Two months ago, in the middle of November, he asked me to come with him the next time he went camping. We stood in the driveway, and I told him how much I would love to. We smiled and laughed and after we said goodnight I made a promise to myself that when that day came, I would tell him how I feel about him…
It’s funny how quickly love grows… how you can meet someone and before you know it- you question how you could have possibly lived so many years without them. I’ve experienced this feeling so many times in the past year that I’ve learned just how willing the human heart is to heal when you let it.
I’ve met so many incredible people- people that I consider family- people that I will love for the rest of my life. Friends that have built me up and given me so much strength- that have pushed me to stand whenever I have fallen…
I can’t believe that we stood in the driveway and I made that promise to myself just two months ago. How could we have grown so close in just months?
How could so many things have happened since then?
What I wonder most, is how could one person change my life so quickly?
Isn’t it so amazing how we can change each other?
We have the power to touch someone’s soul- to destroy them and raise them from the ashes in a day, in an hour, in one breath.
When I met Greg, last summer, I wanted to change his life.
I wanted the man who never spoke, never smiled, never revealed anything about himself to break free from the darkness of his past. To rejoin the world in the light. I wanted to see him smile and laugh.
I wanted to be the one he smiled with and laughed with.
I wanted to change his life.
I had no idea he would change mine too.
I’ve been afraid of love for most of my life. It has been an idea that I pushed away, an idea that I didn’t apply to myself; I discouraged it. When someone told me that they were ‘in love’ with me I pushed them away…I never let myself accept or welcome that kind of love.
I was afraid to be in love because I couldn’t go through losing someone that close again.
To me…losing everyone was inevitable. I have always felt so vulnerable because of my parents…if they could stop loving me- if I could lose them, then why not everyone else?
And if I was going to lose everyone, I wasn’t going to let myself get hurt again…not like that.
I’ve only let myself come so far~ I’ve only allowed myself to welcome the trust and companionship that is love between friends.
It sounds sad and maybe even silly…but it’s really how I’ve felt…for so long. I didn’t want to love anyone and I didn’t want anyone to love me. And I thought I would always feel that way.
But then here comes this guy who completely defies years worth of fear and collective experiences that defined a huge part of me. He defied and destroyed it all completely.
Without even thinking about it… I wanted him to want me- I wanted us to grow into a relationship, to grow into love, to grow into something that would last a lifetime.
How the hell did he do that?
The week before we left for our trip I was nervous as hell.
My wonderful…wonderful…glorious…amazing friends put up with my flighty anxiety and excitement (you all know who you are <3)
And it rained every single day that week…I woke up one morning, crossing my fingers, hoping that some freak hurricane would show up at our door so that I could put this off just a little bit longer.
But Friday came, and without a drop of rain.
I was already wide awake at 5:50 AM when, ten minutes later, my alarm sounded quietly beside my head. I hit the off button and laid in the darkness of my bedroom, staring up at the ceiling. Here it is, I thought, we’re leaving tonight.
I felt a nervous wave curl through my entire body when suddenly I heard a quiet rapping against my door. I got up and looked out into the hallway to find Greg waiting for me, he smiled and whispered “I thought we’d go out and get donuts this morning, does that sound good to you?”
I instantly felt better when I saw him. I smiled back at him and nodded my head.
We bought a dozen and ate three each, we drank coffee, and laughed about how we were going to be living off of bacon and donuts this weekend. After breakfast we spent some time packing together and then we left for work and school. When I came home I spent the rest of the day with friends; they distracted me and gave me words of wisdom and cheered me on. 10:00 PM came so quickly and after saying goodnight to my friends I knew that it was time for me to be alone with the one person I’ve been waiting to be alone with. I went into his bedroom and sat down on the floor. When he got home from work he laughed when he found me half asleep curled up against his backpack and the tent bag. “I see how it is…you want me to just pack you up and carry you all the way there.”
I stretched and yawned and laughed, “That would be great…and could you carry my stuff too?”
We piled our backpacks, my guitar, the tent, and the cooler in the driveway and then packed them into the jeep. Before we left the house he told me how excited he was.
That night we parked the jeep at the conservation center and we hiked in the darkness to the place where Greg always stays in the woods. I was impressed at how well he knew the area- he didn’t even need the flashlight to guide him, he moved through the trees and knew where each fallen log was to step over, each brook to jump across, each spot that was bound to be a trap to fall into. When we finally arrived we hunted around for dry wood and kindling. I fell down twice without his guidance- each time I did, I made a ton of noise and we’d start laughing. I built the fire while he raised the tent. When everything was finished we sat together on top of the big cooler and cracked open two beers. We stayed up late laughing and talking and mocking the coyotes; we howled and took a swig every time one called out into the night. The temperature dropped down to 30 degrees and we doused the fire and escaped into the tent. We stayed up talking and listening to music until we fell asleep.
