What I’ve Learned About Love So Far: It Redefines Time

 

I was sitting on the grass watching the boats find their home on the Hudson River on an unusually warm April day last year. Next to me there were two little boys playing with sticks and in my ears played David Ramirez’s “Bad Days.”

I wrote an essay that afternoon. I started it on that patch of grass, finished it on the bus ride home. As the bus made its way up Riverside and the numbers on the streets grew, I thought about how I’d feel when I found the kind of love that I was writing about.

Would I really appreciate the bad days? Would it make me love him more knowing that we could get through them?

At that point, I hadn’t met the right him. ‘He’ was just a character in my mind — a hodgepodge of all the faces I’d walked by in New York, the ones who’d bored me over dinner and the ones who were wrong for me (and to me) because they weren’t him. Because they couldn’t see me for who I was.

The character in my mind was at my will. On paper he would come to life in any way that I wanted him too. When I listened to “Bad Days” he was the one who would hold my hand while the tears came down.

It’s June, a year later, and the hands I find home in belong to a man I could have never written. He stands tall and brave, a hero in his own right. When we have bad days, he doesn’t limit himself to just holding my hand while the tears come down, he acts. He trips and stumbles over words because he knows I need them and even if they cost him more to get out than he would have thought, he’ll do it, for me.

And as I sit there, legs crossed, on a comforter we bought him at Target, I’m pulled into his multitudes and singularity. Into his strength and the helplessness he feels when met with my tears, my bad days.

I trace his hand often, his fingers tell stories of a man who knows his way around art and when he looks at me, I know he sees me — a mix of Fearless Girl and open heart.

He reminds me to breathe and when I can’t do it on my own, he pulls me against his lips and breaths for me.

I haven’t listened to “Bad Days” in a while, right now my song of choice is Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires.”

Isbell tells the story of a marriage, a life, lived together. Of moments that come in and out of existence without pause, of two people who stand among those moments. Holding on to each other, knowing that its the other that they’ll always have to hold on to.

I’m in a party of two, forever now. He stands next to me, with his arm around my shoulder the way he likes to, with my arm around his waist, the way I like it.

And when I rest my head on his shoulder and think of this song, I wonder how Isbell felt writing the line “maybe we’ll get 4o years together,” because every time I hear it, I tear up.

The notion of a moment without him makes me hold on tighter, inhale him deeper. I want a lifetime and somehow a lifetime seems too short.

Fall in love and 40 years suddenly seems like a second in time.

When the tears threaten to spill over, I beat it with a smile because it’s June, a year later, and I’m far ways away from the girl who wrote about “Bad Days.” Now, I live through them, with a man who lends me his shoulder. Now, the good days eclipse all the bad. With a smile that teaches me that words can be silently communicated, I look into hazel eyes that remind me of the space he takes up.

He leaves no room for creating characters in my mind — reality is too good.