I know I love you because it stresses me out when you’re hungry.
Do you have any idea how many times I forget to eat breakfast? How many nights I stay up frantically penning a project until my appetite twists into a ball inside my stomach? But these rules do not apply to you. You, I want warm and well-rested and fed, because those things seem to matter more.
It matters that your coat isn’t warm enough. That your coffee wasn’t big enough. That you forgot to eat breakfast for the third time this week or that you didn’t get enough sleep before work this morning. Your general needs and discomforts grate on my consciousness and I think I’ve finally figured out why.
I know I love you because when I’m with you, the whole world goes quiet.
Do you understand how rarely that happens to me? How many times I have sat in a psychologist’s chair begging for Ritalin because the lights are always shining too brightly and the hallway’s always creaking too loudly and my mind is always jumping from place to wholly unrelated place?
Do you have any idea how unusual it is for all of that to stop? For my senses to simmer and my mind to settle simply into actual time and space? But that’s what it does when I’m with you – when I can feel your hand resting on mine or when your breath is keeping rhythm against my neck. I know I love you because you make my mind stop its desperate attempts to escape. With you, the present simply feels like enough.
I know I love you because I’m not repulsed by your vices.
Because I don’t mind the clothing you leave on the floor or the words that you pronounce incorrectly or the pleasantries you sometimes pass up.
I like the strange face you make when you’re concentrating. The way you’re still figuring things out. I like that you sometimes spend impulsively, sometimes get McDonalds for lunch. I like that you’re human, not perfect, because it gives me the space to be a little bit imperfect, too.
I know I love you because I do not need to think about you constantly.
There is no over-analyzing text messages, no re-running conversations in my mind, no need to dissect and re-dissect all the moments that we spend around each other.
I know I love you because I’m comfortable with what we are to each other. It doesn’t have to be heading in a certain direction. Moving at a specific pace. Looking a certain way to outsiders, or even to ourselves. I want you around. You want to be around me. And it’s as simple and as wonderful as that.
I know I love you because you make me want to be selfless.
Do you have any idea how unnatural that is to me? I do not suffer from martyrdom or savior complexes. I have no problem catering to my own needs above everyone else’s, except for when it comes to you.
You make me want to prioritize you. You make me want to drive ten miles out of my way, cancel my plans for the evening, pick out gifts and send you text messages, just to remind you that you matter. You make me want to do the little things without having to think twice about doing them. Because I’m not faking my affection around you. Because it’s right there on the surface, and I want it to be.
I know I love you, because I just do.
Because with everyone before you, I’ve had to talk myself in and back out. I’ve had to make ‘pro’ and ‘con’ lists, justify their behaviors to oblivion, analyze what it is that I am really looking for, squint to figure out if we match up.
But with you, the feeling’s simple. It’s obvious. It’s an undercurrent, wiping out each doubt and second-guess that it encounters. I know I love you in the simplest, most uncomplicated fashion.
In the same way that I know you love me, too.