We woke early the next morning and ate oranges, bacon, toast, and donuts. In the daylight I could see why he called this place his second home. It was incredibly beautiful. Our tent sat upon the crest of a large hill that sloped gently downwards towards a pond in the distance. The trees here were ancient, huge, adult oaks, with massive branches that were nearly as thick as an average tree trunk. Each gnarled branch arched towards the ground like the long stretching arms of a yawning giant. These were the kind of trees you could live in, the kind of branches you could climb without a single fear of them breaking…I’m sure they could hold a car.
Today we planned to go on a long hike, he had so many places he needed to show me, and I couldn’t wait to see them.
We ran at a jogging pace through the trees. There was a mist in the air that made the early morning light ethereal and smoky. The woods smelled fresh and fragrant- the constant rain from the past week made the fallen leaves on the ground send up their earthy smell. The bird songs were everywhere, echoing through the groves and the hollows. They stopped singing as we passed, then started up again, or flew off and started singing in the distance. We could hear no other sounds but the steady crunch of our feet along the soft trail, and our breathing. The temperature had risen to nearly 70 degrees and after a while our shirts were wet with sweat. We leaped over logs fallen across the trail and we splashed over streams until we reached a clearing in the forest.
This was the first place on the list.
A huge field of tall grass encircled by a wall of trees. It was incredible, the tall grasses were colored like gold and the wall of trees around us made an almost perfect circle. It was like a vast arena of grass that was completely secluded.
Greg came up behind me and said “It’s cool isn’t it? When you lay in the center it makes you feel like you’re the only one alive on the planet.”
“Can we be the only ones alive on the planet today?” I said.
He laughed and smiled “Yeah we definitely should.”
We laid down in the grass on our backs, he faced south and I faced north, our heads rested beside each other. The golden grass towered above us and danced in the wind, swaying back and forth. The effect against the cloudy steel gray-blue sky made the grasses seem to move in slow motion. I reached out my hand and touched some of the strands letting them slide through my fingers and brush over my hands. We were completely silent; I glanced over at Greg, he was watching me and smiling. We fell asleep and woke up around lunchtime; we ate apples and cold bacon. We sat and talked while he smoked a cigarette until I pulled our giant Frisbee out of my pack and stood up and smirked at him. “Hey smoker, I think I heard you breathing a bit harder than I was earlier…think you can handle this?”
He looked up at me and raised an eyebrow, “I’ll make you eat those words” he said as he crushed his cigarette into the dirt, burying it.
I broke into a run across the field and threw the Frisbee at him. We chucked it back and forth, throwing it as hard as we could, sending it flying hundreds of feet away. After a while we started to both chase after the Frisbee; whoever reached it first got to throw it and then we would race each other and shove and tackle each other to get to it first again. We were out of breath after a while, covered in dirt and grass. I reached the Frisbee, where it had landed on the ground, and collapsed onto it. Greg fell to his knees next to me and then flopped over onto the ground. We were cracking up.
After we rested for a bit we continued our hike. We trekked into a marshy area of the forest, the trees here were covered in moss and we spotted several weeping willows. We walked slowly in this area, parting the willow branches gently as we listened to the sounds of the green tree frogs and toads. As the day slipped into evening the chorus of animal calls increased and the soft sounds of thunder echoed in the distance.
Soon we discovered the second place on his list.
The wooden road in the forest.
It was almost mystical looking…like something had spirited it here instead of being built by humans. Hefty wooden planks held it about a half-foot off of the forest floor, it snaked through the trees winding and curving deep into the distance. We scraped the mud off our shoes on the edge of one of the wooden planks, and then we stepped onto the road and followed it down its path.
It brought us to the bottom of the hill where the pond was located just below our campsite. When I recognized where we were I looked at Greg with wide eyes. “Damn you’re good.”
He winked, “I know.”
He lead me along the edge of the pond to a rocky area, we stopped in front of a small cave entrance.
This was the last place on the list.
We both had to duck down to get into the entrance but once inside we could stand comfortably. The air inside had a musky earthen scent. Greg switched on his flashlight and illuminated the cave. I was shocked to see scattered all over the cave floor and on rocks and ledges at least a hundred wire sculptures.
“Woaahhh,” I said as I crouched down to get a closer look at all of them, “I always wondered where all of these went!”
He crouched down next to me, touching a few of them, “Yeah, I make too many to keep them…I kind of like the idea of someone coming upon them one day, thinking they found hidden treasure…maybe they’re worth stealing.” He laughed.
“I might steal some.” I picked up a small wire dragon and admired the wings.
“You want to take it home? Go ahead you can take it.”
I beamed a huge smile up at him.
He smiled warmly back at me and then stood up. “Come on lets wash this mud off and then we can eat dinner.”
