Jordan proposed on the morning of Saturday, December 17, 2016 amidst the cat condo and stray socks in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment. As he sautéed sweet potatoes for a breakfast hash, he asked me to sort through a pile of postcards on the coffee table—four of his own design—that read simply, “will you marry me?”
I swam so hard to reach you.
In 9th grade, I wrote a love letter to a boy. I imagine it was entirely dramatic—depicting my teenage longing and the color of his eyes with gag-inducing metaphors—but genuinely heartfelt, and honest nonetheless. And while I tried my hardest to emulate the letter-writing greats, like Oscar Wilde and John Keats, my letter read like a scene from Degrassi with the raw emotion of a Dashboard Confessional hit.
The journey to her couch took six weeks of suffering before I arrived. I claimed one corner and pulled my knees to my chest, effectively shrinking myself to a pathetic dot. I assumed that if the world intended to swallow me, I’d go down easier that way. I held my feet for comfort, then glanced at my savior with total desperation—I wanted her to save me.
Thesaurus.com and I were on good terms, until I plunked “self-love” in its search bar and it retorted with “narcissism” and “vainglory.” Then we broke up.
I met him in a room filled with words handwritten by the lonely and the suffering, unaware that eventually, I’d thread him through my own pages, weaving the fabric of my volumes with our memories. I couldn’t have recognized the foreshadowing.
A handmade lunar calendar hangs plainly in my kitchen. It’s composed of black ink pressed deep into thick cotton paper. Each month spirals into itself like a snail’s shell, displaying daily moon phases, and highlighting new and full moons, and zodiac transitions. I peep it every morning.
As a uniquely named child, I lost when it came to one of life’s cheaper thrills; monogrammed heart keychains. Dig as I may through the spinning tower of trinkets, I knew I’d never find a “Vicari” among the sea of abundant “Veronicas” and “Victorias.” I never wished for a re-name, but as a tiny, fashion-forward human, a sister just wanted a sparkly Vicari-heart dangling from her backpack. So I often settled for my first initial etched onto some cheap piece of nothing.
Ladies and gentlemen, snag your lip balm and ready your smackers—holiday season is upon us. Between an opportune mistletoe encounter, or a New Year’s Eve spit-swap at the stroke of twelve, there’s something to be said about a powerful peck.
It is inevitable that the people I love the most will disappointment or hurt me. This statement is not rooted in pessimism—it’s a statistical fact. Those with unlimited access to my heart are the ones with the greatest probability to cause harm.
In all facets of love, we are the most vulnerable.