken. i thought i’d never heal. my fingernails were clawing at something that was already non-existent. trying to hold on.
and then, out of nowhere, i met someone who saw beauty and happiness in everything. caught me off guard because i wasn’t looking for anything. it was just a crush, i told myself. it would go away, eventually.
it didn’t. i tortured myself thinking “it’s too soon” and “i don’t deserve this” and “will he still like me once he finds out about the past?”
toxic behaviors and thoughts are hard to unlearn.
he was patient. he listened to my silence and made me laugh whenever the bags under my eyes were too obvious to ignore. it took months of tiptoeing around my feelings + rom-com-like moments + late-night conversations + encouragement from my friends for me to finally take a chance.
fast-forward to today.
he’s not perfect. i don’t put him on a pedestal like i did with the ones before him. he’s real and human and honest. he doesn’t have anything to hide and he lives in the present. he doesn’t hold on to anything negative. i see him clearly and unfiltered, and that’s what i like about him.
he does little things that might seem insignificant to others, but to me, they mean everything.
i still get scared sometimes. i still have a hard time opening up to him even though i trust him completely. it’s not his fault.
he knows that. and he’s still patient. he still listens to my silences and makes me laugh so hard my face hurts for days. he keeps me anchored when i get too anxious about things i can’t control.
i don’t need a partner to make me happy, but i do know i can’t stop smiling when i’m around him.
this might be the second time.