THE SOFTEST KIND OF LOVE

  1. I broke up with my best friend a couple months ago after three and half years together.
  2. It has been okay. There wasn't much of a fallout for either of us. We're genuinely still good friends.
  3. But some days, you wake up from a dream where he sits next to you at dinner—just a boring ol' generic place.
  4. And his dream self holds your dream hand under the table and shares his entree and lets you have more than your fair share of the dessert.
  5. I'm only 22 and he was only my first dumb, young love, but I imagine it was the softest kind.
  6. The softest kind of love where you wake up, 18 years old, in that Twin XL dorm bed, a hand firmly holding yours even in his sleep.
  7. The softest kind of love where kisses are too sleepy in the early mornings, so little movements of affection—shins touching, heads burrowing into chests, hand squeezes—suffice.
  8. The softest kind of love that holds up his arms around shy, shy you in daunting crowds, checking softly if you're still doing okay.
  9. The softest kind of love that wants you to sleep in. He gets up early to make the breakfast he will inevitably burn. You'll start the pancakes over together.
  10. The softest kind of love that runs past your tightly closed door after an argument, bear hugs you until you crack a smile.
  11. The softest kind of love that covers your ears in the morning when the alarm clock goes off, always letting you convince him—hey, just five more minutes.
  12. The softest kind of love that gives you the better earbud, the fluffier pillow, the more chocolatey drizzled side of the cake.
  13. The softest kind of love that finds you the sunniest patch of grass on the quad and saves it until you get out of class. The kind that forgets the blanket and lays out his jacket instead.
  14. The softest kind of love that feeds you popcorn during movies, knowing you don't like the greasy feeling on your own selfish fingertips.
  15. The softest kind of love that asks you about your day and listens, does jigs to make you smile on cloudy days, lets you be little spoon even on sunny ones.
  16. The softest kind of love that glances over at you at the library table during finals week, across bags of pretzels and cups of coffee. The kind that reaches over to give you a kiss on the cheek or a shoulder rub. The kind that checks your laptop battery for you, finds an outlet so that you can keep writing.
  17. The softest kind of love that holds your face in his hands as you make the decision to end this crazy, favorite adventure. The kind that doesn't leave for the last time without telling you he will always be there to kill the bugs, share dessert, read your words.