I will try to fall asleep with my back turned towards you. As I begin to really nod off, I will shift to face you. And I will sleep with my head buried into your neck, where the rough graze of your chin softens into smoothness. I will rest my legs under yours and create a womb-like negative space between us. Some nights, I will sleep with my face pressed against yours, but each night, I will grab your hand.
You will know when I’ve finally fallen asleep because I will always squeeze your fingers right before I do. And you will whisper, “Shhh, baby, relax” so that, even in my subconscious, I will know that you are there.
I will drink coffee in the morning, black and iced and as strong as I can stand it. I will make fun of you if you drink anything else — especially if you make a face before adding two and a half packets of cream. But I will kiss away any annoyance my teasing might invoke.
You will learn the titles of my favorite books. You will learn the melodies of the musicians I play almost everyday — the David Bowie that gets me up in the morning, the Damien Jurado that lulls me to sleep, and the Neutral Milk Hotel that I play only when I am sad. You will watch my favorite movies with me; eventually, you’ll learn to appreciate my strange fondness for films that seem like anachronisms, where the shots are black-and-white grainy and the actors speak with funny accents.
For me, each of these interests is like a well-worn blanket, warm and inviting no matter how times I immerse myself in it. And you will drape it over yourself so we can cocoon together.
We will go to restaurants for dinner — you will insist. But I will have a hard time choosing what to order, so I will almost always defer to you. You will try to make me decide, but that will only stress me out, so you will take hold of my indecisiveness and hand me a glass of wine, white as I like.
You will not understand why I can eat peanut butter straight out of the jar or how I can go through several jars a week but why I only drink diet soda.
You will tell me that I am self-conscious — so self-conscious — for no good reason. You will run your fingers over every surface of my body. You will kiss all of the spots that I hate. And you will tell me I am beautiful. When I only occasionally believe you, you will become frustrated.
You will grow insecure about the amount of time I spend with my friends or the extent to which I let guys — in bars, at parties, in the street — hit on me. You will feel as though your love and your attraction to me is not enough, but I will do my best to show you that isn’t true.
Soon, I will stop wearing make-up around you — make-up I painstakingly learned to apply from friends who raved about all that mascara and lipstick and eyeliner could do for me. I will swap my tight dresses and expensive shirts for your tattered button-downs and warm sweatshirts. I will let you play with my hair, even though you always muss it into tangles and even though I can’t stand it when other people touch my hair — you’ll understand because I’ll explain why to you.
I will let you cook for me. I will drink with you. And I won’t count calories or worry about the size of my thighs. I won’t wonder when I will have the time to go back to the gym. I will learn to love beer (or at least pretend) because you love beer. You will learn to eat tofu, and you will begin to search for vegetarian recipes we can make together.
We will turn off our phones and spend whole days in bed, and our friends will grow upset when they can’t reach us, but we will tuck ourselves away because only minutia exists elsewhere.
And you will discover the shape of my body in its entirety. You will learn to nuzzle your face into the groove underneath my left shoulder blade. You will memorize the way my lips move, my taste, and the distinctive smell of my shampoo.
You will always let me sleep on the right side of the bed.
I will have a difficult time breaking down the near impenetrable wall I have spent years erecting around myself — even for you. I will hide parts of myself from you — my body, my psyche. I will create this image of myself I want you to believe, but at some point, I will let it slip.
As I grow more comfortable with you. And if you let me, I will inevitably grow more comfortable with you.
But eventually, I will begin to pull away. I am and will be spontaneous and impulsive — to a fault. Sometimes.
And I will retreat as soon as you start to make me feel stifled. You will make me feel stifled. I will not know how to function when I begin to feel too secure because most of what I have ever known is insecurity. And I will mess up. Many, many times.
You will be sad, and you will be angry. I will do and say things that make you upset — sometimes without realizing it and sometimes because I do.
Like everything else that is good, we will be flawed. We will fall apart more quickly than we came together. All flawed things fall apart, but all things fall apart.
And still, we will leave traces of ourselves on one another that neither us will be able to erase — that is just the nature of how these things go.