When you’re cracking your knuckles, not by bending your fingers back or crunching them forward, but by pulling and twisting at the joints. It makes my skin crawl and I shoot you that look, a sideways glare with a raised eyebrow. You say sorry, then crack one more knuckle before you stop.
When I’m preparing food and you stand close behind me, sliding your arms around my waist and kissing my neck. I stop what I’m doing because it makes me nervous to be so distracted when I have a knife in my hand. You know how I get about knives.
When you’re carrying our ancient cat around and showing her things on shelves she can no longer climb up to. Even with all their size and strength, your arms can protectively cradle this tiny, fragile creature and I remember my mother describing you as a gentle giant.
When I’m feeling anxious so I curl up next to you to hide from the world and you read the internet to me. It doesn’t matter if the stories are about animals who find their way home after being lost for months or unexplained mysteries of the wilderness. What matters is your voice. It’s like valium and the kindest electricity.
When you’re wearing headphones and you don’t realise you’re singing along to whatever you’re listening to, but you are and it’s beautiful. You don’t sing in front of anyone and I don’t play the piano in front of anyone, but we talk about doing these things together, away from everyone else, just for us.
When I’m lying behind you in bed and I rest my face against the warm expanse of your back, comforted by the absolute solidity of you. If truth could wrap itself around muscle and bone, it would settle in the structure of your shoulders and all that they have carried.
When we’re driving away from home and I ask for the fourth time if you’re sure I locked the door because I don’t remember doing it, and for the fourth time you say yes, without a trace of impatience. Even though I do this every time we go anywhere. Even though I never forget to lock the door.