Love's Square Footage: Some Vignettes

the moments my love for you took greatest residence of, in no particular order

couple

1.

i saw our symmetry in the grease monkey, and i couldn't help but find it funny. i got your shoulder wet, and our faces looked teary and flushed in your car window. behind it, you had packed away the pieces of me that i couldn't hide into the boxes you called home. bring them back to me whole, please?

why didn't anyone come up and ask if we needed an oil change? i wanted them to, so we could change this goodbye into a comedy routine, but i think the shape of us blended together with the street noise. we were moving and languid with the cars, our bodies all headlights.

my brights are still on. i make mirages in the dark looking for yours. i send you morse code. remember to blink back to me. i'm afraid i won't be able to feel you from so far away otherwise.

2.

the winding mountain roads held our enormity. i clutched your hand in my lap while you drove, curling your fingertips into my own like we were making dough together.

i thought of how babies make tiny fists when they hold onto someone. they are unapologetic and decisive with their love. they do it with their eyes shut closed because they don't need to see something to believe it to be true. this was what i meant to say when i kept telling you i liked your hands. it makes sense, holding you like this, because with you, i am fresh and reborn. 

in that car, i felt how our love rose the peaks up like atlas. the gods were not above the clouds like everyone thought. i knew them to be here, living where the earth had uprooted itself and bared its body to us in a holy kind of streaking. 

the mountains were our witnesses, but i don’t know if they would testify. they heard what cannot be explained. what was made quiet but deafening when we stripped our hearts down for one another to look at and feel. 

together, we move those hills. we carry them in the shape of our hands. we bring them home.

 

Anna Schultz-Looking Out Window Road Trip

3. 

i think i love you. the words were molded in your face before you said it. i watched you turn our fading smiles and laughter into memory, and then—it was in your teary eyes and the twinkling lights, in the way your back arched so you could really get a look at me, in your clear and cut voice, in the pinball you played between our eyes, and in the mouth that came down swift on mine like it had been waiting for the green light.

you were brave enough to say it, so i was brave enough to let the qualifier go. i don't think i love you. i just know it.

 

4. 

sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

laying on my yoga mat, kept safe by the sweet smell of lavender, i sobbed quietly. our teacher had repeated the mantra throughout class, telling us to hold our small thing in our hearts, in our hips, and in our hands as we stretched. as soon as she said it, i knew your smile was mine.

the room tasted like salt. our bodies had slowly let go, and it was my heart's turn to do the same. loving you gave me lungs. i breathed through it, a kind of give-and-take as easy as air and ocean and sun and sky. i used those lungs to cry for you until my head hurt and i was the last person holding the room together. 

i cried because i knew i didn't just love your smile. i loved all of you—and, if one smile needed that much square footage, it meant that the rest of you had grown to take up so much more room than i thought. how would i ever convey this to you?

i would never be able to. you would never know.

my love can't be put into words. but i promised myself that i would try. this is my best attempt. it won't be enough, but that's okay.

silhouette of woman doing yoga pose  

5.

we don't have a lot of similarities, except for this glaring one: we are both terrible at goodbyes.

like: when you took me home. if you drove, you drove slower. if we walked, you walked slower. we took the long ways coming back, sometimes because of black cats that gave you the spooks and sometimes for no reason at all. more often than not, you came inside without words. if the night rained or snowed or did nothing but breathe, i drove you back. we sat in the car too long. the cycle never ended.

like: when you kidnapped me. for 7/11 runs, for milkshakes, for watermelon-flavored gum. spoils in hand, we drove to streets with no cars along it. we talked in the backseat, and then we did a little more than talk. you always meant to drive me back, but we filled another dead end street—closer, this time, to my dorm. we found ourselves circling back to your bed. i liked when you kidnapped me there best.

like: in the circle outside your building, you lingered in my passenger seat. we sat in the dark, headlights off. we spoke softly to one another. the night was a private thing, and the dark crackled and sparked before us. you thought about what we could do with more hours in our night, and then—you caved. i was sure i would never love you more than i did then. i parked. we went inside together. 

at the grease monkey, i told you that you had to go first. from our short and long history, i knew that when given the choice, i would never leave. 

6.

i knew what you meant when you asked me to come in. i love that we pretended, though, that it was innocent. we wanted without wanting it, said without saying it. it was kiddish, dancing that light-footed. were you afraid? as soon as the door closed around us, made a cave out of your room, i knew that i had come to the point of no return.

maybe you weren't scared. you never seemed like it. i can admit this, though: i was afraid. i wanted you, but i was worried what would make you stay was more than my body could give.

here is what i remember from the movie we watched: it had dolphins, cute ones. i think they were in the opening credits. my mind was swimming too much to catch anything after that. you were playing with the threaded part of my sweater, and my face was flushed with the feel of you staring straight at me. you didn't pretend, not even a little, that it was the movie you were looking at. i loved you for that, the boldness of it. you traced the line between us, and it went sweater, skin, and then eyes. i looked back at you, and it sent me going, going, gone. your mouth found mine like it was meant to be there. 

there was a grace to our movements: the shifting towards one another, the lowering down to the bed, the unclothing, the winding together of kisses with soft skin. you were delicate. 

i learned to trust you when the time came to say no, and you looked at me just the same. you threw out my fear like it had no business being there. 

earlier, while putting honey in your tea, you lit up and exclaimed how amazing the mechanism of gravity was. you were a dork like that. but i got it, then, when i surrendered to yours.

Tea Bag In Mug Moody

7.

there's more i need to remember but am failing to. time can't help but collapse into forgetting. here are the tiny details i have kept, though: the music was always dreamy. it swirled around us and throbbed through the walls.

your fingers liked to run across my skin like i was made out of string and paper, like you were drawing across my skeleton. it gave me goosebumps because your touch was murderous. when my clothes were laid out like a crime scene, i wanted to commit another with you.

in car rides home, you babbled away. i learned that when you get tired, your thoughts floor it. your eyes get squinty, too, and your hands are always reaching for your hair.