Little Bird

I love the way

Your eyes wrinkle

With delight

When you are looking at me.

I love how calm

It always seems you are

When we meet in silence.

Is it that easy,

When we strip away

All the expectations?

I love all the ways

You make me laugh

How you tell stories

That sometimes make

little sense,

And I never care to know why.

Sometimes, even,

I admire your open hesitation

To give into

What you know

Your heart desires.

What courage must it take

To resist what you want,

In return

for safety.

Pay no mind,

Little bird,

I’ll be here

When you feel sure enough

To approach my embrace,

To be your friend,

To mind after your heart.

If only to see

You break into a smile

One more time.

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Moments

We used to drink

Out of little red cups,

Eating warm cookies,

Our feet not quite

Touching the floor.

Your spontaneous laugh,

Infectious,

Echoed through the house

Warm from Grandma’s oven.

You found me once,

Sitting in a grassy corner

Of the yard where we’d play

And you reminded me

We’re family.

We’d summer in Oregon,

Lie on our backs

After days on the lake,

Looking at the stars.

Telling stories,

Sharing secrets,

Acknowledging the demons

Trapped inside us both.

Getting stronger as we aged,

We hoped for more.

After I nearly

Let the darkness consume me,

When no one else

Stood by my side,

You’d pick me up,

Linking my arm with yours,

Force me to laugh, to scream

To dance, to bowl

And you reminded me,

We’re friends.

We spent winter nights

Spinning records,

Watching movies

You taught me to drive,

To dirt bike in the desert,

To laugh, to live with abandon.

In the moment,

For the moments.

At my sister’s funeral,

I fell apart

You never left my side,

Holding my hand,

Whispering memories

Of better times,

Sneaking me coffee,

Imagining

Times to come,

And you reminded me,

You’re always there.

We laughed,

We played,

We cried,

We danced.

Every childhood memory,

Every Christmas party,

Every family photo,

Every Oregon summer

Brought us closer.

When the darkness came,

When the war waged,

When the family fell away,

You reached out your hand.

Why didn’t you ask for mine

When night came for you?

Now all we have

Are memories,

Moments,

Imprinted in pixels

Reflections of the past.

And in your children,

Your blood,

A hope for the future

You once helped me see.

Always family,

Always friends,

You live on in me

If only,

In the moments.

Like Wales

You have the kindest eyes.

And a gentle, tender smile.

Sometimes I dream

Of memories

That haven’t happened yet.

You’re gentle.

You’re more gentle than I’m used to.

But I want your tenderness

For the rest of my life.

I used to want to be handled,

And then I met you.

You’re the perfect weather

For a cozy sweater

A flask of coffee

A leisurely walk

With brisk wind,

Embracing our cheeks.

Your hands, cold,

like my body,

Perfect temperatures

For our embrace.

You hold me

Without expectation

Without ulterior motive

With care,

With ease,

With simplicity.

I want your arms around me

Forever.

I love you like a fog

I love you like a fire

Crackling in the hearth

Of my heart.

Your heart is warm

Like old Scotch in my belly.

You make me giddy

Smile with glee.

I could drink

Your kind smile,

The same beautiful taste

Hitting my lips

Day in, day out,

Swirling in your orbit

For the rest of time.

Ghosting

I haven’t heard from you in days.

The last time we really talked,

There was excitement,

Future,

Lust,

Intention.

We were mutually interested,

and I had started to fall for the person

you are,

The person I think,

I thought,

you are…

You were?

It’s been 4

Almost 5

Days.

I obsessively reviewed

Every moment.

Every text.

Every email.

Every WhatsApp,

Every… Everything.

And you want me.

On paper,

You are at least planning

To Fuck. the. Hell. Out. Of. Me.

And I want it all.

I’m not even sure

If you’re my boyfriend,

But I want your body

intertwined with mine.

Daily. Weekly. For now.

But I’m hurt.

I haven’t heard from you.

Not even if you’re busy.

Not even if you’re uninterested.

Not even if something happened.

You told me you were into me.

You told me not to worry.

About you.

About us.

But you don’t try.

I hate that you don’t try.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

Do you?

That’s obviously rhetorical,

As I haven’t heard from you.

And that hurts most.

Send an emoji.

Tell me you’re busy.

Tell me you’re not that into me.

Let me hate you

Let me feel disgust

Let me hurt,

With intention.

You told me things

That I began to believe.

I gave you my body,

To ogle,

To release to,

To enjoy.

But we haven’t fucked.

Not yet.

I would have given it all to you.

