Loving You Less Than Life*

My husband has been my rock for the last six months or so – quietly there, doing what needs to be done, giving me space when I need it, and holding me close when I crave non-child-related human contact. He makes me laugh, sometimes even on my darkest days, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. 

I struggle with how to tell him that. I’m not prone to declarations of undying love, not willing to say sappy things I don’t feel, and so this conversation we had tonight is pretty standard for our so-called “sweet nothings”:

Me: You know I tolerate the fuck out of you.

Him: I more than tolerate you – I actually love you. 

Me: I love you too. More than you can imagine. 

Him: Do you actually know what I can imagine?

Me: No, and I don’t want to. Fine, I love you less than you can imagine. Satisfied?

Him: Much better.

*From a favorite Edna St Vincent Millay poem:

Loving you less than life, a little less

Than bitter-sweet upon a broken wall

Or brush-wood smoke in autumn, I confess

I cannot swear I love you not at all.

For there is that about you in this light—

A yellow darkness, sinister of rain—

Which sturdily recalls my stubborn sight

To dwell on you, and dwell on you again.

And I am made aware of many a week

I shall consume, remembering in what way

Your brown hair grows about your brow and cheek,

And what divine absurdities you say:

Till all the world, and I, and surely you,

Will know I love you, whether or not I do.

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