To love her is to know her.

mallorca, ballearic Islands, mature couple holding hands at sunsetLook beyond her surface and you’ll understand her. Take off her sunglasses that she hoods her life from, and I promise you her eyes will tell you everything. See past her unnatural smile and you’ll see the natural her. Talk to her, really talk to her, and you’ll learn something new than if you hadn’t said a thing. Give her a second chance, because everyone deserves a second chance. Don’t tell her she’s beautiful, show her she’s beautiful—she’ll believe you more that way.

She’s insecure that she’s not good enough for you, but you know she’s perfect for you. She’s impervious to what you see in her; lend her your eyes and your point of view. She’s been hurt before, but don’t mistake her hurt for distrust in you—she needs you to guide her. She’s declared love to another, but wants to declare it to you. She won’t stop thinking about you, but wants to know that you can’t stop thinking about her too. She likes it when you make her smile, but adores it when you make her laugh.

And when you know her, love her with your assuring hands always by her side.

Gently hold her from behind with your hands around her waist, your head resting on her shoulder. Carefully take a strand of her hair and tuck it behind her ear. Rest your hand on her cheek and kiss her slowly. Hold her hands and thread your fingers through hers.Thumb her tears away when she cries on your shoulder. Hug her warmly when she least expects it. Hold a pen and write her a note signed with your name because you can. Take her left hand and slide a ring on her finger because you mean it when you say you love her.

Lift her children above you with your wiser hands and make airplane noises as they smile heartily. Let her hold you tightly when she doesn’t know all the answers. Offer her your hand in a dance because you know she can still have fun. Smooth her knee when she’s sitting next to you because you know she’s anxious. Straighten her back with your hand when her walking stick isn’t enough. Pat her forehead with a cloth when she’s feeling sick. Carry her to bed and let her hold back your tears and choked words because you know this might be it.

Take her hand one last time and remember through that ring how you saw past her surface and understood her. How you looked into her eyes and saw past her unnatural smile. How you really talked to her and gave her a second chance. How you made her feel beautiful.

This is how you knew her.

Promise her through that ring that your heart is still hers, regardless. Promise her that your assuring hands are still by her side.

This is how you’ll always love her.

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