“Honey, how can we be sure?” I am thinking back on all the times, all the lack of time. “It’s only been three months.” Lover after lover, so promising to start and me so easy to make promises to. Expectations before disappointments.
The question that I don’t ask you ‘but how can you be different?’ keeps posing itself in my head, and though I know so many versions of the answer, I ask again. How will you not change me? How will I not be bored and cold the way I always have been before. How will this not fall apart?
I am stuck on my own nervous shaking and the snow falling outside your car doors. I am stuck. You have seen me like this before. You know it means it’s something important.
Nervous shaking in my hands, but you are shaking me, the way you always can with just your eyes, maybe a hand on my arm when the tension gets bad. You know how I get lost sometimes. You know that you can always find me, and you always have.
Maybe the answer to my question is that you aren’t different. Maybe I am. I do not run from you.
You never encouraged my fits. You never let me play them out to their spiraling end, and yet you never ever asked me to stop. You just stood there calm, and here you are sitting beside me again, only calm -- calm and unwilling to let me fall into myself when I am supposed to be talking to you.
So I look up, and there are blue eyes. Honest.
“Three months of sleeping together maybe -“
“Two.” The only man I’d waited a month to sleep with in the last four years. And how hard it was to wait. How hard it is to wait even now for other things I know are right , but here I am still doubting.
“Maybe only three months,” you make a point, you stress the three, “of being lovers, but two and a half years,” you are so soft, honey-breaking sweet, and you open yourself more beautifully than I could ever dream to do. You kiss me as you hold my hands and gaze, quietly, but firmly, “but two and a half years of deep,” and you pronounce the words slowly, “mental commitment.”
Your words, not mine. You were never the wordsmith; you remind me of that every time that I get mad at you because you’re not telling me the things I want to know. But these words will linger with me for all their awkwardness; this time you’re not trying to tell me anything I hadn’t already known before.
I say yes before I breathe. It’s a yes to a question that the rest of the world doesn’t know exists. We’re going, next year. Going wherever we may land, but we’re going there together. And I’ll take your ring in May when you give it to me. I’m saying yes and yes, again and again of course. Saying it with my body, and then once with my lips, but I know you know before I get to the word.
We’ve talked this out before. Maybe because we like to cry. Maybe because neither of us can believe.
I look up into your bright blue eyes and see exactly what I’ve always seen before. Your mouth is warm on mine despite the cold outside, and I am still amazed by the ways that we have taught each other all over again how to kiss. You back away and smile, and I see all that you have meant to me these years. I could never have asked for anything else.
And I'm not shaking now.