Often, when I have a crush, when I lust after someone, I see only a small percentage of who they really are. I see a pretty face, a perfect bone structure, or a few attractive personality traits and then without another moment’s thought I fill in the gaps with my own desires and hopes, I smother them in who I imagine them to be. I scribble my grand sweeping fictions over the people who capture my imagination until what I am left with is scarcely a person at all, but a figment, a fragment, a romanticisation––just a character in a story.
I fall head over heels for the mysteries of people, the quirks and oddities that inspire and energise me, the risks and thrills that make me feel alive. And while this usually results in an intense and passionate romance, ultimately, this is where the relationship fails.
In time, the fictions I have fabricated inevitably fall away. As the realities of daily life begin to set in and I come to know my partner for who they really are, the fantasies I have projected onto them begin to fade away, until this living, breathing human being beside me is no longer a lover at all, but a stranger standing naked in the shadow of my delusion.
But sweetheart, my darling, it is different with you.
Now, I won’t pretend I haven’t fallen hard for your complexities and messes, your wild, beautiful mind, or your unknowable spirit. I won’t pretend the hairs don’t stand up on the back of my neck whenever our mouths press deeply together in a kiss, as I imagine I taste traces of a thousand past lives on your lips––the two of us meeting up with each other again and again, laying with our arms out at our sides beneath these same stars, staring at each other with eyes that carry exactly the same glint. With you, my imagination races with restless abandon and I won’t for a minute try to deny that. I am a storyteller. I make believe. I embellish and over-elaborate. It is, after all, what makes me ‘me’.
Still, this is not why I have chosen to commit myself to you.
I am here because, with you, even the mundane is magic, because, with you, the true story far surpasses the fiction. I am here for the the chores, and the grocery shopping, how you laugh at all my jokes, most especially when they’re unfunny, the way you set four alarms just to wake up in the mornings. I am here for the quiet evenings at home over takeout and Netflix, when you look up to me and smile, skin drenched in light from the laptop. I am here for your warm and affectionate heart, both your magnificent light and your difficult dark, the way I could see myself stumbling drunk, laughing through a foreign city with you, as much I could watching you cradle a brand new baby girl to sleep in your arms. I am here for the sad, the sweet, the thrilling, the dull, the sharp, the soft, the bad, and the good––a real, full, complete life that is raw and complex and tangible and true.
I am here, not for the theatrical or the poetic, but for the small, sweet, earthly joy that is an ordinary, everyday life lived with you.