This world is cold and unfair. I’ve seen it and so has everyone else. Every morning, you wake up thirty minutes too soon. Every night you only get thirty minutes to yourself before you need to sleep. The moment you close your eyes you become wide awake. You lay there thinking about the day that’s approaching. It feels like a marching army of tens of thousands. They rumble the ground beneath their feet. It sends the wildlife fleeing to safety. You don’t have that luxury. You have no choice but to stand there and fight.
I can’t fight your battles, but fuck, how I want to. I can’t stop the snow from falling and freezing winds from burning your face. I can’t stop COVID from cutting your staff in half. I wish I could rewrite all the messages you get on Fet that make you uncomfortable. I wish I had the power to make your loved ones live forever. I want to touch your chest and make all that’s wrong with your body become right.
Being the one you belong to has taught me how to recognize where I have the power to help and where I don’t. I can’t stop the morning from coming too soon, but I can take you by the hand and lead you to bed. I can wrap my arms around you and whisper in your ear, “I need you to fall asleep so you wake up ready to face what’s in front of you.”
I can’t stop a pandemic but I can touch your face when your throat is sore and you’re struggling to breathe. I can take you by the hand and lay you down on the couch. I can feed you soup and make sure your humidifier is filled with water. We can watch Netflix together and binge a show until we OD on it. Then we can switch to another and OD on that one.
I can’t make your supervisors treat you with kindness. I wish I could shove empathy down their throats until it leaks out their eyes. I can’t make the people you manage show up to work and do what needs to get done. I wish I could give them my work ethic. All I can do is take you by the hand when you get home and lead you to the shower. You’ll feel better after you’ve washed the day off your body. When you’re finished I’ll pull out your chair at the kitchen table. We can talk while I chop vegetables. I hope the first bite of dinner makes you feel cared for and loved.
When I take your hand and show you to the bedroom, I hope it’s like I’m leading you through the army that’s trying to destroy you. When your hand is in mine, they can’t see you. We slip through their formation like two people weaving deftly through a forest. When we get to the other side, you’re standing in front of me in our bedroom. I undress you. I kiss you. You undress me. You rest your head on my shoulder and press your lips into my neck.
I guide you to our bed. I lay you down. When my weight presses into you, I hope it’s like I’m shielding you. When I’m inside you I hope it feels like I’m giving you all the strength I can spare. When your nails dig into my back it makes me feel as though you’re grasping me with every part of you. It’s not just your muscles, bones, and flesh- I feel you holding on with your empathy, kindness, and love.
It’s at that moment I see that we had been guiding each other. I see it so clearly. It was me who couldn’t sleep. It was me who was sick with COVID. It was me who was frustrated by work. It was me who needed you to wash off the day so I could have you. It was me who needed to make you dinner so I could feel your love as I watched you eat. You’re so tightly wrapped around me. I need to kiss you. I need to look into your eyes. As our bodies clutch one another, I lean into your lips and am blown away by the realization that it’s you who is showing me the way.