We left the cave and climbed up the hill to retrieve some water, towels, and soap from our campsite and dropped our backpacks by the fire pit. We went back down the slope to the pond. We stripped down to our boxers, I turned away so that I wouldn’t watch him. When I turned around and blushed he laughed at me and smiled. (shyly hah <3)
My self control was being brutally tested, I had to fight not to stare at him. Up until now I hadn’t seen any more than his arms and face…now practically his whole body was in front of me. I’m not sure how he reacted to my body since I literally could not look at his face- for fear of him reading my mind. It sounds corny to say this but he is literally my ideal…that “dream guy/girl” that you would describe to someone if they asked what kind of features you found most attractive. He was more incredible than I had even imagined. The muscles in his neck and shoulders, and in his chest and arms were broad and strong; his stomach was…amazing .
We stood by the edge of the pond and used its water to get the bulk of the mud off of our legs and ankles and arms and hands. Then we washed our shoes.
My heart was pounding as he poured some water from our spring water jug over my head. I worked some soap into my hair and rubbed it down my neck and over my body. He rinsed the soap off of me and then we switched. As I poured the water over his head I looked at his back and his arms; up close I noticed several more scars on his body besides the one I already knew about.
“I have scars on my back too…from back then.” I said as I rinsed the soap from his hair.
He looked up at me and rubbed his eyes, shaking the water out of his hair, “Let me see.”
I turned around, he touched my shoulder blade and leaned close to me, examining my skin.
His hand slid down my spine and I shivered.
“Sorry you’re probably freezing, come on lets dry off and start the fire.” he said.
We dried off and carried our things up the hill. He put the fire together while I went in the tent and got dressed; and then as he dressed I skewered some hot dogs and cooked them over the fire. We sat on the cooler and ate quickly. I shivered and yawned; he looked at me and whispered “I think we should turn in early huh?”
I nodded my head sleepily.
We put out the fire and climbed into the tent. We both were spent from our adventure and laid silently for a moment, letting our bodies rest. Then he turned onto his side and said “Your scars, they’re small and there’s a lot of them…like something shattered and scratched your back up.”
I turned onto my side and propped myself up on one elbow. “Yeah…they’re from glass, my dad threw me through our sliding glass door. I actually have scars on my scalp too. It was during that big fight I told you about.”
“I thought so, I was going to ask if they came from that night.” he said.
“Yours look like cuts…like you were hit with something sharp.”
He was silent for a moment and suddenly I was worried if I shouldn’t be asking about them.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “if you’d rather not answer, don’t feel like you have to.”
“Oh no,” he smiled, “I was just thinking it was funny that we’re both such experts on scars, we can identify them at a glance.”
We both laughed a little and then he said “You’re right though, they’re just from when I was a kid. He hit me a lot, with just about anything.”
We got serious again and talked on the subject more, then he said “You know, I really like that I can talk to you about these things…I mean, I never thought I would ever tell anyone about it. And, not only can I tell you about it…you understand it too. You’ve experienced it. I kind of don’t feel like I belong anywhere because of my past. Its like, your childhood is supposed to shape who you become as an adult, the groups of friends or people that you fall in with as a child are carried into adulthood. But I didn’t have any of that. I was isolated, like you were. I could never figure out who I could get along with or talk to because of that…I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like I belong when I’m with you.”
My head was flooded with emotions, I actually wanted to cry because hearing that made me feel so genuinely happy and honored. That I could make him feel this way, this person that I care about so much…I make him feel like he’s not alone in the world.
I took a deep breath and said, “You do belong with me…I’ve never met anyone that I felt so connected to; that made me feel so happy and made me feel so excited to be with and share things with. I’ve never been so afraid of getting to know someone because I couldn’t stand the thought of messing things up and losing you…” I started to scrunch the blanket in my fist nervously, fearing that my voice was going to start shaking. “I’ve never felt any of these things or experienced any of these feelings for another person before. The way I feel about you is so different from anyone I’ve ever met…” I looked down at my hands and felt my face blush intensely, “…….Greg, I love you.”
Suddenly, he reached out his hand and grasped me by the shoulder. He leaned toward me, drawing me toward him, and he kissed me on the mouth, hard. My hands untangled from the blanket, I touched his face and slid my fingers into his hair.
He spoke against my lips in such a low whisper that I barely heard him, “I hope this isn’t too soon.”
I shook my head breathlessly.
He smiled against my mouth.
We slid our arms around each other, and he kissed me again. The frankness and strength of that kiss was amazing. He opened my lips with his own, licking them slowly, then he slipped his tongue into my mouth. We clenched our arms around each other as hard as we could, I licked the inside of his mouth and bit and sucked on his lower lip.
