Upon spotting an old lover outside the coffee shop, slow your steps. Give yourself time to note his hat, the notebook in this hand, the espresso cup beside him before he lifts is head and meets your gaze.
Prose by Kelsye Nelson
After dusk, when he finally pauses his day’s race, scratch your nails up and down his back so that his shoulders rise and his mouth rounds into Ooo.
When he takes off his shirt, rub your fists hard into the knots above his shoulder blades. Notice the broad width of his back. Resist the urge to lay kisses across the back of his neck. He doesn’t like that the way you do.
Say yes when he proposes any adventure or wild idea. Simply listen when he talks about his family. Remember the names of the people he works with and ask him about his projects.
Disappear from him sometimes so he can miss you and you can miss him. Return to him happy and grateful.
Kiss him often. Hold his hand when he offers it. Breathe deeply when he moves close so you can catch every musky, delirium inducing scent.
Tell him ridiculous jokes. Assume he is doing right. Sometimes, occasionally, do the chores you hate just because you know it brings him peace.
Share with him your dreams. Help him name his. Draw together. Make plans. Take trips. Save Tuesday nights just for only you two.
Dine with him. Walk with him. Sweat together and tell him good job. Bring him water at night to take his medicine. Make room for his dog in your bed. Tell him your troubles and ask him what he thinks.
Notice how he ages, how grey creeps into his beard, how his body loosens and bows like an evergreen burdened by snow. Trace your finger along the crisp edge of his shave. Marvel at his lips. Don’t stare too long at his brown eyes, no matter how they beckon you.
Remember that you are his ship in stormy seas. When the moon wanes and tides shift without warning, when yesterday was yes and this morning is no, keep your steady course. Give him space to rage to all points, travel the world, to the moon, to Jupiter, and do not catch coattails or snap the leash.
When his tempest mood passes pinnacle, reach out with soft touch and calming words. Be gentle as he lands again on the solid decks of your far-reaching love. Welcome him. Kiss him. Scratch your nails up and down his back until his shoulders rise and his mouth says Ooo.
How long should you love him? Love him longer than days and hours. Love him longer than stories and lines. Love him longer than sundown, yours, his, this very world’s.
That’s how you love him.