subject line: j. May 23, 2015 by Hannah Brencher minneapolis, minnesota Listening to his heart beating late one Saturday night, I had asked myself what I was doing there, laying next to this incredible man whose arm was wrapped around my waist.In two short months, I had met and gotten to know him, a man unlike any other I had ever come across; a man who was affianced to another not so long ago… What on earth gave me permission to take her place in that bed? Why now? What is life intending for me to learn by placing me here with a godsend sleeping peacefully beside me?All these questions unanswered, I tossed and turned, and even shed a few tears of confusion. I felt as if I was intruding upon someone else’s life, considering the evidence was all around me. As if I was previously in some alternate universe and had simply been dropped here, without so much as a warning: soon, my life will change for the better in a way I never thought would have happened in this small hometown, because I was just planning on passing through for the summer. It had always been just me, and now these unfamiliar and captivating and addictive emotions were making me question nearly everything I knew, namely that I thought I had an undetermined amount of time to occupy before I am ready to give of myself to anyone; to “let someone in,” a thought more paralyzing than the words themselves.As far as I was concerned, the act of turning an “I” into a “we” was something to be observed from afar, at a safe enough distance so as not to be too effected, as if it was a contagious disease. No, not I; not the independent, ambitious, free-spirited woman who had a curiosity for life as big as the ocean and dreams that stretched past the horizon. I had been on my own for so long that it was accepted that my life would largely be a collection of moments spent tagging along as the odd-man-out and discovering life as an individual; in other words, the way I had been living. I could, and did, love, but only places and pets and moments; not humans, for they were too unpredictable. I, myself, didn’t even know where I was going (figuratively or physically) or what I wanted out of this difficult and serendipitous thing called life, so why bring someone into that confusion? Wasn’t I doing everyone a favor? Only when I felt ready would I give of the one thing which I guarded most: my heart.But here’s the thing: we are never ready; not fully, anyway. For that promotion, for that conversation with your friend, for that resolution you vowed to keep this year. Life begins when we venture outside of our comfort zone, and it is only after we jump off that figurative cliff that we learn how to build our wings on the way down. Life is unpredictable, so plans, while helpful to have, are always amended as time goes on.His chest rose and fell with every breath, my head in the crook of his shoulder. As the questions floated through my mind, they were interrupted by a realization that was both comforting and dangerous: this chest, deliciously hairy while also broad and warm, was a part of someone who was the epitome of “my kind of man.” This chest was so gravitating to me that I should be afraid I might get engulfed if I wasn’t careful, becoming lost in mindless indulgence. But how could I say no? I was already standing inches from the edge, peering out at the vast depths below.