Words We Don’t Say

You roll over in your spot next to me in bed. I can feel you moving by the vibrations in the mattress and the tugging on the sheets.  A warm arm wraps around my waist and tugs us closer. You hook your chin over my shoulder and kiss my jaw, grumbling deep in your throat, a sound of warmth and contentment.

I shift  to face you and try to tuck myself further in the curves of your body. “You know,” I murmur, “we’ve been together since high school, and there are three words we’ve never said to each other.”

“What? ‘You’re an asshole’?”

I laugh. “I’ve said that. Multiple times. And that’s four words.”

“Two,” you argue. “And a conjunction.”

You hug me closer. “We don’t have to,” you mutter sleepily into my hair. “We already know that we’re irrevocably, indisputably, grossly together forever.” You punctuate each adverb with a kiss.

“What about the validation that comes with saying it?” I push you over on your back, which lets me lie on top of you.

“What validation? From our friends? Who all know that we will probably never break up?”

“From us, darling,” I drawl, tracing patterns on your chest. “To make what we have real and tangible and solid.”

“We have sex. Regularly. And loudly. We have a cat. We make weekly dinner visits to Babushka,” you list. “The domesticity of our lives causes our single friends to make fun of us. Regularly. If it could be made real and tangible and solid, ours is a fucking oak tree.” Speaking of trees, you plant a kiss solidly on my nose, which makes me laugh and squirm out of your grasp.

“Okay, okay, fine,” I giggle, straddling your waist. “You win.”

The cat creeps in then, and settles in the space I vacated not long ago, yawning widely in the rapidly cooling space. You sit up, sheets pooling around your waist and give me another kiss. “Let’s get breakfast.”


I start to notice smaller things after our pillow talk. The way you’ll sneak up behind me when I’m making something in the kitchen and kiss the hinge of my jaw before asking me what I’m doing. The way you come home and duck without missing a beat when I throw the nearest object at you because you know that I’m working on something and it’s frustrating me. The way I come home and can hear you playing along to your jazz records on your old brassy jazz trumpet. The way you’ll make me finger food and feed me when I’m immersed in a project and can’t stand to leave it.

The way we talk without words, just with facial expressions and hand movements.

The way you’ll draw me close when we’re in public, even though I’ll squirm away.

The way I’ll catch you looking at me when I come out of my work-induced dream-state. And how I look at you when you’re immersed in your own projects.

The way we’ll sometimes blow off our friends to stay inside with each other, kick the cat out so that we can be perfectly alone with each other.

The way you’ll watch my stupid foreign films without complaint and I’ll watch yours because we both know too many languages and only two of them overlap with each other.

The way you’ll spontaneously take me out to dinner or a movie when I’m feeling down or stressed after work and kiss me in the rain when we’re both sopping wet because even though we live on the East Coast now, we’ll always be from the Pacific Northwest at heart.

The way our friends will make fun of us and ask us when the wedding is and the way you replied

“Hopefully next summer.”

And I laughed in surprise, but before I could do anything else, you got down on one knee and smiled up at my surprised face.

“So what do you say?”

And in front of all our friends, I get down on my knees, too, and, ignoring the ring, I hug you and whisper in your ear,

“I’ll get you back for this.”


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