I said to the Universe, “Send me someone to love me, please.”
And she did.
He loved me in how he knew to love. A love that started and ended with him, no mirrors or reflections, a new Sol in my universe I was Gaia to, spinning around, caught in an orbit not my own. Some times were filled with light, others with intense and lonely darkness.
I escaped the gravitational pull and found myself still, alone. The quiet was a blanket of comfort. Stars blinked around me, reminding me to dream. Love had been sickening and unending. I did not want to be caught once more.
“Universe,” I said to the stars. “Send me someone who will see me.”
And she did.
He saw me clearly, from pole to pole. His sight brought him smiles and orgasms and laughter and tears. He learned the words to show me the bloodiest parts of myself, and taught me to bend without breaking to take the shape he wanted. I was an instrument he tuned until the only sound I could make was one he craved.
I escaped his craftsmanship and shrunk into myself again, slowly unwinding the tightened strings and overworked wood. I groaned in recovering until my size was mine again and my voice sounded like something close to me. The stars watched my becoming and welcomed me home.
“Universe,” I said. “Send me someone who will love me as I am.”
She smiled and nodded. And she did.
He was not a sun or a craftsman. He moved with confidence and uncertainty, offering a mirror we could both look in. His hands touched my fat body in appreciation, not ownership. He kissed my insecurity, caressed my anxiety, and helped glue together the broken bits of my trust. He offered space for the shattered sharp pieces of trauma and its healing, and asked for it in return.
He watched me stitch myself back together, recover from the sun’s burns, and heal the craftsman’s breaks as I witnessed him open a warehouse of packed boxes filled with stories he had never been able to tell. I listened. I wept. He watched. He cried.
Love took everything and gave everything. It asked for all I had and gave all he had. It laid me hollow and filled me up. My shape didn’t change but grew in invisible and startling ways, stretching to fit all that I had become. There were tears and laughter and pain and joy.
“Universe,” I said. “This is too hard. This isn’t what I want.”
She laughed at me, rounded and full. “It isn’t. It is what you need. Learning is always hard.”
I thought about her words and sat with myself, so full and exhausted. I fingered the scars where blood had once been, admired their spidered patterns, and laid beside my mirror to witness my own heart. It thudded with life I had nearly forgotten.
“Will it get easier?” I asked her.
“No,” she counselled. “It will get different.”
“Until it doesn’t.”
“And in the end?”
I blinked at the universe. She smiled.
“Universe,” I said. “Please let me stay.”
“Oh, my child. You could have left whenever you wanted.”