The barista at my local coffee shop makes my iced soy latte with extra whip without me prompting him. My mother knows that if she gives me a midnight curfew, I’ll be home sometime between 12:15 and 12:18, depending on the traffic light in front of my old elementary school. Nobody can read my poker face except for my father, who knows that I will hold eye contact a little bit too long if I’m bluffing and will become a little too quiet if I have a pocket pair. My best childhood friend knows that I will never make a final decision on what movie we watch, but I will always secretly want a harry potter marathon above all else. My little sister knows that I will never take her up on her offer to go out with her and her friends, but she knows that i love when she asks anyway. And my older sister knows my first thought at every street sign, song on the radio, and mention of a relative, and she’ll say it at the exact same time as me.
You laugh at the same things that I laugh at, and you understand the virtue of raw cookie dough and romcoms. You don’t understand all of my quirks, but you think they’re cute nonetheless. You don’t know why I don’t eat red meat, but you understand why I still order chicken fingers at fancy restaurants. You also realized the other day that I get extremely uncomfortable when the volume is on an odd number. You didn’t call me out on it and I didn’t have to tell you; you just reached out and turned it from 15 to 16.
You’re learning, and I don’t expect you to ever know everything or even want to know everything, because some parts of us are better left undiscovered, or discovered by different people.
I hope you know that I’m trying too, and that I’d like to understand most of the weird little things that you do too. I promise I’ll try not to laugh but, if I do, know that I like you that much more for having strange little quirks like I do. Each one is a reminder that I didn’t fall in love with all of you the first time we talked, or the second, or the fourteenth. Instead, I’ve fallen in love with the way you swallow over and over again whenever you get nervous. I’ve fallen in love with the way you love the smell of low tide and wet dogs and gasoline in the summertime. You refuse to use any writing utensils other than Ticonderoga pencils and you compare the people in your life to cities; I’ve fallen in love with these parts of you, too.
There are some things I’m still trying to figure out though, like why you always order two flavors of ice cream but they have to be in different cups, or why you laugh at me whenever I look up the weather ahead of time. And there are some things that I won’t ever understand, but these are my favorite. I understand you without understanding every part of you, and I think that I’ll understand you best if I’m always a few steps away from understanding you completely.
That’s the most that I could ask of you: that we try to understand one another the best that we can, but understand that there are little nuances that are meant only for the best friend I met in kindergarten, or the sisters who know the place in our hometown that I would runaway to when I was a little girl or a moody middle school girl or a college student home for her first break.
Some people might find it disconcerting, that there is so much we will never know about the people who we claim to know best. But I find it exciting that there are so many things remaining to be discovered, so many little secrets that I know I will fall in love with someday.