Everyday to pass the time, I sing this song. And now as I compose it, the notes arrange like this.
From the start we fall, but know better than to spoil it, taking care not to cover up the path we’ve stumbled upon. We forget to tell the stories we usually tell, of old hurts no one could hope to mend. Simply we enjoy new company as we play sports in the park. We find a bench by the lake and drink from a flask one of us brought. We take a walk, and the sun sets.
Though we do not fall into bed. Instead we later agree it was fortuitous, and less ominous than our old dates, to have kept our hands almost to ourselves. We have nervous moments of waiting instead. But even in waiting, in the exposed spaces where spears used to run us through, we are strong. We block with simply the words or short touches on the elbow the other gives. And in the hug we give goodbye, just barely longer than we would with someone else, we transfer a simple thought. This is it. For as long as I can see, this is it.
Then we grow, slowly but surely we grow. We have dates but cancel them out of respect. And not for the new person, because we do admit to our friends “it really just started,” but because we sense something should not be tampered with. Unlike before when we would rattle God’s cage with shouts of “I’M IN LOVE AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT,” we are silent. We show respect to the fate we’ve been handed. Even if it does all seem a bit unreal.
With ease, and just when we would like, things are off. On our second date we hold hands going out of the Thai restaurant and on the same night we kiss for the first time in your car. After that, we see each other more and more. No longer can we be patient enough to space things out purposely, just because of a fear someone may get their hopes up too high. Our hopes are already too high, like up in a goddamn air balloon, far above where either of us could ever reach.
And we like it that way. We like letting ourselves go. There is no other. There is no ‘just not enough time right now.’ No ‘I just got out of something.’ We even have a talk about how those words are for people who can’t stomach the truth. We make a pact to always be honest, at least until it’s over. Though we do not do not speak that.
Then we go to bed. And right away, it does seem shaky. On the night by the lake our bodies, we both noticed, seemed to match like Legos. We thought it’d be so easy when we decided to fit together. But it’s as if we don’t want to damage what we’ve been given, like poor sensitive orphans at Christmas given just one present.
Oh but then comes the avalanche and we unwrap each other, knowing it’ll only be until the morning when we’re given another gift. Neither of us live in fear, so what we do is stupider and funnier and hotter than what we’ve done before, with more perfect mistakes each night and morning and sometimes afternoon. It’s all we ever want to do. Unless we’re sleeping, which we do so soundly, never kissing each other for too long when the other is tired, never pushing away too soon when the other is vulnerable after a day they would rather forget.
We slip into a lovely routine. Often seeing each other, going out to new places. Places we start to enjoy more since it’s the other’s ‘favorite’ place to go. We drink and watch movies, the ones we’ve wanted to watch with someone but never had the chance. In bed, we talk about books we’ve read. About the biography on Cheever as I sense you, about the collection of short stories by Gass, as you touch me.
Without hesitation, we introduce one another’s friends. We go to parties and laugh when we get home, falling on top of each other with a rawness we love. On the weekends we sleep in and go to farmer’s markets. In the afternoon we take bike rides then come back and shower and nap on each other’s stomach, listening to the echoes like stones in a canyon, or the soft tender thumps of the heart. It is the only thump we ever want to hear. We go on road trips, buying fast food and taking dumb pictures. We met each other families. We fall deeper.
Of course we have arguments. But these are good arguments. The arguments only the great couples have, about things that matter. And sometimes on things that don’t matter. But these are the arguments a real couple would have, which we know we’ve become as you look down and see the ring.
Now the song stops, and I don’t know if the ring stays on, or even if I’ve given it to her. Only that I can see its light, and I can hear the song as I play it back. Louder and softer, dimmer and brighter, as we move in and out of each other’s lives.