It’s not you, it’s me. I think, as I watch the wind blow slits of sunlight through the big pine tree in my backyard. You love me in all the right ways: the hand-holding, the forehead kisses, the tenderness, the love that fills me. But you suck at all the other boy things, like taking me on dates or cleaning your room.
But it’s not you, it’s me. It’s the way I can’t stop wishing for things I don’t have, the way my life feels like an open road or a blank canvas and I’m the only one with shoes, with a pen. It’s not the way you make me laugh, it’s the way I want to spend every minute discovering what makes me laugh. It’s not the way you make me smile, it’s how I want to learn what else makes me smile, learn what the world has to offer beyond the borders of this house, of this town, of this state.
It is a Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting in my backyard on a beach towel in a sweatshirt and sweatpants. This is the first weekend that feels like fall. I desperately want to take off my layers and feel the sun on my skin, but the breeze is too cold. So I sit and watch the wind bend the tree branches, watch the sun tint the grass a bright lime, watch the bees buzz around the little white-flowered weeds and contemplate whether or not I am happy.
You. You are someone who makes me crazy, who makes me feel important, who makes me feel special. But all I care about is whether I feel those things about myself. I close my eyes and imagine myself places—concerts, working my dream job, living in a beautifully-decorated apartment in the heart of a pulsing city—in each of those scenarios, I am alone.
It’s not you, it’s me. It’s the fact that I want more than these days, these weekends. It’s the fact that my dreams are too big. But it is not me. It’s the way I deserve dinner dates and movie nights at the theatre where you’ll dress up in jeans. It’s the star-gazing night you promised, the bike ride we still haven’t taken, the board games and the coloring and the things I’ve wished for and been too disappointed to ask for again. It’s afternoons in the September sun, holding the last slivers of summer close to our chests while talking about our futures, eating homemade pizza, and kissing tomato sauce of each other’s fingers.
Maybe it’s not me at all. On this little towel, with the sun warming my face and bare toes, I feel whole. I want you to love me like that sun, soothing but constant. Something I notice, even with a sweatshirt and sweatpants. Something I need. Something there when I need it. Something I crave. Something that fills me. And something that when I close my eyes, is still there. Still returns morning after morning and wherever I wander, however I change, still warms my face and my toes the same.