I Knew What I Had When I Had You

I don’t know much about politics. I know hardly anything about the economy and I don’t know how to change a tire on a car. I don’t know how to hold my liquor, I need a calculator to determine the tip, and I don’t know why the caged bird sings. But I know that when you bite your lower lip to try to withhold a smile and pick at your forehead while staring at your computer screen, you’re about to say something witty and subtly judgmental about your ex, or about the girl you went to elementary school with who posted a picture of the sonogram from her third pregnancy.

I know that your smile is a campfire, and I’m the marshmallow that you rotate next to the hot coal to get it consistently and evenly golden brown. And soon my insides turn to mush. That’s what your smile does to me.

I don’t know good wine from cheap wine, light from dark roast, Coke from Pepsi. But I know that your love gives me goose bumps. Like the chorus of that song that comes on my Pandora that I never catch the name of. Like that perfect bite of lamb pasanda from the Indian place on the parkway that I can finally afford now that I got my last paycheck. Like seeing a trailer for The Fault in Our Stars on one of the TVs while on the elliptical at the gym and feeling the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

I never know any of the retail prices on The Price Is Right — I’m constantly over-bidding. I don’t know why gas prices keep rising, or how traffic is even a thing. But I know that it takes you at least four attempts to tie your tie so it’s at the perfect length, and that you don’t change your contact solution for weeks at a time, so at least three times a day I can expect to hear that you have something in your eye.

There’s something purely fulfilling about having answers that you had to work for, that you could simply only learn from experience. There’s something so thrilling about searching for them, something so laughable about receiving answers that only lead to more questions. And maybe I don’t have the answers for much — maybe I don’t have answers to facts, to trivia, to Family Feud at a downtown bar on Saturday nights. But I have the answers to you.

Maybe I haven’t yet mastered chemistry, or biology, or cooking. But you are the one thing that I get.

These things that I know about you, they’re not things that are ever going to stop being true or that I will ever stop knowing. Somewhere, some time, your smile is going to turn someone else’s insides to mush. But this someone somewhere is going to roll their eyes and tell you to just get a friggin’ bow tie, because perhaps they won’t find it endearing always showing up to functions late. They’re going to get jealous when you make judgmental comments about your ex’s Facebook statuses. This someone is going to tell you to change the TV back, without allowing you the opportunity to do so of your own volition. This someone is going to change your contact solution without your knowledge or approval, and they won’t run their finger over the hairs on your knuckles, because to them, they’re just hairs on your knuckles.

Your love is an equation, a formula, a recipe, a theory, a philosophy that makes total and complete sense to me. Loving you is so black and white to me. There’s no middle ground. There’s no kind of loving you. There’s no sort of being infatuated with your face, and your eyes, and the blonde hairs on your knuckles.

I knew what I had when I had you.

And I knew that if ever I were to wake up without your morning breath, or use the shower after you had already used up all the hot water, or cook (okay, order in) for just one, I would be in a world of hurt. I knew that if ever I weren’t looking through your thick-rimmed glasses into your eyes, or feeling your stubble on my chin, or your hands on my chest, or your hands on my neck, and then back on my chest, and then down to my hips, it would be a world in which I had no right, no desire, to continue existing.

I knew all that by looking at you. And I hope that maybe, you knew that, too. TC mark

featured image – Emily Laurel

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