It’s buying me a coffee and a blueberry muffin with the last few quid you have in your pocket, just because you know I’ll really appreciate it for breakfast. It’s buying you a new guitar even though it’s ridiculously expensive and totally out of my price range, just because I know you’ll treasure it forever and tell me it’s the best gift you’ve ever received. It’s putting the kettle on every time I get that text that says, “Honey, I’m on my way home”. It’s spending five minutes furiously stirring your son’s hot chocolate because he likes it frothy like they make it in the shops and you won’t just buy a milk frother like I keep asking you to.
It’s making a roast dinner with all the trimmings, but having it with chicken dippers rather than an actual roast chicken, because you forgot the main ingredient for your Sunday feast. It’s laughing it all off as though it doesn’t matter, rolling around in hysterics so much that you can’t stop that pee trickling down your leg.
It’s snuggling up together in bed, pulling the duvet and blankets in close, desperately sheltering each other from the freezing cold temperatures after the builders left a hole in the roof. It’s watching endless shows on Netflix together even though you’re bored of them, making the most of a bad situation as the builders also cut through the wiring that makes your TV work.
It’s sleeping on opposite sides of the bed but still touching fingers in the middle, because you can’t bear to be torn apart from each other, but at the same time, it’s too hot to touch. It’s watching the same episode of some TV show three or four times because you fell asleep the first few times we watched it, or you forgot what happened entirely. It’s doing that without even grumbling for a moment.
It’s three-hour train journeys where you can’t sit down, squashed into the armpit of bald and sweaty middle-aged men, cringing as they laugh and wink at you in that super creepy way they do. It’s excitement building throughout the torture of it all, caring about that lecherous pig but not caring at the same time, the butterflies of seeing you all over again outweighing any shitty journey that could come between us.
It’s packing everything you own into the back of a transit van, moving across the river to the ‘other side’. It’s leaving everything you once loved behind, looking back slightly nostalgically, yet still being one hundred and ten percent excited for what might be coming next.
It’s doing the dishes after you and picking up your pants, and laughing when you leave that empty toilet roll tube in the bathroom again, even though I reminded you to throw it in the garbage just ten minutes before. It’s making sure that you know I love you each and every day – each time I see that twinge of doubt across your face. Each time it looks as if you might forget, it’s making sure you know. I’m here. I’ve got your back. I’m holding your hand. It doesn’t matter what happens. It’s making you feel loved even when you think the rest of the world is against you. It’s making you feel special when you don’t think you’re special in the slightest.
It’s smiling at each other across a crowded restaurant and instantly knowing what the other person is thinking. It’s being able to sit in a hoodie and scruffy sweatpants for two days, barely moving from the couch, working away on a laptop without feeling judged. It’s the cups of tea you bring even though I never ask you to, and every cup of tea you make when I do ask too. It’s getting up off the couch every time I say, “Baby,” because you know I’m going to want you to get me something. It’s never complaining about it once because you know how frustrated I get when I disrupt the carefully-placed pages torn from my notebook, scattered around me as though they have no order at all.
It’s never looking through the messages on a phone, even when you have the chance to do it. It’s never walking behind me while I’m sat at the table working because you know it makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s accepting me for all the little flaws I have and even more than that, it’s missing those little flaws when they’re not there. It’s longing for the annoying fingers poked up your nose, or shoved in your belly button; childish, but still a moment that only the two of us share. It’s pining for the feeling of those arms wrapped around you, and hating the size of a big bed without the other one in it.
It’s writing you a list to go to the shops, even when you say you won’t need it. It’s always making sure I’ve got spare money in the bank, in case you forget another bill. It’s trekking between four different shops in the middle of the night, just because I wanted a certain brand of teabags, and you knew I’d go nuts if I couldn’t have a cup of tea in the morning. It’s making sure I always leave a cigarette for you to wake up to, even if it means going without my goodnight spliff.
It’s sharing everything I have with you, everything I feel with you, and making sure that you know you can share everything with me too. The farts, the smelly armpits, the weird spots that we seem to find ourselves with, usually somewhere really unsavoury. Just like that time with the huge spot on the left butt cheek. It’s performing open-butt surgery at 3 in the morning, using an ice cube as the anaesthetic and a sewing needle as a surgical instrument.
It’s being there each time you feel scared. Each butt examination. Each time you forget. Each time I can’t face the bumblebee. Each time I worry that there are ghosts in the house.
What is love?
Love is all of those things for me. Just in case you ever forget ❤️