I can’t start this right and I don’t think words will be enough anyway, so I’m not really going to try being clever about it. I’m going to imagine instead that you and I are face to face, and somehow I’ve mustered the courage to actually tell you what follows. It helps that you’re a composite – an amalgam of all of the friends I hold so dear – and that in the complexity of your olio nature, there is security, because I can address you as a whole, and bypass the need to *actually* be vulnerable.
That said, in spite of the cloak of anonymity I’ve cast upon you, I will tell you this; I recognise the tone of your voice, the angle of your countenance, the weft of your hair and the mood behind your words. Your silence can cry out as loud as your raised voice, and there are times when I can hear you smile. I’ve seen behind your scenes, and I fancy that I know sufficient of your heart to think that you’ll be okay with this, but I’ve told you on many an occasion that I’m quick to love and slow to trust, and there are times (like now) when that cripples me.
I’ll do my best to find a way around it, though, because whether you know it or not (and to whatever extent it may be), you – my cherished friend – are taking the hand of some of the colder, darker corners of my soul, and gently urging them forwards into the sunshine. In the light of your friendship, I can feel my heart begin to thrive, pumping Feels and vitality through my being, turning me into an echo-chamber for emotion. When you hurt, I ache. When you celebrate, I feel fireworks. And in the mundane to-ing and fro-ing of the everyday, there is still a background glow, even if all I see is your shadow glancing past, because I know that you’re still out there, and you still matter to me.
Your character is what appeals to me most – your passion for life; for words; for others; for beautiful places and complex theories. I adore the way you care about other people. I’m proud of you when you bring them centre-stage and demonstrate your commitment to walking the walk as well as talking the talk, and LIVING the change you hope to see in the world. When you encourage your friends to care, too, it makes me unnecessarily soppy, and I wish so much that I were able to walk up to you and either shake your hand or give you a hug, or just grin my usual goofy smile and tell you what a good job you’re doing of being a wonderful human.
Of course, you’re beautiful, too, and that has a tendency to intimidate me more than it should, but that’s my stuff blundering in where it’s not wanted and making things awkward. You should know that each time I see you, I fall back into the schoolyard way of thinking, and just count my lucky stars that somehow, I get to be cool by association. It barely matters though, does it? The important bit of beauty lies with your personality – it shines out and sparkles the lives of those who know you – and it can be breathtakingly gorgeous.
There are so many things I’d like to tell you, if only we were in the same space.
Things which would require hugs at the end of uttering. Things which I’d wish I could hold your gaze as I said. Things which cause me to reach out my fingertips, right now, and press them to the screen, somehow hoping you feel them, and reach back. Because quite frankly, the heights and depths and breadths of Awesome which I now know can exist inside a human being, are so vast that I find words rather small and inadequate things with which to address them. To give them proper acknowledgement would require physical presence, and for now that’s something we’re denied.
Yet this isn’t about my thoughts, because it’s somewhere around Valentine’s day, and though the day itself is rather arbitrary (for I feel these things each day, and could tell you at any time), it allows me to step deftly behind the mask of convention to tell you how you make me feel, in a manner which (should it be spurned (always my fear), ignored (terrifying thought) or indulged (not so bad, but still a concern)), I can lay at the feet of *that* day and walk away from with my hands in my pockets, whistling an insouciant tune in a display of carefully-studied nonchalance.
You won’t know about the white-hot spears that rejection thrusts into my soul, nor the sodden, all-consuming necrosis of spirit which rapidly follows. I won’t let you know how long it takes me to claw my way back, or the agony I’ll be in for the next umpteen times we speak, because I know that something in me was repellant to you. I’ll never show you how much it’s going to haunt me, even if you say we’re alright. And that’s another reason you’re a composite, my darling, because the flip-side is likewise easier to explain.
So to the feels, before I chicken out entirely.
First and foremost, I’m so intensely grateful for your friendship and your constant presence in my life. To have known you for this long, and to rest easy in the knowledge that you’re probably not going anywhere any time soon, is a delight and a joy. It makes me so happy to be able to reach out to you when I feel the need, or just want to check in. To know that you tend not to find me a bother, but that you enjoy my interest, is something which means more than you could possibly know.
To know that you choose me – that’s huge. And magic. And wonderful.
You inspire me. The way you write and create and show your artistry is simply stunning. If I could have my way, I’d get everyone I know to read your words and absorb the wonder of them. I just love how you put things, and sometimes it’s even the mastery with which you string words together, or the mood you evoke with your writing which makes me wish that I could pay you to write just for me, to indulge me, because your brain is so marvellous that I get genuinely excited when I see you’ve written something new. And it’s adorable that you have little idea how good you really are, but I do hope that you figure it out.
It’s not just your cleverness though, which keeps me hooked. Quite frankly you make me want to be a better person, and somehow feel more worthy of you. Whatever else can be said of you, you’ve LIVED a whole lot more than I have, and you’re so good at passing your learning on to me in the hopes that I might be able to take it on board and not make a complete hash of my own life. Thank you so much for sheltering me in the generosity of your spirit. You have a beautiful, kind, shinybright soul, and I want to be near it.
Then there’s your friendship and the connection we share, which makes me light up inside when you want to talk. It brings me deep happiness to talk with you, whether it’s about small stuff, or matters of the universe and beyond, I’m so happy to know your thoughts, and I cherish that you take the time to share them with me. I’m so glad that we’ve come to a place in our friendship where we can do that, and the subjects themselves become secondary to the point or reaffirming what there is between us. And it’s glorious.
Which is as well, given the amount of time I spend finding or making things which I think might make you happy. Sometimes I see an item and think of you, and it feels so right, with such a strong sense of YOU about it, that I only wish that I could somehow be transported immediately into your world to hand you the whatever-it-is, and sprinkle you with glitter, and give you a hug, before carrying on with my day.
Last but by no means least, my sweet, you make me want to get better at this thing called life. When I’m around you, I want to be able to fling the BS-coloured spectacles from my eyes, and live freely, appreciatively; with care for myself and for others. You make me wish that I was able to untangle the snares of my life without needing to lean so heavily on you for support and encouragement, but you stay by my side and continue to allow me to ask for help.
You. Are. Wonderful.
And I was right – words are utterly insufficient to convey how much you mean to me. Even those three which get spoken more often because of the date on the calendar this weekend, are still not enough to do the job properly. But just know, with all your heart, from the depths of my scuffed and rather fragile one…ohh, don’t make me say it.