On a fledgling romance (or an open love letter to my partner)

The highlight of the past year has been you, Mackenzi, and I want to put into written word the reasons why. I will fall short and I will look back on this letter with regret for phrases I could have added or words that I would excise. Regardless, I will bring a dictionary to the world of feelings and love.

Thursday’s full moon marks the 9mo mark since our first romantic encounter (or nine and a half moons, as you know I prefer to measure time this way). The first few months were a careful poking and prodding of each other, when we were as equally unsure of our own footing as the other’s. Afraid to talk about the future because it might deflate our baking and carefully inflating souffle.

Your presence lights up a room. Your laugh forces a smile on my face, no matter my mood. You make any hardship easier to bear, even when you sass me and I deserve it. I don’t think you know how much strength you give me and how much courage you instill. I am humbled by your dedication to our future. I don’t feel I deserve it, though I will try to prove myself otherwise.

I have great difficulty removing myself from the equation, especially when talking about you. I know you sometimes feel like a sidekick, not a partner. Much of that stems from my loneliness in the middle of things. I feel, acutely, the attention of others and have never enjoyed someone with which to share the spotlight and to later escape into the wild, away from it all.

I’ve never known, much less felt, a deeply complementary relationship with another human before you. I have the wacky ideas; you help me find a middle ground for compromise. You look for the shades of gray; I find the binary aspects. I bring the anarchy; you round off my edges. You bring the kitchen to life; I can appease the computer goblins.

Sometimes, I wonder what those around us think. Do they see two opposites attracting? Do they think I’m the lucky one, or that you are? Or are we two dirty hippies that will be wed under the summer solstice moon by a pagan druid? Whatever they think, it doesn’t affect our future and how we relate to each other.

You have proven yourself, time and time again, as the fiercest and most capable partner. Not only my #1 pick for a zombie apocalypse team, but also my favored world repopulation partner, as I know we’ll make some stunning halfie babies and teach them essential complementary skills. You appreciate that I can eyeball a cord of wood; I admire that you will teach me how to wield a chainsaw.

I look forward to our future. I know it will challenge us in ways we cannot imagine. I know it will attempt to divide us, with all its cunning and might. And I know it will fail: our passions may rise and subside, but our devotion to each other and to our shared vision grows stronger and closer with each passing moon.

I imagine two proud, strong oaks that have endured much in a field on their own. They create shade for passing travelers, weather pummeling winds, and persevere through crippling drought. And, by some karmic luck, I see these broad-limbed giants moving closer, drawn by a gravity that supersedes reason and logic. As they approach one another over the seasons, they accept the coverage of the other and bear weight in return. Sometimes creaking and groaning under the new strain, sometimes sighing in deep and profound relief.

Their paired strength and glory doesn’t reside in a complete fusion of their trunks, to mirror one another in redundant partnership: the space between them, the loving area that they cover and protect, marks the true important. We have an opportunity to tend a small garden between us that will grow into something lovely and ours. Perhaps a roost for some chickens, or a smattering of herbs and flowers wildly arranged, or maybe some happy apes will pull a slack line to join us together.

The more we settle into our rhythm, the dance between the two of us, the easier life becomes. The obstacles of the everyday resolve into simple hurdles with a clear end in sight: our next embrace. We’ve already experienced much weirdness, between our cross-country journeys, Sharon the Turk, the festival trips, and pooping in close proximity.

With you, I look forward to the future.

I love you, Mackenzi.

Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

16 thoughts on “On a fledgling romance (or an open love letter to my partner)

  1. A reply

    You wrote a dictionary – I hope the words I’ve gleaned from therein will suffice. They will never fully encapsulate, never truly convey.

    Of course not: they could never. There aren’t enough. Or maybe there aren’t the right ones. Or maybe I just don’t know them yet – there is still so much to learn.

    What I think I am trying to say is that this will never capture what I am trying to say.

    What I am trying to say is that I love you.

    But I love you is such a short, little thing. These are the umpteenth-spoken words, the if-I-can-overuse-them-I-have words. I want to give them life and body. Something like your life, your body. I would need to distill them with vibrancy, with calm, with expectancy. I would need to imbue them with so many things – because you are so, so many things.

