love letters for her
I still choose you, day after day — that’s where I am.
Our black morning coffee is steaming. I sit. You hand it to me softly, touch my wrist, and I see your eyes surveying; they’re as brown and wide as the Park Lake we live on, and I know they’re saying — I love you.
I love you, too, even while I struggle with my anxiety.
I love you despite bringing my past trauma and suffering into this thing we call love.
I love you even while I attempt to run away from something I can’t see.
I love you even as I try to break down this idea of what a “thriving relationship” is.
Then, as I sip my coffee, I tuba-trumpet fart accidentally, like a blank-faced baboon. We giggle like two middle school kids in the back of our homeroom. Still, I choose you.
“Will you dance with me, mi amor?”
“Yes,” she says, smiling, as I press her soft stomach against me.
“1–2–3… 4–5–6. Salsa is beautiful before work, isn’t it?”
I teach her the steps even though she is South American and I’m Northern Michigander.
Yet, every night, every day, every moment, I keep making these commitments to you in my head, but then my anxiety ruins it. I wake up and think about you. I go to sleep and think about you. I worry about you. I worry about moving with you. I worry our love won’t last. I worry our love will last. It’s all worry. That’s the thing with anxiety, you can’t escape it, and once you have, it’s back again. This is why I want to take us slowly. Because that’s what I need, you can’t heal me. You can support me, just as you are.
I want to love myself as I evolve inside the anxiety of “us”— so I can see my old conditioning and past trauma try to force their way into our love.
Maybe I’ll never be whole, but I want you to know:
I love your compassion, how it spins me around like a compass, not to mention you are the purest, kindest, and sexiest soul I’ve known. There is nothing evil in you. Nothing impure. There is nothing that makes your ethics or moral fiber or heart impoverished like mine.
You aren’t perfect, I know. You are tough, but not as tough as the relentlessness of my anxious…