"I love you."
You're such a gentleman, saying it first; your face was awkward and dear to me over my shoulder just before we said goodbye one afternoon. I almost missed it, buried in the lightness of playful "luv yas" that I never took seriously before. You're not very good at being casual; your heartsleeve buoys in the Aegean green of your irises, ruining the carelessness of that one-corner-up smile you kiss me so well with. And your eyes can never lie to me.
"I want to go to you ..."
You said it first; I sometimes make you regret it.
Our conversation darkens, tenses slightly when I ask "how much?" The silence between our bodies is weighty and long. I can see your honesty struggle with your desire to please me. Which pleases me.
"Give me a scale."
Feeling impish, I tell you to "make one up."
"Funny how I'm nervous still ..."
There's a part of me that wants to hear the Southern romance in your warm Georgia baritone saying "wide oceans" or "long, winding rivers." I'd die to hear you say your love for me is a terrible ache that eases with my smiles as it pains with my tears. But you don't think in prose or the abstract.
"I know what you want to say ..."
"1-10. 6," you say, not willing to be vulnerable.
A 6 doesn't satisfy me; I know I'm more to you. I've felt it. Because there were hundreds of butterflies in the winter sunshine, blessing me, the day I realized I was in love with you. Fiery Skippers, who dance along flora covered roadsides, drenched in radiance. Last month's deluge of rain had given way to wildflowers of every pleasing hue on the hillsides. I looked for your particular shade of red among them, smiled when I didn't find it; you're too much of an acquired taste.
You're breathtaking when you fall asleep on my lap. Your laugh is so complete and I adore you. I want to give you my whole existence. But I lower my eyes whenever I'm on the verge of saying so to keep up the appearance of having the upper hand.
"I can't help it baby, this is who I am ..."
I think of the Skippers and the sound of Jimmy Eat World's "Kill" playing repeatedly on my car stereo and suddenly I want more of an admission from you; I want to see you break for me. I want to feel precious, like when we walk the wet shoreline at night and you wordlessly give me your jacket because you thought you felt me shiver ... the way I feel when you tell me I'm all you can think of and it hits like a sledge hammer hard to the chest.
"Sorry, but I can't just go turn off how I feel ..."
Lost in my thoughts, I almost miss the "Maybe 7" my silence prompts you to add, your eyes never lying to me.
"... I just can't walk away"
... I can live witout the abstract. And that's the part that stays mine.