I used to feel so pummeled and broken by the people I was in love with that sometimes even just breathing at the end of the day felt sensationally painful.
On nights like those it was hard, if not nearly impossible, to sleep.
I'd get into bed. Turn off all the lights. Clench my eyes shut. And beg sleep to come.
And sleep would always take its sweet ass time showing up.
You can feel so shitty that you'll do anything, even lie to yourself just for a brief reprieve.
The lie I told myself was, he's out there. He's out there and this will all make sense. He's out there and none of this will matter. He is out there and that's why this relationship with this person is shit.
And instead of counting sheep, trait by trait, I'd dream of him.
He'll have a big heart; he'll be so fucking kind it'll blow me away to see the way he talks to strangers, the way he plays with my dog, the way he loves his mom.
He'll make me laugh and I'll make him laugh. Even sometimes with just a look. Even sometimes when one of us has said something that actually isn't that funny, only it will still somehow be funny.
Being with him will make even the most mundane, every day tasks seem like phenomenal fun, and he'll feel the same way about being with me. We'll turn that romantic trope about being best friends with the person you love into a reality.
He'll believe, like I do, that God is everywhere, in everyone. That the most important thing is to respect the other lives we come across and when you can, to be kind. He'd also believe, like I do, that you can almost always be kind.
He'll sincerely be interested in me; not because he thinks I'm some sort of character archetype (see: clumsy, neurotic, sex kitten, resident weirdo girl made infamous by Woody Allen). He'll be interested in knowing things about me like the first time I saw snow, the best day I ever had with my mom; the first time I ever won an award. & like the stories I'll tell him, the stories he'll tell me will become part of my own fabric. When I think of him, I'll imagine him putting a handful of snow into his mouth as a boy, learning to ride a bike with his mom, getting his first game ball in little league.
And there were a million tiny, inconsequential things, I imagined about him;
that he'd help me put away the dishes after dinner,
that he'd get along with my brother, smoke cigars with my dad, find common ground with my mom,
that he'd have a sense of style,
that his smile would make me want to be a better person.
But most importantly, I imagined that I'd know him, apart from anyone else I'd loved or known, because I knew:
I won't be afraid of him. I won't be afraid to be my full self with him. I won't be afraid of showing him my dark corners. I will know that his feelings won't change just because I become vulnerable to him. I'll be able to trust him with anything and know that he won't judge my journey. He'll trust me with his dark, with his full self, with his vulnerability and he'll know that those things only bring me closer to him.
And I didn't know what he would look like, but I'd imagine myself nuzzling up beside him in the movie theater or on a long walk. I'd see us laughing together in restaurants, reading to each other in book stores, I'd imagine the way his skin would feel against mine as we fell asleep together.
Every night that I imagined him, I would tell myself to hope for it but not expect it. I would tell myself he was real; the relationship I was dreaming of was just that, a dream.
& then my best friend got married. & the boy I was paired to walk with in her wedding was charming, and smart, and funny. & he spontaneously bought a ticket to meet my family in Puerto Rico. & we stayed up all night just talking and marveling at how much we had in common, marveling at the things neither of us thought we would find in another person but were there, somehow, in each of us. & a couple of days later, there he was--having cigars with my dad, dancing with my newly minted step mom, taking pictures with my brother. & everyday he would make me laugh and ask me profound questions about my life, and hold me close to him as we fell asleep. Being with him was like being with someone who already knew everything about me; it was so comfortable, easy, familiar. We were already best friends.
And in the middle of it all, I remembered all those nights that I tossed and turned, all those nights that I imagined what he'd be like, and I realized that even though I wasn't praying, I was being heard.
Because of him, I know that God is listening, even when we don't pray.