When I hear the word "love," I see his face. Soft but masculine. His red hair framing his perfect cheeks. I see his lips, and I can feel them against my own. I see his cute little dimples. The ones I poke when he's trying to hide them. I see his nose. He always says it's too big, but I think it's perfect. I see his eyes, which are hard to pin down. Some days they're as blue as the ocean. Other days, they're green like the grass. But most days, they're some comination of blue and green. A perfect balance. I see all the emotion in those eyes. They always give him away.
When I hear the word "love," I smell the scent of his cologne. When I bury my face in his chest, I can smell it the best. I smell the cookies we baked on Christmas Eve. I smell the pine trees in the park we always go to for walks. I smell the cinamon car freshener he keeps between the seats of his car. I smell the candle in his room.
When I hear the word "love," I taste his mouth on mine. I taste the fried chicken we ate on our first date. I taste the mac n cheese we made when it was our first time cooking together. I taste the bread rolls I smuggled out of the prom you took me to. I taste the lasagna we ate for our six month anniversary.
When I hear the word "love," I hear the music from that prom. I hear the song we danced to for the first time. I hear him teach me how to hold a putter at minigolf. I hear his laugh when I miss the hole ten times. I hear the words to the movie we were at when he kissed me. I hear the barks of his dog the first time I went to his house. I hear him telling me for the first time that he loves me on skype. I hear the sound of him ending the skype call, only to have me call him right back. I hear myself saying over and over, "you love me?" and him answering every time with, "yes babygirl, I love you!" I hear myself saying for the first time, "I love you too!" after a couple minutes. I hear the laughter that accompanies us being together. I hear his breathing as we take naps together.
When I hear the word "love," I feel his fingers latching onto mine for the first time, unsure at first, but growing with confidence. I feel his strong arms wrapped around me. I feel the butterflies I felt for the first three months of our relationship. I feel his lips against mine. I feel my head on his chest that rises and falls with every breath as we cuddle on the couch.
When I hear the word "love," I feel him. My boyfriend, my best friend, my confidant, my whole world. I feel the love we have for eachother that somehow grows more and more every day.
Today I saw a little girl with her dad at the ice cream shop. They both had the biggest smiles on their faces! The little girl had chocolate ice cream and pink and red sprinkles all over her face. She was an absolute mess. She had the sweetest little laugh. And her dad watched her lick the chocolate cone, laughing with her. And it made me think of you.
The little girl had just played a soccer game. Her pink uniform had grass stains on it. Her legs were covered in long socks, clearly at least two sizes too big for her. Her hair separated into two small braids with ribbons on the ends. Her dad was clearly the coach. He wore the same uniform, but much larger. His hat read "coach" across the top. His white tennis shoes faded from age. And it made me think of you.
When I got back home, I climbed into the attic and found the box. With a heavy heart, I pulled it down after me. I opened it up to reveal the pictures and memories. I pulled out the stuffed monkey you gave me as a souvenir when you went to China for work. Hugging it to my chest, I pulled out the picture of us that reminded me so much of the father and daughter at the ice cream shop. You had me on your shoulders. My soccer team had just won our first game. You were our coach. You brought me to get ice cream after that game. Tears pouring down my face, I put the contents back in the box. And it made me think of you.
It's January 7th daddy. It's been exactly five years since the accident. I know you sent those people to the ice cream shop. And it made me think of you.