She is young, and having a hard time. “Relationships are so much work,” she says. “You and Mary probably don’t even fight.”
Oh. Dear lord. We are Irish and alpha and sentient beings. Of course we fucking fight. Even if she agreed with me all the time, we would fight about the fact that she’s agreeing with me and it doesn’t feel genuine. Conflict is what humans do best.
“What do you do?” she says, when I’ve shattered the illusion of a relationship that doesn’t take work. “What do you do when it’s hard?”
“I have this alphabet game. I name something I love about her for each letter and honestly, you can’t name 26 things you love about someone and still be mad. It just doesn’t work. You remember your person is fucking awesome and you feel a little silly about whatever upset you.”
She looks at me for a long time.
“I’m serious,” I say. “It sounds corny, but it works. It’s a way to get to gratitude.”
I don’t tell her the other part. That I do it out loud. And so Mary gets to hear the 26 things because she should. She should know all the reasons I love her all the time. That’s the work part. Not the conflict. Humans can do conflict in our sleep. Just ask my jaw. The work part is remembering the awesome. Remembering that your person has found you for reasons mysterious and miraculous and that your person loves things about you that you consider weak and broken. That your person loves you in a whole, forgiving way. Because you are beautiful. And so are they. Although B is never for beautiful when I do my alphabet game.