You sit next to me on the couch. I rest my head on your shoulder, listen as you tell me secrets from your past. I watch the expression flicker across your face—fear, nervousness, passion, calm. Your mind is spinning, worried that with every confession, every story, ever sliver of memory you reveal, I’ll pull away.
But what you don’t understand is that you’re only bringing me closer.
The world is quiet. I can hear the wind floating lazily through the trees, a neighbor shuffling on his front patio putting out a cigarette, the honk of a faraway car switching lanes. I feel your heartbeat through your shirt, deep and in rhythm with mine. I absentmindedly twirl your fingers between mine, feel the softness of your skin, the callouses, the scars.
You speak to me and it’s like time stops.
Suddenly there is no space between us, no physical distance, no years that have passed so quickly I can hardly catch my breath. You confide in me as if I’m someone important, as if the connection we have is to be treasured, and with every word that slips past your lips I start to believe a little more in us. In who we could be.
You look at me nervously and I can tell you’re scared. You’re scared of the words I haven’t yet spoken, of the thoughts rolling around in my mind. You’re scared I’m thinking of all the ways I could leave you, run like hell in the opposite direction as soon as you close your eyes. You’re scared I’ve already plotted my escape, and that this entire time I’ve been curled up, leaning on your shoulder, I’ve been wishing to be anywhere else.
But not one of your doubts are real.
Because the more you speak the more closely tied to you I become. The more you reveal, the more I want to know. The more you let me in, the more I want to pull you closer. Until there is no space between us; until we are one.
You speak, and I’m lost in your words, in your world. The way you look me in the eyes, the nervous way you play with your hands, the tensing of your shoulders as you tell me something I might not want to hear—so innocent, so vulnerable.
You’re honest, maybe to a fault, but I hang onto every syllable. You let me discover who you are beyond the surface; you make me believe, that yes, you are in this for real.
And without a doubt, I am too.
I close my eyes and listen. And as I lay next to you, I realize how much there is to love about you. The way you laugh and the act lights up your face. The way you do things for me without me asking, or without me even knowing I need them. The way you hold me, kiss me, make me see myself in a new, beautiful light. The person you are. The way you live and fight and care for who and what’s around you.
But of all those things to love about you, I love your openness the most.
I love that you’re not afraid to let me in, to talk to me, to be emotional and vulnerable and raw and real. I love that you put aside your doubts and trust me, that you give me a chance to love you, really love you, even where it hurts.
I love that you talk to me, that you stay up and tell me stories about a past you’ve kept hidden for so long even though you know there’s a chance it might push me away.
It won’t, I promise.
I love that you communicate. That you tell me what you’re feeling and how much you care. That you aren’t afraid to be forthcoming about your pain or fear. That you’re able to pull me closer, even when it’s hard to fall for someone in a world that’s so guarded.
I love your openness. How you can sit next to me on a couch, the world spinning around us, and speak the words on your heart.
I want you to know I’m listening. I care. I’m here.
And I value you, beyond measure.