To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter by Jesse Parent
When I asked you for a Chai latte, what I meant to say was: ”I was walking past. I saw you in the window. I only came in here because I had to know what your voice sounded like.” But instead of saying that… Instead of saying that, I got really nervous and just ordered the first thing on the menu. I don’t even know what the fuck “Chai” is.. Or a latte, for that matter. When God made you, He cussed for the first time. He turned to an angel, gave him a high five and said: “Goddamn, I’m good!” You are that beautiful. I spent the last five days tryna figure out how I’m gonna introduce myself to you properly, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. It’s gonna be something like… “Hi.” That’s all I got so far, but I think it’s a good start.
You see, I want that… I want that my friends think I’m crazy kind of love. That reckless kind of love. That wake up early, make you breakfast kind of love. That crack open my life and say look, you gotta see this kind of love. Forget the shallow stuff, I want the deepest kind of love. That I want to stay up and tell you all my secrets kind of love. That every time I see you, I fall to pieces kind of love. I want that stand next to me kind of love. That you are my destiny kind of love. That no matter what happens, you always get the best of me kind of love. That you get my heart and my mind, this world gets the rest of me kind of love. That invest in me kind of love, because you already know that I’m invested in you kind of love. That you come home upset, you don’t have to say nothing, I already know what to do kind of love.
I want… I want love.
I want you to bite my lip until I can no longer speak. And then suck my ex-girlfriend’s name out of my mouth just to make sure she never comes up in our conversations. I want you to come to me like an afternoon, come to me slowly as if you were a broken sunset with a lazy sky on your shoulders. If you let me be your sunlight, I promise that I will penetrate your darkness until you speak in angel wings. Pull me close to you, tell me that you love me, and then scratch your future into my back so I can be everything that you live for. I promise that I will die for you daily and then resurrect in your screams. I promise that I will love you.
I promise that I will love you as if it’s the only thing that I’ve ever done correctly. I’ll be honest, I’m usually not even a love poet. In fact, every time I try to write about love, my hands cramp. Just to show me how painful love can be. And sometimes our pencils break just to prove to me that, every now and then, love takes a little more work than planned. See, I heard that love is blind, so I write all my poems in Braille. And my poems, I never actually finish, because true love is endless. You see, I’ve always believed that real love is kinda like supermodel before she’s airbrushed. It’s pure and imperfect, just the way that God intended.
You see, I’m gonna be honest, I’m not much of a love poet. But if I was to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that I really wanted to write about love, my first poem… It would be about you. About how I loved you the same way that I learned how to ride a bike. Scared, but reckless. With no training wheels or elbow pads so my scars can tell the story of how I fell for you. You see, I’m not much of a love poet. But if I was, I’d write about how I see your face in every cloudy reflection in every window. You see, I’ve written a million poems, hoping that somehow, maybe some way, you’ll jump out of the page and be closer to me. Because if you were here right now, I would massage your back until your skin sings songs that your lips don’t even know the words to. Until your heartbeat sounds like my last name. And you smile like the Pacific Ocean. I wanna drink the sunlight in your skin.
If I was a love poet, I’d write about how you have the audacity to be beautiful even on days when everything around you is ugly. I’d write about your eyelashes, and how they are like violin strings that play symphonies every time you blink. If I was a love poet, I’d write about how I melt in front of you like an ice sculpture every time I hear the vibration in your voice. Or whenever I see your name on the caller ID, my heart… It plays hopscotch inside of my chest. It climbs onto my ribs like monkey bars, and I feel like a child all over again.
And I know that this is gonna sound weird, but sometimes, I pray that God somehow turns you back into one of my ribs just so that I would never have to spend an entire day without you. I swear, I’m usually not a love poet, but if I was to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that I really wanted to write about love, my first poem… I swear that it would be about… It would be about you.
And after all of that, she was like, “So how do you feel about me?” And I was confused. I said, “Let’s put it like this…” I want to be your ex-boyfriend’s stuntman. I want to do everything that he never had the courage to do, like… Trust you. I swear that when our lips touched, I could taste the next sixty years of my life.
See, last night, I had a dream. And in this particular dream, I died in my dreams, woke not knowing I was still sleeping, decided to walk. You see that night, I walked in my sleep, I slept in my walk, I walked backwards until I saw you for the first time, and I could barely muster the courage to introduce myself all over again.
You see, I’ve been trying to find the right words. I’ve been trying to take the right steps for what seems to me like thousands of years, but something always seems to go wrong between us. We lived in Egypt, I was the Pharaoh’s slave, you were his daughter. Loving you led to my death, they claimed that I seduced you, and after they stole my life, I was resurrected as a mason. I made the foundation for your house. We met eyes for two seconds, you left, and I didn’t see you again until I died. I came back as a caterpillar. I turned into a butterfly, I landed in the palm of your hands, you brushed me away, and the rejection killed me. When I awoke, I was a kick drum, you were a snare, we were both owned by this drummer named Cozy Cole, and when he died, so did we. But I came back just to look for you. I left notes in random places, hoping that you would stumble across them. I carved our names in trees, and then prayed that it would jog your memory. I whispered your name in the wind, hoping somehow, maybe some way, my voice would reach you, but it didn’t, and I died. I died early. I died young with breadcrumbs in my hand just hoping that you would find me, but you never did, so they buried me. And when they buried me, they put these coins over my eyes, and I used them as bus fare to get back to Earth, just so I can look for you. That’s why sometimes, when we hold hands, ever so often, I tend to hold on a little too tight, and I’m sorry. I just don’t want to lose you again. My mother told me, when you find the perfect woman, you do whatever it takes to make sure that she’s next to you.
Not all men are like that
But that man was.
And he turned you into a statistic
Of women that were ignored by a criminal justice system
That just doesn’t care.
Not all men are like that
But because of the men that are,
You had to tell them what clothes you wore
In case your baggy tshirt was what provoked him
Rather than the fact he had grown up assuming that ‘no’ was an invitation for negotiation.
Not all men are like that
But because some are
I have a rape alarm in my bag
And keys in my fist
In case the man that cat called me as I walked home
Decided to take what he thought was his.
Not all men are like that
My father in law isn’t,
My brother isn’t,
My baby nephew, I hope to a god I don’t believe in, won’t be,
But some men are,
And that’s terrifying enough for me.