The other day was Valentine’s Day and I hardly noticed. It went by like Easter does, a blip on my radar. Jim suggested doing something special so we took a hot yin yoga class with “Thai touch”.

The teacher was Patty, a tiny, spry older blonde wearing a tank top that had the word “Blessed” scrawled across in large, curly letters. She and Jim knew each other from working in the wellness world on the Cape and the two cheerfully caught up together. 

The class opened with a deep stretch to the groin and I sank into it like a hot bath, riding the line between pleasure and pain. The kind that lets out a long, drawn out sexy sigh. The story is it opens the root chakra. 

This energy and effect of slow, deep, long, and opening stretches that live between pain and pleasure continued the rest of the class. It’s a line I know very well, its scent is nostalgic. 

During each stretch, Patty tended to us students by placing her cool hands on the body and gently pushing the limbs to where they needed. I relaxed into her clay-like hands. 

When Jim and I returned home, he cooked us some Singapore noodles and we watched a few episodes of the newest season of Black Mirror curled up on the couch. My neck was craned at an awkward angle and my body kept falling asleep. I wiggled around like a worm. 

When the credits rolled, I asked Jim if he wanted to watch the next episode and he declined and instead started saying really sweet things to me: all the things he wanted to do with me and for me. His eyes were tearing up and his face was flushed. I was confused. 

He thanked me for keeping that part of me wrapped up tightly and hidden deep, deep inside; that part that held onto the goodness, the truth, until the right time to open it back up.

I was speechless. I searched his eyes, wanting to know why he was saying this to me – what was the catch? I didn’t get it. And as I stepped back, I saw myself, a hurt, scared girl, searching for why someone could be so loving to me and so suspicious of loving words. Feral. 

Reflected in Jim’s eyes was openness. There was none of the intention I was seeking. He was just speaking what was there. It was then that I allowed myself to let it in. I let it sink into me and I also relaxed into it. I relaxed into a love that I didn’t know existed for me. I had just never even fathomed hearing such nice words before, would never have been able to dream up those words. No one had ever said something like this to me before. Is it possible someone can love all of me so much? 

I asked in between sobs, “So you don’t think I’m broken?”

It is such a cliche and until the question bubbled up in me, I didn’t know that this was how I saw myself. 

Jim’s words touched me somewhere so fucking tender. Like the tiniest, most gentle kiss somewhere even past my heart, but straight to the root of the heart, where it gets its pulse. Burrowed deep within the organs and only able to be spotted in the interim between heart beats, when the heart contracts. And if you know what to look for, there it is, tiny, glistening, and hot, this blood red, dark heart of the heart. And that’s where he kissed me this night.

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