Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Fight

Fights are a common feature of my life. I came from a large and argumentative family. My father gains the advantage by shouting, my mother digs her heels in patient defiance, and my quarrelsome siblings and I were always fighting for rank. Former friends would wear me down with their passive-aggressive tendencies and ex-boyfriends would expect me to bow to their demands without compromise. And I with my strong personality have never been one to let others walk over me.

But you fight like no one else I have ever met.

You text messaged me to cancel the day we had planned. You had just started your shift at work and I was curled up in my sheets trying to sleep in on my precious day off. Never mind that it was five in the morning. I looked at your message with a sleepy broken-heartedness. I felt like our day together was ruined before it even started. I put the phone back down without responding. I didn't want to deal with you. 

A few hours went by and my silence was making you uneasy. You sent another message offering to make other plans but I refused. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the let down but I couldn't hide my anger any more. I finally responded. 

"To be perfectly honest I feel like I started my one day off arguing with you and I am in such a shitty mood already. I don't want to hang out with you today and it kills me to say that."

I soon as I sent the text I burst into tears. This is the part where I speak my mind and brace for the retaliation. I didn't have to wait long for a response but it was not what I expected. 

"I'm going to call you after I get off work, will you answer?"
I started at the message with a weary smile. I knew you were trying and I felt disarmed.
Without hesitating I wrote back. "Yes, I will answer."

You see, I have been told many times about how unpleasant I am to deal with in a fight. I just wanted to be understood. Anger is just the last resort after being polite has failed. Most people go through life trying to hide their feelings to save friendships. But I was more afraid of the relationships I would have if I didn't fight. I wasn't going to pretend that you didn't break my heart. 

In the past when this happened with others they would storm off and call me names. They would arrogantly wait for me to cool down until I was rational again in their eyes. But you are nothing like them. You jumped right into the fire. 

You didn't do it out of fear and you didn't do it because you thought it would appease me. You did it because you cared enough about us to make sure we were still okay. I am not used to this kind of sincerity on bad days and for that you have earned my loyalty. I am a sucker for someone who keeps trying out of the goodness of their own heart. 

You called me when you got out of work and I did answer the phone. What struck me was that the first breaths out of both our mouths were apologies. Our instinct to take care of each other overrides any pain we may have caused. 

After a brief pause you heard me sniffle and wipe some tears from my eyes. 

"Do you want me to come over?" you asked
"Yes, please" 

You were at my apartment moments later and we embraced in the doorway. We sat and talked for hours. We talked until we were both okay again. It was never about what we were going to do that day, only that we spent the time together. It was not the day at the beach I had so badly wanted, but something about sitting across from you in that tiny kitchen in my pajamas with tear soaked cheeks reminded me that our love is one of the most honest and beautiful things I've been a part of. What a treasure it is it be in the company of someone who fights as hard as I do and for the right reasons. 

The following day we found ourselves at your place. After lunch you brought out your guitar, something you are normally very shy about. You played new songs for me until we were sleepy and sinking into the couch cushions. As I laid there with heavy eyes I watched you strum to the sound of the rain falling on the grass. I know my tempestuous heart is safe in your anxious hands, and what a perfectly unique fit it is.

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