How do you touch

A declaration of love.

It's three in the morning. I'm sitting in bed next to you, the screen of my laptop shining on your disheveled hair. One fist is on the pillow next to your head, the other gets in my way. Still - armistice. Your quiet snoring competes with the key noises on my computer. Both of our noises come to a halt now and then - take a breath.

You know and I know why the Eclat happened last night. Targeted depth effect at the push of a button is one of the dubious achievements of our togetherness.

I know where I was ridiculous and where I didn't believe myself. That you didn't do it either deserves an honorable mention, even if I would never admit it to you. You make me angry if you don't take my anger seriously. If you would always bow to her, you would lose my respect.

I want to win. But I also want you to win. I want me to be right and I want you to prove me wrong. I like your surprises; the stubbornness when I expect a simple game, your shyness when others would put their hands on their hips with their legs apart, your combative joke when the world is against you, your sadness about things I wouldn't even have noticed, your loyalty, when i'm not so sure of myself

In general, I still like a lot about you. Even more than at the beginning of our love, when you kept asking me which of your parts exactly I fell in love with. At that time I didn't know much to say besides sweets. I kissed your questions away and the answer was enough for you. Today I would think of more about it. But you don't ask any more. You know that I know that you know The moments in which I love you like an attack don't always coincide with the moments in which you feel adorable and invincible. I love you when you are not ready for it and do not even suspect that you might be pleased. I am moved by your ignorance. Sometimes you know that you are beautiful. It's an effortless beauty and you don't work with it even though you could. You fill out your physicality with pleasure and move on safe terrain. This is how you feel good, feel good, smell good, make you want more. You let yourself be conquered and respond. You conquer and let yourself be reached.

The computer warms my thighs when I don't let you do it. Although - now it is much more difficult for me to remember why not.

I love that you're all yours when you're not all mine. That your mind is its own universe and not an orbiting planet. That nobody can get you down in the long run, not even me. That you take the little things seriously and approach the big things with nonchalance. And that you fight for as long as you believe and let go of it seemingly easily when the time is right.

You tend to your weaknesses with indulgence, and you don't barricade your scars with a bulletproof vest. And you have the decency not to be bored with small business.

I like that our conversations can be limitless. I like even more that they don't always have to be. I don't want to have to say everything. I don't want to have to know everything. I don't want to have to understand everything either. In return, I like to take on your egocentricity, it makes sure that we do not mix up with each other.

You now turn away from me, pull the blanket with you as a matter of course and curl up with relish. I have a little weird rest for my feet. The only way you can get away with this tonight is because I don't want you to wake up now.

I don't want you to understand me; i want you to love me I don't want you to blindly know your way around every depth and depth of my soul. I give you great credit for not always showing that you do it anyway. I want and know that you recognize me in the core. And at the same time I am afraid of it. But that's my fear and it has nothing to do with you. You only use your knowledge for fun and easy terrain gain.

You make me feel safe So sure that I can do better than you. That I can take you and love you. That I can leave myself to you That I don't always need you That I can be with you as if you weren't there. That I can be comfortably know-it-all, sloppy and unjust. That I can fall asleep when you tell me your favorite movie. So sure I know you're there

I like our everyday chatter and I like our silence. I need our symbiosis and our detachment. I love our struggles and our peace of mind. I like that our story is our story. I know that I never had a chance against us. You touch my heart.

I'm shivering and I pull carefully on the ceiling. After awkward searching, you reach for her and turn to me. You blink sleepily at the screen. What are you writing there in the middle of the night? You ask in a hoarse voice. Oh nothing, I say, and double-click the document to elegantly collapse.

Liliane Lerch is a freelance writer; she lives in Twentynine Palms, USA.

This article comes from the magazine NZZ Folio from August 2005 on the subject of "Men". You can order this issue or subscribe to the NZZ Folio.