Quick note: at the time of this post, my spouse was in a she/they place, and now they’re in a they/them place. We discussed it, and decided to let history stand on this, but if you read this in 2021 or afterwards, please use they/them pronouns in reference to my person. Thanks!
When Love and I were first together — not the beginning, but the good, spiritually-fulfilling, we-just-said-i-love-you-and-no-one-has-ever-meant-it-more, commercials-make-me-cry part — people kept commenting about how they looked at me.
We would be spending time with friends, and Love would go grab a beer or some other such banality, and the friend would look at me, eyebrows just raised, and say, “wow, she *really* loves you.”
I was defensive. “I really love her, too.” I mean, here we were, making love stories more poignant (yw, planet) and helping the flowers bloom, so yes, we loved each other in an equally significant, planetarily important way. Obviously.
Fast forward a few years to last month. We adopted a rescue dog in February, which brought about an era of beloved chaos. Love was terrified of the responsibility at first, but I knew the adjustment of the first few weeks would pass and our current state of adorable, furry bliss would take over. They have predictably become the far better dog guardian over time. I take our dog on 20 minute walks; Love takes her on epic urban hikes and comes home bright-eyed. In February, Love’s heart was at capacity and growing rapidly every day, but now they’re strong enough to love us all. They fuss over the dog’s well-being and squirrel bloodlust, forcing us into unnecessary vet visits and an infuriatingly helpful daily routine. By comparison, I try to trick doggo into warming up my feet by sitting on them.
Love is quiet, introverted, and subtle in expression. When we were first together — the actual beginning — I couldn’t tell if they liked me or if they were enjoying themself or if they would rather just go home and read Twitter. It was a divine mystery behind a polite (gorgeous) face. Eventually I learned to see what I call their microexpressions. It may just be a slightly widened eye to you, but I now I see plain as day that they’re thinking OMG I’M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND BECAUSE THAT IS THE CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN; WHEEEEEEE.
When they look at this dog, especially when they don’t know I’m looking, I see our lives in fast forward. Picture a small round face with a slightly lifted chin, soft hopeful eyes, a tiny smile that’s only in the middle of the lips and not at all for show. It’s the look of someone who may just cry. It’s the look of a heart churning. It’s a look that doesn’t blink at commitment or compromise because you’re already intertwined and there is no excavating you from their heart. I think it’s what my friends saw back then. They *really* love us.
Thank you, lucky stars.