Valentin Antonucci

The Transient Moments Of Loving Me

You see, it lives in the little details. It flourishes in between the seconds that we often miss—that we overlook. It grounds itself in the fleeting moments that are impossible to hold onto. Love lives in the curvatures your body makes when you roll over and whisper “Good morning” before you pull me in closer, only to fall back asleep for “just five more minutes.” It lives in the reassuring glance and smile we exchange across a room full of people, checking in on each other’s social battery. It lives in the hand squeeze you give me underneath the table before I have to give a speech. It crashed through when you knocked your beer all over yourself because your nerves got the best of you; when the confident, cocky, funny guy morphed into this sweet, nervous boy on a first date right in front of me. It overflowed in the flowers you sent me from 900 miles away when you heard of a loved one passing.

It’s putting on my favorite song in the car without saying a word after a dumb argument. It’s sending me pictures of sunsets, the ocean, classic cars and all the other things that you cross paths with in a day that remind you of me. It’s knowing where my scars live and kissing them a little longer, a little softer. It rushes in at the 3 AM pillow talks – the ones that weave through laughter and tears; the ones we desperately battle against our heavy eyelids. It shows up unexpectedly during a Thursday while I’m on your couch, and you’re in your kitchen. You stop mid-sentence, smile and stare at me long enough to make me nervous (and you know it), only to walk over to tell me unwaveringly that I look beautiful and kiss the dimple that sits on my right cheek—the one you always teasingly point out just to make me blush. It lives in your ability to recognize when my anxiety is creeping in and hugging me a little tighter knowing pressure relieves my nervous system. It revisits every time I look at the shelves you built me, the ones I always talked about and you surprised me with.

Love lives in the smirk that dances across your face for a split second when you pull away after a kiss before you lean back in for another. It’s you admitting on the phone you’re nervous to see me while I wait for the Uber you sent to pick me up and calling me again to make sure I got into the right car and that I was safe. It’s in the disappointment in your voice when you say “Where are you going?” when I swing my legs over the bed to get out and the swift “Not yet!” that follows before I even have the chance to respond, pulling me back under the covers with your mischievous laugh filling the room. It sneaks its way into my kitchen when you put on Sinatra on a Sunday morning while you cook eggs in my favorite style–over easy, a little runny. It augments in your frustration when the yolk breaks and you insist on making me fresh ones—over easy, a little runny. It showed up in your text—the one you sent from your taxi before you could even reach home saying you hadn’t stopped smiling and wanted to see me again after we first met. 

It lived in your eyes when you bought me a Space Pen (and excitedly explained what it was) so I could write more with it (I didn’t have the heart to tell you I did most of my writing in my email drafts). But love also lives in the fact that I now write more in my journal again because of the pen you gave me. Love lives in you insisting on picking me up knowing I haven’t quite gotten over my driving anxiety since my accident and preemptively putting on the seat warmer in the passenger seat before you get me. Love washed over me when you researched, asked questions, and learned about concussions so you could understand what I was and am going through. It shows up in the Post-It notes you hide around my apartment for me to find later to read. It’s in the playlist you made me when we were missing each other. It burst through when we spent 20 minutes laughing trying to sync our Netflix to start at the same second on FaceTime when we couldn’t physically be together. And when I would catch you glancing over at me when you should’ve been watching the movie. It lives in the 12 handwritten letters you wrote for me, the ones you wanted me to open on the first day of each month until I arrived at our next anniversary. The one we never got to.

You grow up being told that love is a feeling, but I have learned that it’s really a verb. We are walking storybooks of all the idiosyncratic ways we have been shown love from the people that enter (and sometimes exit) our life. You see, it’s in the little parts of loving me that eventually mounts to the grandest amount of self-love that I carry with me. It is always the temporary moments that leave behind the most visceral feelings, ones I get to revisit once in a while when I need to and remind myself that I am the amalgamation of all the love I’ve received in those evanescent, transient moments. The ones we often overlook.