I would have been your private dancer.

I would have been your “cool girl”.

As much as I despise your ghosting,

I miss you, too.

Knowing

It’s in the quiet moments

When I know you’re the one.

We may not reunite,

At least in this life,

But there’s no question in my mind

That we’re destined.

It’s the response

From one of my molecules

To one of yours

That’s unexplainable.

What I think is what you say,

Where you kiss is what I need,

Right place,

Right time.

So secure in this knowing

That we can walk away,

Even for a lifetime.

I look at you with only pride.

Go do it! Go forward!

Leave me to grow!

Leaving, knowing

There’s no one else

Who knows,

Who sees,

Who feels,

Who can be.

Twin soul,

For now,

you’re free.

But, after long,

You’ll be

With me.

Missed Connections

I believe a teenage girl lives inside all of us. Someone waiting to be chosen. Longing for recognition. Longing to be loved and cherished and admired. And seen. Anxiously waiting for this to happen and waiting, on baited breath, for validation. Even if we don’t want to admit it, a teenage girl is there, at the core.

I’m young. I’m fortunate enough to say that I have achieved professional recognition. I’m a leader in my field, a master of my craft. I love my career, and I’ve received a wealth of recognition just from following my dreams.

Then there’s the place where the rational and the teenage brains meet: love. I’ve been rejected a fair amount by people in my life: men, women, friends, lovers, family, mentors, foes. I’ve been abused and damaged. I still hurt. Mostly, I hurt by those I believed from whom I should have received unconditional love, as well as by those whom I’ve loved unconditionally but lost tragically. Both forms of rejection continue to be unexpected, long after the blow was dealt.

Recently, I’ve been seeing someone romantically. It’s been some time since I’ve dated, since I’ve softened my heart enough to get shy around someone. It’s a difficult exercise for me, but with this person, I want to keep doing it. Every time I ask for what I want, I am rewarded by being pulled in, by his turning toward me. At this point, when he turns toward, I want to leap into his arms. I’m beyond smitten and am falling. Deeply. And I don’t want to stop. Some days I think I should, when my doubts and self-criticism creeps in, but most of the time, stopping this inertia is farthest from my mind.

We met in an odd way; on an online app where you match with one another within certain proximity. Yes, I’m talking about your run of the mill dating app where you swipe in a hot or not scenario, but both of us have no purchased features, so we need to be within proximity, age range, and also like one another’s faces and profiles. I’ve never matched with anyone on this app, and I’ve been fine with that. I was not seeking a partner.

This seems like a mundane way to meet these days, so why are the circumstances odd? My proximity setting was within a 1-mile radius and the only time he was in that radius was for the hour or two he was at a meal with friends. Otherwise, he lives 300+ miles away from me. And yet, we connected. The chemistry was immediate and electric, in every way imaginable. So much so that he attempted to reject me early on, only to reconsider. Things, feelings, were moving too quickly for the circumstances.

And yet, this has progressed. We’re in constant contact, at least daily (if not multiple times daily), despite not getting a lot of face time with one another. Our friendship and connection has deepened just through texting, calls, and FaceTime, and we make time to connect. I have noticed, at times, that he doesn’t share everything with me yet, nor do I, and while that bothers me a tad, I understand it. The anxiety isn’t there like it has been in the past with other potential partners. Perhaps it’s because I have matured and perhaps it’s because I notice the effort–to be honest, it’s probably both things, but I can’t be sure.

This gets me to thinking about connections. Those I’ve had in the past, those with whom I’ve had a stronger bonds and still have fizzled. What makes these things different?

I used to believe that the connection was everything. In 2010, I met, what I have called, the “great love of my life”. We met, quite serendipitously, in an airplane. It was the perfect “meet cute”, the perfect beginning to a romantic comedy. I wasn’t supposed to be on that plane and actually had switched seats only to stumble upon the person I spent years with sitting next to me. We both believed we were going to spend our lives together. Until, one day, years into the relationship and after much talk of marriage, he realized he wasn’t able to stay committed. I, loving and respecting him, understood, and let him go. My heart was broken into pieces, pieces I believed to be irreparable. This was my great love after all!

In the nearly four years without him, in the relationships I have had with others since him, and, most importantly, in the relationship I’ve had with myself since our parting, I have learned the best lesson:

Relationships are only part connection. They are built and sustained on action. Not only is there a space component to them, there’s a time component as well. If both parties aren’t ready, aren’t in the same time in their lives, no connection, no matter how strong, will keep them together.

No connection is ever really missed, just out of place.