    If I am to give meaning to the simple phrase, I think I must first define you.

    Sometimes, I find I must define you by our borders. I define you by where your lines meet mine. Sometimes I must think in this way because otherwise it blurs.

    Lying on your chest, breathing you in, I have felt the fuzziness set in. My mind dismantles our edges. Alone, with-without-you, I have walked into the darkness beyond and between. Together, we have delved into the strangeness contained by those hard-soft lines.

    Then, like careful prospectors, we issued forth with our motherlode. We arranged the treasure we had collected and curated and ceaselessly guarded for the other’s judicious eye.

    With much to-do, we passed our holdings between ourselves. We watched with bated breath – knowing worth is in the eye of the beholder – as they handled our contents knowingly. They tremblingly accepted even the simplest of trinkets we produced. They held it to the light while we watched, bewildered, as it improbably gleamed in this improbable inspector’s hands.

    For this is the barterer we did not know we needed. Someway, somehow, they have made an offer that is hard to refuse. Their hands and body and words are painted by the work they have done in discovering our treasure. These trappings belie the worth of the barterer. They guarantee our investment in them.

    And so we parted with that within ourselves. We found that we can only really relax when it is secured safely within the other. And suddenly, the only offer worthy of acceptance became clear: an even, ever-always exchange. My treasure for yours – my treasure is yours – within you, furthering the fuzziness, the discontinuity of our lines.

    So, sometimes, I must rely on the lines to define you. Because sometimes the treasure I have found within you is overwhelming in its brilliance. Because sometimes, when I am alone with my thoughts, I discover a oneness that surpasses memory and defies reason. Because sometimes the overwhelming connection I feel to you can only be surmised in conjuring images of nature at her most powerful: of high tides, ancient stone, of storms – but somehow more tangible, somehow more consumptive. Because all of the time you are in all of the corners of the universe and all of its contents

    So I will define you by lines, by what I know to be hard and fast and true.

    You are your meat suit: capable of wiggly weirdness and stillness in turn, capable of holding and working and dancing and dreaming and doing.

    You are a day’s fast and dinner at nine o’clock at night.

    You are a walk on the slackline, the play, the first and last steps, the jumps, jolts, and bounces.

    You are coconut-smelling hair – or the velvety prickliness of no-hair.

    You are a jimjilbang and too-much, too-good Korean food.

    You are a deep belly laugh.

    You are grounding in the middle of a busy day.

    You are the deep breath you take when you’re talking and you have so much more to say.

    You are patience.

    You are an enduring love for all things sax.

    You are a walking stick and barefoot walks with fences hopped.

    You are your eyes – mottled amber in sun, deep, dark brown in anything but, sparkling regardless.

    You are tapestry bundles.

    You are the only apartment dweller with a float tent (guaranteed).

    You are coffee every morning – and the headache on days that the alarm clock went unheeded.

    You are impulse Kickstarter buys.

    You are an orchestra of digeridoo, gong, and singing bowels.

    You are your wanderings on foot and on paper.

    You are a handkerchief bath and tropical rain-showers.

    You are squirrely.

    You are the greatest purveyor of undeserved chocolate and ice cream.

    You are folk music playlists.

    You are your words written, your voice recorded, your thoughts projected.

    You are in awe of the moon in all of her feminine glory.

    You are the ink etched into your skin.

    You are the coolest, most refreshing spring water.

    You are one of my tribe.

    The moment I met you, I knew. Falling in love with you was easy because I already loved you, I had loved you for as long as the atoms that compose me had been.

    You are that love and the love that I look forward to cultivating as time unfurls our lives.

    You are the slow, steady conversation towards a homestead and bed.

    You are the father of my unborn children.

    You are my partner – today and tomorrow – and you are home.

    Your lines against mine, definite as the love, the respect, the hope I have for you, now help to define me and our future. Our shared treasure, luminous in our earnestness and enthusiasm for life and love and one another, can only continue to grow.

    For living and loving, for sharing your lines and everything within and beyond them, I thank you.

    I love you.

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