I used to be a real sucker for words. Even if I didn’t believe them, they could still go straight to my guts. A man who could say flattering things to me sweetly and believably could send me into a flustered happy flurry. I treasured cards and letters and poems and songs.
I’m partnered now with a man who mostly calls me nice. I should say here that “nice” is extremely loaded for me. I have hated being called nice since the 4th grade when almost every student in Mrs. Wheeler’s class wrote “Emily is nice” when called upon to write something about me. I don’t particularly relish “nice” even now.
But flattering words aren’t this man’s cup of tea and I can somehow do a translation trick of hearing “I love you” when he says, “You’re nice.”
And his “You’re nice” is backed by a thousand acts of kindness and understanding that no one with a flattering tongue or flattering could ever even approach.
So even with words that aren’t particularly meaningful, he still manages to give me some of that sweet breath.