Inspired by the song Just The Way You Are By Billy Joel.


I can only smile, as I sit at the edge of our bed and watch the blurry half of you I see through the crack of the bathroom door. You're leaning over the sink, fiddling with your hair, running your fingers through the back where you're conscious of the thinning. I reach for my glasses at the bedside table and slip them on, running a hand over my own hair—these days it's short, the springy curls peppered, and my retreating hairline still making a rush for the hills as though bee-lining from some unseen foe. Time I guess, is what it's trying to dash away from. It is the same unfriendly who has put this gut on me, as I look down at it and give it a little poke. Then again, maybe that's just your cooking. You know us country boys do like our food more than is good for us, I suppose. At least I don't feel too bad, because we're a matching pair, although it always seems to me that you can pull your paunch off exceedingly better than I could ever hope to. You just look gorgeous under any light, Chris, and I'm the lucky one to have you.

I wish you'd stop messing with your hair too, by the way. I don't like the way you eye all those tiny boxes when we walk past the pharmacy in Wal-Mart—yeah you think I haven't noticed your brilliant cobalt eyes looking lustily at the hair coloring. You'd probably get grumpy about it if I told you I liked it just how it was, completely metallic, like polished steel. It's like a crown, signifying the silver fox you are. I wouldn't want you to change it, ever.

I keep watching, now I can see your reflection in the mirror over your shoulder. You're so involved in what you're doing, that I guess you can't feel my eyes keep silent vigil over your daily morning activities. You're running your fingertips gently over your face, finding each line and crease and frowning at them. I don't know why you're so critical about it. I love the way the little webs at the corners of your eyes crinkle when you smile, or the way the threads of your brow deepen when you launch into somber thought. I really like how you have that one dimple, the one you're poking at right now as you make faces at yourself. It's there because you always smile with only half of your lips when you're up to something, or feeling cocky, and you know that smirk still melts me.

Chris, you're such a kid. I can't hardly keep the giggles behind my lips as I press my palm against them, watching you frown as you try to suck in your belly and it does very little. I can't help but roll back on the bed, my back and hips aching as I writhe around, stuffing a pillow over my face in attempts to smother my laughter away. It doesn't work so well, and I only manage to smash my glasses into my face, and inhale part of the pillowcase—which sounds off a loud, unattractive snort. No doubt that will have you poking your head out from the bathroom, and quirking your eyebrow, to see what your idiot husband is up to now.

I'm right, I know it I can feel your eyes on me without seeing them. They always make that shiver trace up and down my spine. You're just so damn good. My suspicions of being found out are further confirmed, as I feel the bed dip, and you curse about your knee as you must have leaned on it the wrong way. I can sense you creeping closer, and your hands wrap around the pillow I'm intent on suffocating myself with, and move it away.

You're leaning over me now, the stern look on your face doing little to help with my laughing fit. I quickly manage to swallow the giggles away—well sort of. They're still bubbling up in my chest and throat, threatening to throw off the façade of seriousness I've washed over my face to mock yours.

"Matt, what are you doing, assclown?"

I can't answer you as my lips quiver, fighting with the gale of silliness that wants to explode from them. You just keep staring at me like that, as if I've grown a second head after all these years, and it's winking an eye at you. You lean in a little closer, shifting your eyes back and forth as though someone might be hiding behind our curtains watching, or maybe they've bugged the ceiling fan above our bed.

"Were you…watching me?"

The way you say it just sounds so paranoid, and I can't keep anything in any longer. The laughter explodes out, spraying you with a mist of saliva as you squeeze your eyes shut and move back, wiping your palm over your face as I lose myself to so much hilarity that my ribs and stomach hurt from it. I'm too old for this shit, and yet I hope you never stop making me laugh, Chris. I love you so much.

"I was gonna get a shower, but preferably spit-free." You say, rubbing at your eye, and then leaning close to kiss my laughing mouth.

Oh, baby you're still the same after all these years—the touch of your lips still mesmerizes me. The creeping hands of time might have brought age to both of us, but none of it matters to me. Our hearts are still young, in love, in tune, and that is a thing which causes the sands of eternity to stand still, in shocked awe. Those miniscule grains that tumble steadily through the pinched middle of the hourglass are too humbled to even consider marring a treasure often sought out by the masses, and discovered seldom. Only a select, blessed few, find that one person who makes the world become so small, that they're the only ones in it.

So Chris, just keep loving me with that passion, and unwavering heart of yours. It's the one that beats in perfect sync with mine as our chests press close together, and I feel you. I feel you so deeply, and nothing on the outside will ever lessen that quiet inner touch, that fills me—that frees me—soul dancing with kindred soul.

Please, don't change yourself. Don't ever, ever change.