it's starting to get a little cold around the edges here in our nation's capital. a couple of nights this weekend saw the temperature sneaking below 50 degrees. i am a cold-blooded little blogger, apparently, because i FREEZE in weather like this. the man noticed this, and as i shivered next to him, he got up, went to his closet, and brought me back a big gray sweatshirt. i slipped it on and curled up in his arms, dozing off as he kissed my temple and stroked my hair.
this was a peaceful night. there weren't very many of those this weekend. i feel myself, as this process evolves, slowly starting to grow uneasy. scratch that; i'm scared out of my damn mind. hey, kid, you're all alone, and there's no stability left in your life, the voice in the back of my head tells me. get ready for a long haul. the man has known me since we were snotty little punk teenagers together. he knows that these sorts of swings will happen from time to time. but this feeling is a gut shot. i spent a lot of time being vaguely terrified, even as he did his best to show me how wrong the voice is.
so he held me. he talked me down. and it was an interesting kind of talking down, one that gave me pause. i'm accustomed to being showered with emotion, a constant source of... well, maybe not platitudes, but statements of unconditional positivity. the man doesn't traffic in that sort of display. i twisted his arm for some kind of verbal reassurance to silence the chattering critic in my head. instead, he calmly and rationally told me... the truth. it wasn't the blithe pablum of instant gratification i thought i wanted. but weirdly enough, it was perfect.
two things dawned on me at that moment. first, this relationship is built on something more than just a wildly careening net of emotion. the man expects me to stand on my own. he'll help me, he'll soothe me, but he won't carry me. we both have to be adults here. i said, almost to myself, "i miss being the center of someone's universe." he kissed me and said, "no. you don't. you're going to be what you want to be, and that's what matters. if i treated you like that, you'd get tired of it, just like you did before." aha. the light goes on.
but the other thing i realized is that the words the man says are secondary. the way he comforts me, the way he loves me, isn't with a string of sayings, cliches, etc. he tells me everything he needs to say with his gestures, his kiss, and most importantly, his presence. there's more love in that gray sweatshirt than there could ever be in a lifetime's worth of empty words. anyone can talk. he acts. and he silently wraps me in his love. i never knew that's what i needed, but i never, ever want to be without it.