I knew exactly what Love looked like in 7th grade
Even though I hadn’t met Love yet, if Love had wandered into my home room I would have recognized him at first glance – Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would have recognized her at first glance – Love wore a tight French braid.
Love played acoustic guitar, and knew all my favorite Beatles’ songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew I just must be searching the wrong class room, just must be checking the wrong hallway.
She was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him.
But when Love finally showed up – she had a bull cut!
He wore the same clothes everyday for a week.
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about the Beatles.
Instead, every time I tried to kiss Love, our teeth got in the way!!!
Love became the reason I lied to my parents. I’m going to Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor but made sure we never miss a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew if her father picked up that’d be “Hello”… “Hh..” “Hello?” “Hh…” “I guess I’d hang up.”
And Love grew.
Stretched like a trampoline.
Love disappeared, slowly, like baby teeth.
Loosing parts of me I thought I needed.
Like an amateur magician everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire – there were other places I had planned on going.
But my plan didn’t matter.
Love stayed away for years.
And when Love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.
Love smells different now, had darker eyes.
A broader back, Love came with freckles that I didn’t recognize.
New birth mark – a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns.
New favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else.
Songs Love didn’t like to listen to, so did I.
But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly.
We found jokes that make us laugh.
And now Love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
(But Love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.)
Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned.
Love is messier now.
Love is simple.
Love uses the word boobs in front of my parents!
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses a smiley face in her text messages.
And turns out… Love shits.
But Love also cries;
And Love will tell you “You are beautiful”, and mean it.
Over and over again.
“You are beautiful.”
When you first wake up, “You are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying, “You are beautiful.”
When you don’t wanna hear it, “You are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it, “You are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you, “You are beautiful.”
Love still thinks, “You are beautiful.”
But Love is not perfect and will sometimes forget.
When you need to hear it most, “You are beautiful.”
Do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting.
Love is not what you can predict.
Maybe Love is in New York City already asleep.
You are in California, Australia, wide awake.
Maybe Love is always in the wrong time-zone.
Maybe Love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for Love.
Maybe Love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see Love is 20 years after the divorce.
Love looks older now but just as beautiful as you remember.
Maybe Love is only there for a month.
Maybe Love is there for every firework. Every birthday party. Every hospital visit.
Maybe Love stays. Maybe Love can’t. Maybe Love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when Love is supposed to and Love leaves exactly when Love must.
When Love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If Love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music. Listen to the quiet.
Whisper, “Thank you for stopping by.”
Dreaming Boy - Sarah Kay
In most of the dreams I remember from childhood, I am a boy. Rescuing a maiden from a tower, or not rescuing anyone in particular, but definitely a boy. For years, when the only language I had were the scraps tossed from the popular kids table, “lesbian” seemed as likely an explanation as anything. What does it mean to dream myself a gender? What does it mean to hold that secret beneath my tongue?
The first time I kissed a boy, he was so tall, his lips so soft I dreamt of the ocean for weeks, never in control of my limbs. Next to him, I seemed a convincing enough girl. At least when I was awake. At night, I was Batman. At night, a fireman. At night, a boy, with muscles in boy places, and a firm hand, and a direction to run.
The first time I kissed a girl, I did not like the way our faces melted into each other. Where was the stubble? The hard jaw, the cinnamon, I could not breathe through all her lilac. I dreamt about being lost in a forest of a terrible tidal wave. If I was not a lesbian, what possible explanation did I have? What words could I tie around this treacherous heart, this impossible hunger, this miserable mind.
The first time I saw you, someone said, “oh, he’s definitely gay”. And maybe that was the confusion I recognised. The first time we kissed, you told me to take it slow. I placed my hand against your ribcage and you moved it away. I felt like a fourteen year old trying to get a bra strap off. You spent the night anyway, and we lay next to each other breathing, my hands inches away from your boxer shorts twitching under the covers. The next morning, you made the bed and folded all of my clothes while I was at class. You learnt to play the harp and sang me songs while you played. For my birthday, you baked me a triple layer cake, woke up early to ice it. I watched your shirtless torso push icing through a tube - I have never loved a body the way I loved yours. In that moment you picked flowers on your way to class, leave bouquets in every room. When you danced, the walls leaned closer to get closer to you. When I finally asked you if you might want to date boys, I held my breath while you thought about it for a long, quiet moment.
“I haven’t met one I’d like to date yet,” you said. “And right now, I’m pretty in love with you, if that’s okay.”
And just like that, I did not crave language I always thought I needed. And just like that, a hand reached backwards into a faraway dream and said, “come on then, we’ve got a maiden to save.” I guess what I am saying is you make me feel like a boy, like the boy I have always been. At night, I climb trees and wear cargo shorts. I steal buildings and I build fires. When I wake I am curled around your back, the happiest big spoon in my drawer. You are naked and heavy breathing, the man I love. I hold your body like the gift it is, and safely sink back into dreams.