if love feels strange on your tongue
Say "like" first. Always say "like" first. Like is easy, fluid. You can float
on it, your joints light, face tilted to the sun like a marigold blossom.
Say "You make me happy," and if that's too much, sandpaper its edges
down to "You made me happy today/this week/this month." Happiness
isn't love, not necessarily, and anyway you can always choose to take
that happiness and make it your own, so that nobody else will have to
give it to you, if that's how you want it. Only if that's how you want it.
Say "I want to meet all your friends. I want to meet your family, see
the place saved for you at the dining table, listen to the chairs scrape
the floor as the seats are filled by people who know what you look
like in your pajamas, barefoot, bathed in the glow of the refrigerator
at two in the morning." You will want to say this in one swift breath—
anything too slow might be mistaken for tenderness, and anything too
tender might be mistaken for love. Do not whisper anything just yet.
Say "There is nobody else like you," in a firm, clear voice, even though
you're not sure if this is true; maybe you just haven't scoured the city
enough for boys with maple syrup smiles and hands that feel like knots.
Say "You can come to me when you're tired. You can come to me when
you're sad. We can eat soup from a can and watch Japanese game shows
until you are laughing again, and here is a blanket to drape over your
knees and a tall glass of warm milk." Say "Home is wherever you are."
Say "Let's see the world together. Let's see as much of it before we die."
Do not falter. Try hard not to blink. Say "Let's go. Right now. Let's go."