1. Love

the easiest to feel, the hardest to express:

a wound healed only by your touch, by your smile; by your fingers brushing against my cheek, by your laugh; by your voice, by the songs you sing - a wound that tears my heart open, that makes me yours, yours, yours, a wound shaped like you in my chest

something that does not hurt, something that takes every feeling further than it went before, that deepens the looks you send my way, that diminishes the distance between us;

a happiness, blooming in my heart; peace, flourishing in my soul, something that quiets when you are near, and when you are far, an ache that yearns for you - all a part of love, all as sweet as your smile, as sweet as you.

love: a four letter word that holds all our secrets, all our happiness. it is the way grief wakes you in the night, it is the way i yearn to hold you, to gently remove the burdens on you and wear them myself, and wear them with pride.

i listen to the stories told in your voice and the stories told in your words and i marvel at how beautiful, how beautiful is this universe, which conspired to have you beside me, here, in this moment; and what a miracle it is that i have had these moments before and will have these moments after; i listen to the stories in your words and i think of the stories told by our heartbeat: a synchronized promise, a beat that sounds like yesterday, today, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

this is love, i think, when you are sick, holding back your hair and blinking away sleep, worrying, waiting; this is love, i think, lying awake, lying immersed in thoughts of you. love, i think, when my coworkers ask me why i'm late; love, i think, when the alarm rings in the morning and i turn it off and wrap my arm around you; love, i think, as i miss you desperately while you're at home, cuddled into your mother; love, i think, as i imagine you in our house - where you do not yet live but have already made a home - love, i think, as i am asked, again and again: "what sun shines from within you?"

i think of your smile, of your laugh, of your eyes, lighting up; i think of your beauty, of your hair, of your perfume, of your blush - i think that, perhaps, the world is not as bad as it likes to pretend. after all, you are in it. i think, you exist in this universe, you exist, you are here, in my arms, what else is left to want?

and after our fights, after we yell, after we cry, when we burn with anger and get our words out in ways we don't feel, it burns my throat and everything i said comes back to haunt me more than anything you said, and i call you again and again until we sort it out, until you fall asleep, and i stay up later, i stay up worrying, wondering if you slept with a smile, and if not, it was my fault, wasn't it?

that, too, is love, is its own kind of love: the sickening feeling of hurting you, the horror of knowing the pain i caused you, the desire to hold you until everything else fades away and there is only me and you, you and me

and then, slowly, you'll smile, i'll smile, and we'll apologize, and we snap back together, magnets, and i'll think: you are the sun, and i am forever in your orbit.

the days i spend with you are always the best days. this is love, i think, as you laugh at me, and your laughter makes me laugh at me, stuck halfway as i climb to reach you; this is love, i think, as you reach over and help me up. this is love, i think, when you hold my hand and talk slowly, gently, carefully, as i weep into your lap; this is love, i think, while you stroke my hair, while you comfort me, while you make my problems turn to dust.

sometimes it's hard, but it's life that's hard, not love, no, not love - that comes as easily to me as your smile when we're together. sometimes we trip on the little things, littering the way; the little things, like our jobs and our school and the ninety-one kilometres two hundred metres, one floor down and three floors up distance between my room and yours. they are nothing, compared to you; where three kilometres once felt too far, now ninety-one is nothing, nothing at all.

sometimes it's hard, and we fight over bigger things; other people, other plans, our plans; past mistakes and current mistakes and what will be future mistakes; sometimes you dig your nails into the flesh of my heart and rip, sometimes i drag your past back as though it is your shadow - but then i'll be there or you'll be here, zero metres away, right next to me, and the centimetres between our lips disappear and i'll tell you i'm yours and you'll tell me you're mine and everything else will fade, will disappear.

sometimes it's hard, but it's life that's hard, not love - we walk an unpaved road to our future, hand in hand, thorned roses greeting us. sometimes it rains and sometimes it shines, but it's our road. sometimes we trip, we fall, we hurt, but such is life. love is never difficult, it is as easy as breathing, as easy as your smiles, as easy as the way your hand fits in mine.

the sky is ours, and the sea is ours, and this earth is ours; we will build a home out of all that life gives and takes. it's life that's hard, not love, and we're in love, so full of it, so full of love that there isn't room for anything else.