When your boyfriend has a wife, love looks like a 1960s rom-com movie without the predictable happy ending. It looks like Audrey Hepburn with the black dress, the cigarette, the tiara. Like half-baked metaphors left to decompose in the humid air.
This kind of love looks almost exactly like selfish, but then again what is selfish supposed to look like? A freshly cleaned shower stall? A musty blue couch? A makeshift office table? A straw-sewn hammock? A crisp-white blanket neatly folded on a motel bed?
Or does it look like the fire tattoo on my arm? Or my best friend’s mascara smearing at the corner of her eyes when she begs me not to call you, but I do, still?
When your boyfriend has a wife, love looks like the children’s photo that’s the wallpaper on his phone. Looks like the delete button on a messenger app. The inside of a confession box. Your favorite lingerie store. His rust-stained working hands.
Love looks like a lipstick-painted smile on your face that feels as though belongs to someone else.
It looks almost exactly like your mother’s love – existing, yet distant and unattainable. Like when you could hear her screaming at your father, wedding ring bouncing across the floor.
. . .
When your boyfriend has a wife, the stars seem like they’re shining elsewhere. Certainly not over this house with the windows boarded up. Certainly not over your sticky bodies when he’s rubbing you with the scent of her.
Here, love looks like all the galaxies in the universe crammed into your gut. Here, love looks like a book unfinished. Here, love looks like a poem you didn’t intend to write.
When your boyfriend has a wife, love looks like everything and nothing at the same time.