Sometimes I think that Blake and I exist to all of you much differently than we exist to ourselves. We exist in this world where we met in this moment of perfect serendipity, formed a strong friendship over time, and stayed up late every night laughing on opposite ends of florescent computer screens. We fell deeply in love, hand wrote letters sprayed with each other’s favorite fragrances, survived being oceans apart for almost a year, until he made a dramatic move from Australia to the other side of the world for me.
That is all very, very true.
This version of us stares back at me every day. These people, who lived through this love story two years ago, mirror our every motion, but in reverse. When Blake and I argue, or we’re exhausted, I envision this split screen couple living a parallel life where these moments of frustration and indifference don’t exist. Where bills are always paid on time, where work days end at 5:00, and where we are always thoughtful and kind.
This version of us, and this version in any relationship regardless of how your love story has played out so far, is so dangerous to having a healthy relationship. It can force you into an unforgiving corner. Blake and I lived through an incredible experience that I’m fortunate enough to be able to sit here and write about alone in a bus terminal, but that experience doesn’t define us. It is an incredible testament to what we can endure together, and when we find ourselves in darker times it always shines light on how strong we really are, but we have never been perfect.
Truthfully? Sometimes our relationship is intimidating to look at from a far. It intimidates me to think that at twenty-four, I’ve found the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. I say that without ambivalence or doubt. My feelings for Blake do not fluctuate. It intimidates me that I’ll be meeting his family, his WHOLE family, for the first time in December when we return back to Australia together. It intimidates me to think that sometimes we say things we don’t mean. It intimidates me, sometimes, to be in this large overwhelming city with this boy, when I’ve spent most of my life being fiercely independent.
For three years I left every relationship that I started behind to travel. I let them unravel like a snag on a sweater, pulling and pulling until all that was left was a trail of yarn leading back to our starting point, usually a party or a college gathering. I wanted to see the world, to know more about myself. Now, I get to share those parts of myself with somebody else, and I wonder every day if he’ll accept them
I knew I loved Blake the first time that he told me he loved me, because when I responded with, “what?” he repeated himself without hesitation. I knew I loved him at every airport hello and twice as much at every airport goodbye. I knew I loved him when I confessed that I didn’t know if I could make a move to New York City happen in only two weeks and he told me he wouldn’t let me not go. I knew I loved him the first time he was wrong in an argument, and realized half way through that there was no turning back. I loved him even harder the first time he told me I was wrong, and I’ve loved him every time since.
Love has never been about who gets to be right the most. Sometimes the strongest act of love comes from admitting that you’re NOT right. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who is right.
Sometimes, nobody is.
There is a heaping pile of dishes next to the sink, and last night, we ate dinner on the couch in front of the television. Blake told me I worked too much while I worked on my computer practically burning holes through my retinas. You know what though? I wouldn’t trade places with that loved up version of us, not for anything. I know that somewhere there’s this version of us that always pushes their chairs in at the kitchen table and washes the dishes together. Somewhere I know that version of us wonders what it’s like to feel real. I wonder if they know how powerful it is to see the person they love succeed, or fail, and be the one they turn do. Do they know how to give support? Do they even have to?
I wonder if they wonder what it’s like to live in a world where people ask each other to come back to bed.