"Yes, you can. Try." I slid the pencil toward the unopened spiral notebook in front of him.
"I want to come up with something clever to say in the opening,"
"Don't," I instructed. "Don't think. Just write down everything you're thinking."
"That doesn't even make sense!" he laughed.
"I know! That's why you have to trust me!"
"Okay," he picked the pencil up, and stared hard at the white space. I took a deep breath, trying not to interject too much. He'd asked me to help, not to write the paper myself, though, heaven knows I wanted to. "I'm thinking in complete sentences, but when I write it down, it looks so weird on the page. I can't get developed thoughts down on paper, but I swear I'm thinking them."
"You're thinking too hard. Use pieces."
"I can't not write a complete sentence."
"Sure you can."
"My brain doesn't work that way."
"How do you know that?" He looked up.
"I don't know, it's just kind of the way you've always been with things." I rested my forearm across the table and leaned my chin on it.
"I just... I don't like doing things until I'm sure they'll turn out," I bit my lip and instinctually listened closer to the words he said next. "I want things to be right. Planned. Premeditated."
"Can I tell you something I've noticed about you?" I asked. He was frustrated in all of his perfection. And I don't mean perfection in the cliché, angst-y way it's used in preteen poetry. I mean it like it was actually an overtaking struggle, one that dominated his every thought. For him, it was a hinderance, for me, a lightbulb.
"Sure," he exhaled.
"Your brain is logical. Organized. Runs on formulas. Tabulations. It's clean lines, analytical," he looked right at me now, "and everything mine isn't." I took in a deep breath and tried to pretend like what I'd said hadn't been an insight to something so much deeper. "That's why it's easy for me to write my thoughts down and it's hard for you to think in fragments."
"That actually makes complete sense," he nodded, "so what's your brain like?"
"Uh..." I danced my fingers along the side of my face trying to cut out words. "Chaotic. Shuffled. Messy," I added, "a little bit screwed up." He laughed.
"Well, that explains why you're able to do things that I can't." I took pieces of hair from my eyes and pushed them aside.
"It's why you need me." A simple statement, a bold one. I sat, waiting to see what he'd do with the information that'd just been given. He side-smiled like I'd never seen him do before.
"I do need that."
I experienced a still and stupid happiness there, at my kitchen table. Where I sat Indian style in a wooden chair, my right knee folded and resting barely over his thigh, just enough to make me feel brave.
And we didn't do most of the things you do when you want to be another person's person. We wrote a three page paper and I watched his eyes light up as I told him I was finally ready to let Star Wars into my life. He let me step into his mind and didn't find it an intrusion when I did. I felt welcomed and prepared for. It wasn't dramatic or sexy (hey, now), it was a ricochet of trust, admiration, and depth.
He plays volleyball on Tuesday nights, has finally caught up on the past two years of Grey's Anatomy and last Sunday, driving 1400 N, seven o'clock sun through the windshield, he defends operatic musicians! I mean, he's a pocket full of unlikely details that I just marvel at each time I unravel a new one!
And, you know, maybe this isn't supposed to be the beginning of anything. Maybe there's a point down the road where he becomes unsure of me. Maybe he'll wave me off like the rest of them have done and I become a silhouette on his yesterday, he another tear in my satin dress.
But maybe it'll be a more well-developed love story than I could ever even hope to write. One that began without bells, whistles, or silver spoons. The kind of story that grew from pages of handwritten updates and penciled in plans for the summer of 2013. Maybe we spend the first few years of our married lives in a Chicago medical school. Maybe the basement floods and we soak it up with dish towels and winter coats because even though he's written BUY A MOP on our grocery list a dozen times, I still get distracted by the aisle of baby clothes and we're laughing at how absurd that is since we're not even having a baby yet. And maybe it's that part of my life that I think about when I can't sleep, scared out of my mind, wondering what happens if I don't take my own advice and