I love the way you stay. The way you see me through my mistakes and masks, through the moments I try to hide and the times I unveil the messiest parts of me. I love the way you aren’t running at the first signs of trouble, aren’t already calculating your escape. I love the way you look at me, meet me right where I am and say, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” And for the first time in my life, I believe those words.
I love the way you care. The way you laugh and pull me close to you when our voices get loud. The way you touch my face with a tenderness, even when you’re angry. The way the world seems to fade out of view, and damn, I never thought that was something that happened in real life—the cloudy, tunnel vision, the trance—only in movies, in dreams, and I have to pinch myself just to make sure.
I love the way you listen. The way you look me in the eyes. The way my words matter to you, even if they don’t quite make sense, are the same repeated phrases, or the silly ramblings of my mind at the end of a long day. You stand before me, eyes locked, and I’m distracted by the intensity—passion so powerful it’s tangible.
I love the way you love. The way you tell me I’m beautiful, but mean it. The way you reach for me in the middle of a sentence, of a crowded room, of a dinner just to have some contact, just to remind me you’re here. I love the way you whisper those three words in the loud, but also quiet moments, a promise, consistent and yet unexpected every time.
I love the way you open. The way you never hid your past from me, never shied away from the truth and was honest from the start. The way you didn’t drive a wedge between us, but created a bridge for us to cross over, to walk steadily across, to trust.
I love the way you continue. To show up, to be consistent, to be a part of the mess, the ever-changing story, constantly rewriting the outcome while keeping your role the same. I love how you found your way into the plot line, never erased what was or tried to dictate which chapters came next. I love how you allowed me to be the writer, but never let that lessen who you were, who we could be.
I love the way you believe. Wholeheartedly, without a doubt in your mind. Even when I stood timidly, even when the world threw obstacles in our path, still, you knew something it took me a long time to trust—when you know, you know. And I love how you knew, and were never afraid.
I love the way you chose me and didn’t waver. The way, in a world so temporary, so desperate to leave, you unconsciously and intentionally promised to stay.