Words to Claim

I admit it: I am a woman of a pride.

He calls me a wordsmith, and so I look back upon every sentence these hands have ever crafted: the personal safe havens in which I can truly be myself, the weapons I use to fight back against oppressors, and the bridges I’ve built over miscommunication so that my feelings and a listening audience may finally meet in the middle.

Words are a building material that anyone may use, and thus a person cannot call the words themselves their own. However, a person may lay claim to whatever they have built with those words. For some time now, I have been trying to build a way to say “I love you” that no one else may take credit for. After all, “I love you” belongs to everyone. “I love you” is a short thread weaved into the creative cloth of every love story known to man.

I admit it: I, a writer with pride, need to say “I love you” to him in a way that’s mine and only mine.

And I have finally finished building after two years of drafting a blueprint. This construction is in a class by itself. Every piece of its architecture—every board and slate, brick and stone, nook and cranny—has been scrutinized until the 750-word whole could be translated from Obnoxious Poet into English as, “I really, really love somebody and want to be super loud about it, so here I am.”

He is the only kind of magic that I believe to be real. I find that everything else in life has a scientific explanation including “real” magic. If I can’t find one, it’s simply that there is something that I don’t understand well enough. I know that every trick has a secret. Every magician’s show relies on pulling your attention away from where that secret would be revealed. Such is but a marvelous distraction; the art of misdirection.

Yet even after all this scrutiny, I cannot find a trapdoor behind his curtains. There are no magnets in his sleeves, and no smoke nor mirrors in his bedroom. It’s just… him; this work of art that I could admire forever, and even then, he isn’t “just” anything. He is beauty and humor. Intellect and wit. Passion and selflessness.

I lose myself in the wonder his presence creates and am always left inspired. Oh, to fill a blank canvas with his image. Sketch the lines of his silhouette, trace my brush along his jawline, and dot the cherry glow of his cigarette in the evening dark… But, my art mediums would surely fail to do him justice. Paint chips, ink bleeds, and charcoal fades—he doesn’t. He grows, clutches, and stains—painting a better picture than I ever could on my own. Every avenue of my life today has been tinged by him somehow, and I hope to never need to wash any of it away.

Sometimes, it feels like this was the forbidden timeline. The one I wanted but not the one destiny would decide I needed. The one I’d fantasize about, but not the one that could actually come true. Opposites attract, but we are the lodestones that said, “fuck the rules.” We are the similar alloys that will change what man knows about electromagnetism. With locked hands, we will flip the planet’s poles into reverse alignment.

Every kiss we share feels like a kiss on New Year’s Day: celebratory with a little fizzle and a bang. With each one, we will shake the crust of the Earth. Make it crack and crumble as we meld our lips together. We will melt the mantle with the heat we exchange—our bodies brushing over one another with the friction that could light a match or ten. We will ricochet into a storm to test the waters of the ocean we both happened to fly over. We will change the world just like we changed each other, hence why gratitude is the most repetitive song I have to sing for him.

I admit it: I am a lover with pride. Always is our destination, and like summer skin to sundress, I will cling to him tightly, as long as the sky over our heads is still bright. When evening comes, I won’t thank the stars, because they were not the ones to align—we did, he and I.

Maybe we weren’t meant to be, but I never loved being in love until it was with him specifically. So I will hold onto this for as long as he will let me.

These words are my “I love you,” and just like him, they are mine and only mine.