My Someone keeps a mental running tab of the things I say that make him feel sorry for me. He calls it The Top 5 Saddest Things Mallory Has Ever Said, and takes the opportunity to recite it when I am sick and pitiful and down on my luck. The recent list, in ascending order from least to most sad, went like this–
5. “I don’t belong anywhere.”
4. “Since my mom doesn’t call me anymore, I sometimes pretend she is trying to tell me she loves me through the books she lent me.”
3. “Even though we just ate lunch, my belly rumbles because I am future hungry.”
2. “If I only had four wishes, I would spend a wish on a hotel room tonight that doesn’t smell like cigarettes.”
1. “Sometimes in the bath, since we can’t afford bubbles, I just make the bubbles with my butt.”
I like the recitation for at least five different reasons, because they remind me:
5. …that I belong somewhere when I am with my Someone, and that my future belonging is mysterious but certain.
4. …that I am working on my relationships even if they are hard.
3. …that someone is tending to my hunger, and that my hunger is not a threat to my life.
2. …that I am able to take care of my body in ways that are bigger than the bare minimum, anymore.
1. …that I am not as poor as I used to be.
Guess how much I love you? Guess how much I love youuuu?
I was standing over a boiling pan of curry in Kelsey’s kitchen, cooking dinner with my Someone while Kelsey’s almost-three-year-old watched an adorable program in the next room. It’s a cutesy tune they sing at the end, and one that had been catching our brains in repetition for hours after.
I checked the rice while my Someone stirred the curry, when my Someone started humming, then singing–
Guess how much I love you? Guess how much I LOOOOVE you?
Something in me rattled, and then burst like water pipe after a long, cold winter–
“I don’t want to guess anymore!” I cried, “I’m tired of guessing! I don’t want to guess anymore how much, or even if anyone loves me at all! Why can’t they just tell me? Why can’t you just tell me how much you love me?!”
My Someone turned to me, surprised. Then, he hugged me.
“One,” he said, “sometimes I just make the bubbles with my butt. Two, I don’t want to guess how much you love me…”
“It made the list,” I said, relenting.
“It definitely made the list.”
I guess that’s how much he loves me.