I had never planned on falling in love with an explorer.
I had no idea how to prepare for such a thing. I had believed love would always be messy and painful and a terrible thing to find yourself in. Explorers love the adventure. They don't give their heart to anything but the wind and wherever it wants to carry them next. How does an explorer fall in love when they've been in love with the unknown since the day they were born?
But how quickly your lips became the only place I ever wanted a kiss to land. How incredibly fast was the decision in my heart to follow you into oblivion if you so chose. Your tendency to run first and look later has always had my stomach in knots. But I would be a fool to let go of your hand.
I began this journey with you intending to love you even if you never loved me in return. Even if I was the only one risking my heart, I told myself I didn't mind. That loving you was a privilege. That loving you would be galaxies better than not. Your mind is complex and its depth is immeasurable. I wanted to walk among the forest of your soul for as long as you would allow. I swam in your stories of discovery and music and I pretended like I could make a home there. I could hide a piece of myself in your many layers and then even if we ended, a part of me would be with you always. I loved you without being careful. I loved you foolishly and obsessively. I loved you in all the silly ways a girl loves a boy.
But then you started to love me back and a new chamber of my heart began to beat for the first time.
Being loved by you has been the grandest adventure of my life.
You love me the only way an explorer can. You love me in the questions and the lines drawn and crossed. You love me in your constant quest of getting my laugh, my smile, my joy. You love me in your careful yet unrepentant challenges to my comfort zone. You love me in the push.
Sometimes you reach for me in the middle of the night, just to be sure I'm still there. It wakes me, and I don't mind. Because it's a midnight reminder that you even think of me in your dreams. A thing I never expected, but now find I don't want to live without.
As time passes, I grow more accustomed to your ways. It doesn't scare me when you ask to see inside. Because, even though you may appear to be a brash and bold conqueror of things unknown, you are gentle with me. Protective. You stand guard outside my heart and you will fight to keep the dark from penetrating.
And these actions have only made you more desirable to me. I never grow tired of the new discoveries I make as you let me shamelessly explore the forest of your existence. I had no idea a person could be so complicated and vastly beautiful. If I go too long without seeing you, I begin to crave you. The way a person craves fresh air after having been penned inside for too long. I need your ideas and words and dreams. I need to feel you growing and building and exploring.
And you give yourself to me.
I know I'm the only one allowed to see the raw and untamed portions of your heart. I know that I'm the only person allowed to run with you, side by side. Take me with you always.
As we grow older, I realize how rare it is what we've found, what we fight for. I am thankful. I am humbled. And I am very much in love. With you.
I never planned on falling in love with an explorer. Looking back, how could I not?