One day last winter, I wrote part of this while sitting in a coffee shop with Kyle. We were both working on something — I was likely writing a paper for finals, or should have been, but I took a break to write this.
I left it saved on my computer for months, and then more recently, I got to thinking about how busy our lives are, and how sometimes, our everyday affection is replaced with everyday tasks. Instead of a kiss good morning, it’s doing the dishes and sorting laundry and trying to get out the door. Yes, we’ve fallen into a nice rhythm since getting married almost four years ago, and I love that about our lives together — the rhythm of it — but it’s important to remember the times when the rhythm wasn’t there, when things were new and all that mattered was when we’d be together again, when we’d be back in the car, driving around listening to music that spoke to our souls, trying to figure out what the hell was even going on. I rediscovered the unfinished list of thoughts from the winter, and something connected in my mind about those two things — the moment that I wrote this, and the rhythm that we are in now.
Kyle and I have been together for nearly 12 years now, and our relationship is deeper and truer than it’s ever been. But sometimes I feel like I need to remind myself that we were once stupid teenagers who fell in love without warning. I don’t often post about Kyle, because I try to keep our relationship sacred in that way. I often see people post so much about their lives, and I just have strong feelings about over-sharing when it comes to other people in my life. I will write about myself all day long, but I don’t like to “expose” others on this blog, if that makes sense. I write about so many different topics here — most of which are not serious — but every once in a while, I want to post something that lets you know that I am indeed a human, with a life and feelings, and to simply share that with you. Because what are we if not connected, right?
When I wrote this originally, it was completely meditative, and wasn’t sparked by anything other than my proximity to my husband. Looking back on it, I realize so much more about that moment and what it means to be married to him. This month, I revisited that piece of writing, and thought I’d share it here. Kyle deserves more than a blog post; but here it is nonetheless.
He smells like coffee. All the time. He used to smell like Abercrombie cologne, back when we were younger and we were only dating. I remember thinking he smelled nice back then, but now, that is not the scent I associate with him or with our life together.
He has hair like a Kennedy, thick and wavy and red. He laughs when I say this as if to brush it off, but really he laughs because he knows it’s true.
He is inquisitive. He asks questions that I often have no answers for; questions I would never think to ask. It’s in these moments, that he proves that his mind works completely differently than mine. He is more thorough, more thoughtful.
He is optimistic. Almost to the point of delusion, which balances out my own delusions that are much more negative and often surrounded by worry. When I am inching toward the ledge, “Get away from there,” he says, coming up behind me with a comforting hug and a joke, showing me that not everything is so serious all the time. Not everything is so bleak.
He wears flannels in the winter because they’re warm, not because he lives in West Virginia. Not many things make him angry, but any assumptions or stereotypes about his state will piss him off, and he will likely emit a string of carefully articulated reasons that your statement is ridiculous, leaving you in his trail of smoke.
He watches old black and white movies while he reads. Ones he’s seen over and over again. Ones that fade into the background like white noise, because he already knows the words the way he knows the sound of my footsteps upstairs, or the cadence of his mother’s voice.
He asks for my opinion. What should I do? Usually, he already has an idea of what he’s going to do, but he values what I have to say. I didn’t always know that, but I know that now.
He honors the people before him in ways that I’ve never seen from another human being. He is so fiercely loyal to his people that he even uses them as the reason for letting the air conditioner stay off for as long as possible, or for refusing to buy fancy electronics. My Mamaw Adkins didn’t use a hand mixer. Our ancestors didn’t have air conditioning at all, how do you think they felt? I laugh at him when he says these things, because I know he really means it, but to my selfish heart, it sounds ridiculous.
He is quiet and thoughtful. In his own head most of the time. But when he opens his mouth and his thoughts pour out, I lean forward, nestle my chin in my hands, listening closely in case I miss something.
He has witnessed the worst parts of me, the monsters and demons within that sometimes claw their way out. In my failures and my faults, he has saved me from myself.
He smells like coffee. Like freshly ground espresso beans mixed with that smell your skin gets when you’ve been in the sun a long time. He smells like this all the time, but especially when he’s been working in the coffee shop all day, drinking cup after cup, typing away on his laptop, stopping every hour or so to look around.
The scent seeps from his skin, lingers in his clothes and hair, and I take in deep breaths of it from his neck and shirt collar. That scent eases me to sleep at night, deleting whatever happened that day and making me human again. That scent is what brings me back to earth, back to comfort and away from the spinning worries in my mind.
It means I’m home.