Talk is cheap I told him. I don't need the words, I need to see love in action, I have to feel it. I have no idea what he said to that, it was a long time ago, and I'm not always the best at listening to others, but I remember the day clearly. You might not think they are love letters when you see them, and I've often wondered if he does that on purpose. I have sheets covered with his handwriting, one of them has my name on it, and there's something jolting about seeing those letters written out more artistically by another when I've been practicing for the past forty some years. Being loved is so different than falling in love, or being in lust with someone. Until I met him I didn't realize that it could be this way, that someone would show up before you knew that you needed them because he can see things I can't and don't, I lack his brand of vision.
At first we were determined to show each other our best sides. That didn't last long as it's incredibly difficult to keep things superficial and light when both of us prefer authenticity. I don't think that either of us have ever lied to the other person, maybe we haven't always told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing except the truth, but we no longer feel as if we have to hide the unsexy parts of our lives from each other anymore. They say that if you love someone, you should let them go, and I've found that to be true. Whenever I send him off, eventually he returns to me. We don't really talk about it, we just acknowledge that he has his life, I have mine, and it may not work for anyone else, but we've discovered that it takes absence to help our hearts grow fonder.
There are times when we don't like each other, he's held my feet to the fire, and I've returned that particular favor. It hasn't always been easy, I have a feeling that the majority of people wouldn't understand how we can speak the same wordless language, I never try to explain it, I don't try to change him, I change, or he does, and then we see a new side of the person we love that may not have existed before. The other day he asked me a question that annoyed me; I rarely hold back when I'm talking to him. He's probably more careful about what he says to me, having learned the hard way that I can dish out as well as take the heat that comes from standing too close to someone else in the kitchen. Our relationship probably shouldn't work, but it does because behind the breezy way we interact is a deep and abiding love.
Initially I refused to believe it. I fought it and him, I regret that now. It seemed to good to be true, that there could be someone who could see you on your worst possible days, hear the venom that dripped out of my mouth, sense that I was frustrated, angry, sad, or scared, and still remain devoted to me and my happiness. I had no idea that I needed him as badly as I do. The careful lists, the way he remembers what I said even when it was a throw away comment, the sacrifices he makes so that my life is brighter, better, richer, and fuller. I didn't need a lover as badly as I needed a playmate; someone who would tease me when things got grim, and head off darker thoughts and moods by lighthearted comments and gently poking fun at me in a manner that made me see how silly I was to be taking myself so seriously.
He has a sensitive side, we've hurt each other with the things we've said, done, and the things we have withheld, or not done for the other person that we could have. Recently we had a chance to take things to another level. Like a fly fisher casting bait the lure was small, but effective. A part of me was tempted. We could easily let the flames of passion scorch us, on some level I find it hilarious that two people who are as terrified of intimacy and commitment as we are remain in this position, but I think that's actually what makes us as good as we are together. He deserves to be free; and I do too. Neither of us wants to capture the other person under a glass, use a stainless steel pin to puncture their heart, and examine them more carefully if it means they have to give up the life that they enjoy living on their own. Sooner or later we end up meeting again, and every time I think about it, I'm reminded of the day we watched a couple of butterflies flitting about, seemingly without rhyme, or reason.
Butterflies don't live very long. They're fragile creatures who can travel thousands of miles to get where they want to go. Something we can't and don't understand propels their flight to the home of their ancestors. It could be that one of us will outlive the other, and that makes me sad to think about. But for today, I can see past the ice, snow, and bitter chill of the wintry air to the warmer moments we spent together. The time he let me borrow his pen, the red stain that colored his cheeks on an occasion that is still fresh in my mind, it's hundreds, if not thousands of things that can't really be conveyed through words, painting, poetry, or any other manner that engages the mind, or our senses. It might be what I imagine stepping into a prism could be, white light separates into the colors of the rainbow, and the butterfly guy has a choice to make.
Freedom from me, or freedom with me. Either way; he has permanently colored my black and white world.