The cruelty and torture had whittled away at me for decades, like a slow erosion, breaking me down until I was nothing. Novels of redeeming love brought endless tears to my eyes; films filled with happy endings made me want to die. I yearned to see these types of serendipities just once with my own eyes. My skin craved to be touched without condition, without selfish purpose.
My reality was the polar opposite, an enigma that left me cold and cowardly. My entire being was soiled, covered in the filth of what others claimed was love. The images flashed before my eyes, endlessly played on repeat. The delusions consumed me, the hopelessness of love.
Yet, just as I had all but ended my existence and cashed in on my losses, there you were. You didn’t merely enter my orbit, you penetrated the walls and made a home right inside my heart.
You embraced my flaws, accepted my shortcomings, validated the storm of my emotions. In you, I instantly felt different, visible, redeemed. Instead of tearing me down, you built me up. Instead of taking advantage, you provided. Instead of starving my soul, you nourished it. It was like I watched you tear the contract of conditions apart, as if you were somehow pure enough to wash away all of the chicaneries of my past, as if you could somehow cleanse my impure soul.
You have shown me that love didn’t end at sunrise, nor did it begin in darkness. With you, love wasn’t apologies, nor was it accusations and condemnation. Our love has never revolved around conditions, restrictions, or debts that required repayment. You love me on the lows just as much as in the highs. You love me 24-7-365, just as it should be.
I’m never background noise with you, never behind the rest. You literally tell me, “You are never ‘second’ to me.” Your victories are mine; my losses are yours, too. You are the yin to my yang, the Mia to my Lilly. Connected at the hip, tied together at the knee, together you and me will always, always be.
I’ve struggled to find the words at times to express all that you mean to me, all that you do for me each and every single day. When you comfort me, I feel calm. When you break out the puns, I giggle and even snort. Every time you speak, I cannot help but listen; every time you smile, I find myself grinning from ear to ear. The words envelop my body as my heart swells every time you remind me: “This is how you should be loved.”
So, thank you. Thank you for teaching me what love is.