I don’t know why I keep getting all of these romantic words–I use a random number generator to figure out which of the 600+ words in my vocabulary list I’ll be writing about, and then keep generating numbers until I find a word that strikes me as interesting in that moment. The random number generator and my list of vocabulary are conspiring to make me write nothing but sappy mush.
Honestly: I love sappy mush. I find it incredibly difficult to express without dramatic understatement or sarcasm, but I can’t get enough of love stories. I’m particular about them–very particular–but I love reading romance if it’s about characters I care about.
Grand, romantic gestures are fine, but I like stories and poems that explore the smaller moments. Clementine von Radics does this particularly well in number ten of her Ten Love Letters (all of which are lovely, but, as a warning, number five concerns sexual assault):
I know you and I are not about poems or other sentimental bullshit, but I have to tell you even the way you drink your coffee just knocks me the fuck out.
That’s my kind of love poem.
(Noun: from French aubade, “musical announcement of dawn” – it goes back to the Latin alba, the feminine form of white)
A morning love song, or a poem or song about lovers separating at dawn.
Morning light filters through slatted blinds, illuminating dust motes hovering in the air. She snores, mouth slack, a bit of drool at the corner of one lip. Her face is relaxed, her eyes closed, her body curled in on itself until she is almost a perfect C but for her head poking out like the French cedilla.
When she breathes into his face, he wrinkles his nose—she’s never at her best before brushing her teeth. He gets up, moves to the other side of the bed, and slips his arms around her waist. She breathes in, out, and relaxes.