Because he can sing all the same songs as you, but he never looks up halfway through and smiles at me. He doesn’t expect me to join at one chorus or another because that’s the way we’ve been doing it for years now. And sometimes I don’t want to sing. Sometimes I don’t want the pressure. Sometimes I just want to listen along. He’ll let me listen. He doesn’t make me sing.
Because at the end of the day, when he comes home and grabs a beer from the fridge, he doesn’t pause before opening it so he can hold me for a minute. He doesn’t tell me that coming home to me is the best part of his day. Sometimes I want to be ignored.
Because we’ve been seeing concerts together for years now and when we remember them, we smile and I laugh and ask who opened again. Because when we remember them, I remember the Mexican restaurant we ate at in Santa Barbara. I usually don’t remember how you wrapped your arms around me and whispered the lyrics to my favorite song in my ear. Sometimes I don’t want to remember. Sometimes I just want the music.
Because when we talk about college, we talk about the time we put Hershey’s syrup on our tongues and chased it with Peppermint Schnapps. Because he wouldn’t even know what I was talking about if I talked about hanging sheets from my ceiling to make the entire room a fort, where we hid for an entire weekend, writing songs and painting and rolling coffee cans around to make strawberry ice cream. Because I could teach him. Because I could make new memories with him all over again.
Because when I show up on his front steps at 8 am to tell him that I’m having another book published, he doesn’t lift me up off the ground in a shared sort of joy, in simultaneous elation. He doesn’t get dressed up with me and put on the radio and dance with me, holding my body close to his body. He doesn’t lay out a blanket on our cold, winter hardwood floor and open a bottle of wine, asking me about my dreams. He doesn’t tell me that I am his dream. He smiles and says, “Nice,” before spreading his arms wide and asking if I like the shirt he’s wearing.
Because he’s never going to promise me everything, and take it away.
Because he’s never going to promise me anything at all.