The Little Things


Love is seeing an imperfect person perfectly *

My girlfriend is not a morning person. She snores for the first ten minutes that the alarm goes off, burying her head under the pillow until only a few curls peek out from beneath the white cotton. She tucks herself inside the bedcovers, the sheets tracing her figure from the mountains of her hips and breasts and the valley of her waistline and the crevices between her neck and shoulders. After ten minutes, a single hand emerges from her cocoon to beat the snooze button into submission, and she offers a muffled groan from the mound of cotton and curls. The second time the alarm goes off, she takes the ten minutes to stretch, contorting her body and tightening her muscles until another groan escapes her lips and her head emerges from beneath the white cotton. She slaps the snooze button again and drops her head into the bed of down feathers. My fingers walk a line along her abdomen until my hand grips her waist, and she turns to me with a sleepy smile. The sunrise in her eyes and the lazy contentment in her curved lips is enough to make each day worth waking for. She leans into my chest for a moment before stepping out of bed, and I love that she feels comfortable enough to stand naked before me.

My girlfriend loves jeans more than any dress in the world. She has a favorite pair that she wears with my shirts and her high-heeled
boots. Her favorite pair has a hole in the knee and in the front pocket, but they're softened from years of wear and tear. She slides them on one leg at a time while the sunlight streams through the window, and she is stunning as the rays weave gold in her hair and cast shadows on her skin. She likes to play dress-up occasionally, and she looks wonderful when she steps out of the bathroom in an evening gown and make-up, but she is most attractive when the wrinkles in my shirt catch the light and the faded denim of her jeans calls forth the blue in her eyes. She wears her hair down and wavy on her casual days, and the natural look gives her a rugged charm that never fails to draw a sigh from my lips. She smiles more when she wears jeans and my shirts, and I love that my clothing can make her feel beautiful.

My girlfriend drives with all of the windows down and the heater on, with the radio blaring as loud as it can possibly go. She uses the steering wheel as a drum set while she waits for a red light to turn green, beating out the rhythms on the radio and in her head. She dances in her seat while her hair chases the wind, and her eyes glitter in the fading daylight as she smiles out over the horizon. Her cheeks are always flushed when she drives, teased and tugged by the cool breeze and softened by the heat that blows from the vents on either side of her wheel. She sings along to the radio as loudly as the music that plays, though she misses the majority of the pitches and occasionally encounters a note that she couldn't hit if her life depended on it. I spend my life singing the right notes, and she spends her afternoons singing the wrong ones, but she knows all of the words better than I know the backs of my own hands and the curves in her waist. When she drives, she looks free and determined, as though her own dreams line the stretch of road that lies before her, and I love that her smile makes me feel like I'm flying.

My girlfriend always orders a burger when we go out to eat. We could be in the most ostentatious of restaurants, and she would still ask for the burger and fries, and water with no lemon. She orders her hamburger with only pickles; no condiments, and no lettuce or tomato. When she gets the burger, she takes the pickles off painstakingly and replaces the bun, then begins to nibble around the edges. She always eats the middle last, because she claims that the middle holds the heart of the burger, the best part. Before she lays the core of the burger on her tongue, she removes the bun again and sprinkles salt and pepper liberally on the remaining portion of the meat. When she eats the last of the burger, she closes her eyes and smiles slowly before swallowing. She takes pleasure in little things, like knowing that she put just the right amount of salt on before eating the best part, which she always saves for last. She eats her fries with salt and pepper between comments and jokes, chewing thoughtfully during the little comfortable silences that make her and I "us". Silence with her is never awkward, always filled with smiles or fries and the knowledge that at least one of her thoughts is of me. Regardless of how hungry she is that night, she always gives me two of her French fries. She never eats the pickles. Instead, she stacks them one on top of the other, lining the little ridges up until they make a cucumber again, and gives them to me. I love that she knows that I like pickles, that she orders them simply to satisfy my craving.

My girlfriend is horribly afraid of the dark. She won't go into a room unless some form of light is illuminating it, and she tenses up when she's resting in a room and someone turns the light off. Something about the way her tiny fingers tremble and the way she nervously bites her bottom lip as her eyes dart back and forth is so incredibly endearing to me. She curls into a little ball, holding herself tightly as though she could shield herself from the cold in the darkness and warm herself by crowding around the light that glows inside of her and shines out through her eyes. When we lie in bed together in the wee hours of the morning, trying to fall asleep to the sound of wind through the trees and our own hearts beating as one, she demands that the light be on. Right before we fall asleep, I'll reach over and switch the night lamp off, and she shivers beneath the covers, half from the cold and half from the fear that the darkness will swallow her. However, when I lean back towards her arms tuck her between my arms, in the spaces along my chest and underneath my hands, she stops trembling, and I love that I can wash her fears away.

My girlfriend talks in her sleep. Sometimes she mumbles, cute little noises from the back of her throat bubbling forth as she moves restlessly inside my arms. Her eyes are closed, but her lips are slightly parted and swollen from sleep, and they press against each other occasionally so that she can groan or hum contentedly. Other times, she says actually words that slur together and slide off of her tongue as she moves her head nearer to mine. Her musical voice has a raspy edge when she sleeps, and her eyelashes flutter against her cheeks as she converses with the figures on the other sides of her eyelids. In the midst of my own dreams, I can't always make out what she's saying, and I'm not always alert enough to listen, but I love that she can share her dreams with me.

My girlfriend is not perfect by any means. She has her quirks and her characteristics, and the things that she does can make me smile and make me crazy. Yet sometimes, when the light hits her face just right and she tosses her hair back to focus her glittering eyes on me, I know that making me smile and making me crazy is enough. Everything she does is somehow enough. And, when I pull her into my arms and feel her sigh against my chest, everything becomes more than enough. We have our tiffs and our triumphs, our anger and our affection, and I'd be lying if I said that I'd never wondered what it'd be like without her. But when she cocks her head to the side and smiles softly, laughing a bit before she tells me that she loves me, I wonder why I'd even consider a life without her.

My girlfriend is not perfect, and I'm not perfect, and together, we aren't any more perfect, but we have our perfect moments. We have Saturday morning cartoons and Tuesday evenings at the coffee shop, trips to the grocery store at midnight and nights with popcorn and pillows where we watch movies until we fall asleep in each other's arms. We have the little things, and sometimes it's the little things that mean the most.

* author of quotation is unknown, but it's not mine