With one effortless motion he rolled from his side onto his back, pulling me on top of him. I straddled his chest, my knees just below his armpits. His hands firmly grasping the bare skin underneath my shirt as my arms wrapped around his neck. We held each other with frantic tightness, as if to make up all at once for the five months of longing. We were almost one body just from sheer pressure, and our mouths stayed together in an unrestrained open kiss.
My hands moved down him slowly. I felt the hard muscles underneath his shirt. I slipped my hand underneath the fabric to feel the shock of his burning skin. He was feeling me too, running his hands up the backs of my thighs and over my ass. I felt his palms slide over my belly and under my shirt, over my hips and between my legs.
I tugged his shirt up and off of him, I kissed his chest and his nipple, his collar bone and his neck. My hands traveled over his back and up his shoulders and arms. I felt the texture of scars.
His fingers caressed over every scar on my back, without words each one told its story. In the darkness we read each other like braille; the heat of his finger tips awakening each wound to its original painful memory and then sealing it shut with a fire that cleansed and healed them entirely.
I hoped that my touch would do the same for him.
Suddenly he pushed himself upright, onto his knees. He stared down at me, his long torso causing him to tower over me even as we knelt on the floor. I moved closer to him and let him take my shirt off. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him, he pulled my hips against his and lifted my legs up to wrap around his waist. He lowered me onto my back, kissing my lips and my neck and my shoulders. I clutched his body between my legs and pulled him closer against me crushing our hips together. He hooked his fingers into the waistband of my jeans and tugged them low on my hips trying to caress every inch of skin he could reach. We tossed around hungrily on the floor until we were both trembling with exhaustion, content enough to rest against each other; but we didn’t do anything more than that. We settled down and laid together. He held my head and kissed my face and eyes. I fit perfectly against the hollow of his arm, curled against the side of his body with my head over his chest. I could hear his heart beating.
We stayed like that for hours, just being together, and being close. I’ve never felt so safe and sure of anything…I was in love.
I planned on telling him that I liked him- and I hoped that one day when I loved him I would tell him so. But I love him now.
Without a doubt in my mind . I love him.
We watched the sunrise. We were exhausted but we refused to fall asleep. He held me close and stroked my hair and my ears and neck. He rubbed my back and I kissed his lips and his chest. I didn’t want this moment to ever end- I didn’t want to go back to school and work and not see him all day. I didn’t want to leave this place where I had him all to myself.
When we woke up later that day we laid together until we were so hungry that both of our stomachs were growling in singsong. We spent the whole afternoon sitting on a blanket by the campfire eating and talking and I played guitar and sang for him. In the evening we made smores and decided to drink up all the beer we had left. We got drunk and went crazy climbing the trees and chasing each other around; and then we had a fencing duel with some small branches (I was winning until he cheated and just decided to throw me over his shoulder and take my sword away XD )
We were supposed to leave that night but we both didn’t want to so we decided that we would drive into town early in the morning and call in sick.
We slept in each other’s arms again (made out again too…)
And we managed to wake up at 6AM, drove into town and went to a pancake house where we got a ton of food and he used the phone there to call in sick for work and I called my friend Hanna to have her tell our professor I wasn’t coming in.
We hiked to the golden field again and we spent most of the day there, we laid together and I read to him, we played Frisbee some more, and we took a long nap.
In the evening we packed our things together. I looked at him sadly when he pulled the last stake out of the ground and folded our tent up.
“Hey,” he dropped the tent and pulled me close against him, “we live together remember?”
I looked up at him and laughed, “But I‘m gonna miss this place.”
He smiled and said, “Don’t…because we’ll come back here again and again… and we have an infinite number of memories to be made no matter where we are. All we need is you and me.”
Coming home felt so surreal, I knew things were going to be so different.
For so long I’ve listened to what he was doing through the wall at night, wishing that I could be brave enough to spend more time with him, to kiss him, to tell him all the things I’ve ever wanted to tell him.
And now I can.
I kiss him goodnight.
I kiss him good morning.
I kiss him when we say good bye.
And with each kiss comes an I love you.
We curl up on the couch together and read.
He comforts me and rubs my shoulders and stays up all night with me when I’m working on things for college.
He comes up behind me and wraps his arms around my waist and kisses my neck when I’m cooking at the stove.
I run up to him and hug him when he comes home from work.
What he said that day is true, all we need is each other. It’s going to take some time before I’m completely aware of what has just begun. For the both of us, the majority of our lives we’ve been on our own. Facing the world with no family and no security. But finally we have a chance at “forever”. We could finally be the source of security for each other that will never ever go away.
That feeling of knowing that no matter where I go and what I do he’ll always be there right beside me…is what I’ve always wanted and what I’ve always needed.
I have a boyfriend…and I’m in love and I can’t believe this is all happening <3
With love, Mickee xxx