If I was fishing for something here, I’d be talking to the “reel” you.

This time last year, it was all too easy. Sprinkling a dusting of anecdotal references upon a mound of romantic sentiment. Flowery, evocative language to form a picture larger than life. Letting you know how you lifted me, that my toes forgot how the cold, firm ground felt. My love as light, wonder, transcendent and immaterial. My emotions flowing freely towards you. Not pushed, but longing, yearning to be as one with your skin, your heart, your mind. All of the above without a hint of irony. Total sincerity and earnestness, love being the transformational force that it is. Easy, direct and true.

This year it’s not so simple to fall back on fancy and wonder. Not because anything is lacking, but because it became real.

I remember thinking of you as someone plucked out of dreams. That wouldn’t do. Dreams fade with waking. This time around, you’re much more realised. Ill content with the domain of reverie, you’re still there when the dreams fade. You’re the first thing I see when I rise and the last thing I see before falling back to sleep. Feeling your warmth beside me. Hearing your breathing gradually slow. Feeling those silly little twitches your body makes as you drift off. It makes me feel at peace. Safe. Loved.

In the morning after running through my morning routine, I slide back in bed with you. We snuggle, chat and joke. It could be five minutes or fifteen. If you’re too tired, it could be no more than an “I love you” before slipping out the door. Then each and every night before we go to sleep, we look into each other’s eyes. It doesn’t matter how we’re feeling. Every night it’s the last thing we do. We never go to bed angry, because we don’t go to bed until we’ve talked things through. We don’t fight, but that doesn’t mean we never disagree. It doesn’t mean we have no conflict, but you’ve taught me how to use my words. You’re the most emotionally honest and true person I’ve met. Looking into your eyes before the light goes out is my favourite part of every day and I hope we never stop.

Despite my hesitations, you assured me that living together would be the right step. You allayed my fears of lost independence, of being stuck in a situation I couldn’t get out of and I haven’t regretted a single day. You made things real, in a way that fancy and wonder couldn’t touch. This past year hasn’t always been easy. Neither of us are perfect, but time after time we’ve made it work. The gaps in our fears and insecurities fit together as neatly as our bodies do. We both face different struggles and use this to lift each other. We share the burdens as we share our lives. We’re there for each other because we want to be and I for one can’t imagine a life where I wouldn’t.

I love you. The real you. The you that few get to meet. I wouldn’t trade her for any other.

I love you Lioness. Happy anniversary.

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