Maybe I thought love was smoke, never consistent, forever changing, yet always a dance against the current. One minute it was driving 90 down the freeway after a storm, like the water couldn’t touch us; the thrill of spinning out of control seemed romantic enough for me to hold one of your hands despite knowing you were driving with only the other on the wheel.
Another minute it was leaping off the rock into the frigid water below, bellowing with laughter as the ice hit our molten veins, soothing as we dragged ourselves, smiling, onto the hard shore, blinded by water droplets.
Then it changed again, and it was your averted gaze, ashamed to tell me what you’d done, how you’d known better and done it anyway. It was a reddened filter over your features, telling me to leave, and then late night blue, the tears streaming down my cheeks and I found a foreign courage to smile, thinking we were so much stronger than your treachery.
Suddenly it was crimson, screaming matches at midnight, everything I’d ever done wrong thrown at me harder than the weight of your fist against my stomach, my knees hitting the concrete below. And I cried and I cried, seeing the red that told me to hit you right back, and then the blue that made me beg for your forgiveness. How I wanted the same hands that hurt to hold me until morning.
Maybe love is smoke, and maybe it’s earth, and maybe it’s blood, and maybe it’s tears. Maybe love is accidentally falling asleep curled up on your lap, only to wake up wrapped in your arms, greeted only by a smile that makes me realize that I don’t know what love is at all.
Maybe someday, my head resting on the turquoise and oleander of your chest, I’ll realize that it doesn’t quite matter if I know.