I am in my long shirt, leggings, and new thigh highs, like high school socks ungrown girls in their thirties get to wear. You come home and always take off that white shirt, the knot at the neck. You untie.
You look way down to the bottom of the pile, laundry for sure, and boys and tiny triangles cut with safety scissors, coupon trash mail, yesterday’s mascara. I am at the bottom, there, and you reach in to pull me out.
You reach in grabbing for the collection of little juice-box straws I might have connected together, for apartment scuba. You reach to rip them out of my mouth because you might think that’s how I like to breathe – through straws. Instead, you kiss a little color into my face.
Several dripping layers of white paint cover any who’ve come before us in the apartments, all the chairs and short-term lovers slammed against the wall, the accidental history of hands in berries and jelly. We try to make it where no one can paint over this one.
The ghosts disguised as refrigerator hum and a clock’s tick-tock, we shoo them away by turning on the music. And then we paint the walls, and we get it everywhere. In the carpet, there are roses. And there is cursive, and there we prophecy about the future,
that we will always be together, cramped up in love; that it’s going to rain (always be bracing for rain)
– because at the bottom, in the straw-breathing days, we write out our tomorrows. How we kiss in the dark side of things is how we will invent new love. Again and again, how we reach into one another.
Eleven years in, I love you.