I have an “L-Word” problem. Lately, something has been living in the lining of my stomach. Last Saturday, I clocked a little leap when I leaned into his chest. Last Tuesday, the leap grew to a light flutter filling my entire tummy when he kissed my temple. Last night, the flutter lingered on his every word and when he traced a line through the freckles on my back and kissed the nape of my neck, the lining of my stomach unleashed the flutter, letting loose the sensation to swim through my entire body. It tingled down my legs and looped straight up to my brain where it released a scream, crying loud inside my ears. “LLLLLLLLLLLLLLOVE!”
My ears heard the hollers but my lips tied shut, leaving no room for the roars to leak through. For, my tongue detests the taste of that word so when my heart leads it through my larynx to my mouth, my tongue twists and lurches and locks itself away to avoid letting him learn. If anything were to launch through my lips at all, I trust my tongue would liberate only the letters “L” and the “E” being sure to change the “O” to an “I” and the “V” to a “K”. “LLLLLLLLLLLLLIKE!” because that is less likely to leave me drowning in a lake of my own insecurities. It laces the feeling with an illusion, a lack of attachment or liability, a freedom from the leash. It leaves a ladder still to climb. But the truth is I’ve already been lifted.
His laugh, his lips, his lion’s mane, the light leering in his eyes, the lavish ways he spoils me, the language he lathers to loosen me up, the warmth I feel lying in is lap, the lazy days we spend on his couch or how we’ll wish together on a lingering lash, the way he latches on to me so I wont leave or locks me in blankets when I’m cold, the silly way he’ll pretend he’s Latino, that fact that he knows just how I like my lattes or that we always end up folding his laundry together on late Sunday nights, the lavender scented glad plug-ins that freshen up his bedroom, the way he appreciates the changing of the leaves that fall on our heads as we walk along the street, the lust we share, the leeway he gives, how he listens, how he makes me laugh. The list is long and its length continues to stretch as I learn just how lucky I am. He pulled a lever, without even knowing, that has left me on a life raft floating in a lethal limbo between what I know to be true and what I will allow myself to admit. Because although my lips lour at the real word that wants to live, “like” has become a lie.