i don’t know much about love…
but i feel like it should be chaos.
i feel like both parties should suffer, if only to see the other smile.
it’s always a strangely fortunate coincidence, hearing another human being you’ve never met express exactly how you feel, at one specific moment in time.
start developing some new ideas. i have ideas pretty frequently, but they end up just sitting in my head until their expiration date, and then i think maybe they’re still good even though they expired, like, a week ago. so i hang on to them until they’re really bad, and then i feel guilty for wasting perfectly good milk…
hmmm. i need to get my life together :P
don’t talk too much,
it’s a turn-off.
don’t be silent,
he’ll think you hate him.
be honest, be tame,
hope he remembers your name.
guard yourself until the end,
that’s what you need, my friend.
don’t lead, don’t follow,
be sure to walk in-step.
don’t share too much too soon,
save the best for last.
be open, be clear,
don’t linger when he’s near.
be graceful when you bend,
that’s what you need, my friend.
don’t let the unimportant,
have its own parade.
don’t waste time being angry,
it’s probably your fault.
have faith, be strong,
take turns being wrong.
let the colors blend,
that’s what you need, my friend.
look him in the eye.
make him look at you.
see for what there is,
and love what never could.
be constant, be true,
if he breaks your heart in two,
you’re young enough to mend,
it’s what we do, my friend.
he was here.
i opened my eyes and he was right in front of me, rolled over to his side of the bed, dark curls of hair whisking the pillowcase beneath into a midnight merengue. a half-moon cast just enough light through the window above us, just enough silvery-blue light to suspend time, it seemed. authors and poets have written about the spells this twilight can cast.
everything about waking up to him now, his slow and steady breath, the thin white t-shirt he slept in, even the smooth back of his neck, it all somehow seemed continents away, rather than right next to me. he wasn’t supposed to be here, and yet it’s all i’ve been wanting for the last four months.
i stared until the indefinite sense of a dreamscape had eroded from the corners of my eyes. i blinked and blinked, and yet, there he remained. he didn’t vanish like I was sure he would. he didn’t dissolve. he didn’t break apart into a thousand pieces of my yearning to be washed out of the sheets. he didn’t sink into the folds of the blankets that he always kicked to the end of the bed by sunrise.
i wanted to see his face. i wanted to know it was him, and not some horrible subconscious trick my eyes had seen, and my heart had fallen for. so i pulled a hand, shaking with trepidation, from beneath the heavy down and reached for his shoulder. i reached over what seemed like miles of mountainous terrain just to touch him. the bones of his shoulder remembered me. my hand came to them and they pulled toward me with no effort at all. he seemed to move instinctually at my touch, and before long, his head turned to me and i knew everything i cared to know in this life.
there he was, silent and perfect, illuminated by lunar grace and generosity. his face gave me a feeling i hadn’t known since i was a child— the comfort of belonging, security, and of knowing the physical existence of a word that the human race has always taken for granted. soft eyes that, when opened, could singe a hole in any cynic’s armor, if they wanted. eyes so fierce and humbling that with one look, in a second, he could pull my entire world down around me. i’ve never feared something and still wanted it so badly, as i did his gaze.
i began to cry.
i wanted to save this moment and live inside of it until i died. i wanted to wear it in the winter, and bathe in it, beneath the dust and fire of a summer sun. every second that passed told of another that would take a piece of the bliss i was experiencing. every minute was a day that i couldn’t hide us from the inevitable, no matter how hard i tried. hot tears streamed down my cheeks. i knew in my stomach that what we had right now was exquisite because of its fragility, and because it couldn’t be protected.
i clenched my eyes shut, and when i opened them, he had opened his— my sniveling had woken him. his sight traveled groggily from the ceiling above down to the mess he lay next to. as if to put him back to sleep, i found myself holding my breath. he reached and took my face in his palm—
before he knew what he was doing, a sleepy grin had grown across his face. once he realized how i looked, as quickly as it had come, the grin was gone and his brows pulled closer to one another, like two cars hitting head-on.
“i’m fine.” i sniffled, as if to mark my strength and independence.
he brushed the salt from my cheeks, cleared away the bedding between us, and pulled me to him, wrapping his arms and legs around me, like an octopus, so i couldn’t get away.
“no. good dream.”
“ah, i hate when that happens.” i chuckled through the snot and emotional mucus in my throat. he held my head in one arm, and kept me close with the other. i could feel his heartbeat resonating through my ribcage, and couldn’t help but wonder if mine was trying to imitate.
“i feel like i’m still dreaming,” i confessed.
“what do you mean?”
“i don’t know. i like sleeping next to you, and having you here. before i opened my eyes i had this feeling, like i should be alone or something. i guess i forgot you were here.”
“well, aside from the occasional emotional outburst in the middle of the night, i like sleeping next to you as well.” the furrow had dissipated by now. i was still unsure, and he could tell— my expression hadn’t softened in relief like his had, like he was expecting.
“if you think this is an appropriate opportunity to start taking my clothes off…”
“no, no… although…”
we both grinned.
he said this with equal parts sincerity and defeat, and i knew exactly what he meant. we weren’t meant for this. we weren’t meant to fall in love and live happily ever after. we weren’t meant for the white picket fence and all of that bullshit. it was too much pressure, and any time we had to have “one of those conversations”, we always approached our future like a game of ‘chicken’— who would be the first to abandon ship? we weren’t meant to be this important to another human being, yet here we were.
i looked up at him and put my hand to his neck, right beneath his ear— my favorite place to touch him. i felt his skin beneath my palm, and he looked at me like he’d known me his whole life. i could’ve said anything, done anything, and he’d still be there with that look on his face, his dark eyes filling me with every ounce of weight i would need to stay grounded. i moved my hand from his neck to his jaw, feeling the stubble he’d grown the day before, and then to his mouth. his lips were always soft, always pink. to me, every word he spoke sought to keep them just that way.
slowly, his lips parted and took in a couple of my fingertips, to comfort me.
i began to fall asleep again— his arms around me, hands pressed against me, and with his chin resting on my forehead. i smelled nothing but him, felt only his warmth, and yet, my thoughts were pulling me away from my body and deeper into the back of my mind. i became less aware of his presence, and led to believe there was something endless waiting.
i was in a subway car, the doors had just exhaled to a close, and i wasn’t sure where it was going, but i was here and he was there. he was on the other side of the glass, facing me and giving me that look i had come to know so well. he’s the only one who could disarm me so thoroughly and completely. i was leaving him there, alone, but his eyes were calm and his grin was confident. it was as if he knew even my own dream couldn’t keep him from being at the next station.
i could feel the words in my throat.
there was the lull granting passengers their few seconds to grab an empty seat. so much commotion, both inside the car and out on the platform, but he and i were frozen. we remained that way, statues magnetized to one another until, slowly, the train pulled to the left. i felt the blood drain completely from my face, but his expression remained the same.
my pulse quickened— time was running out. these words in my head, loose parakeets i was desperately trying to get back into their cage— i had to get the words through the glass. i had to make sure he could at least read my lips. he had to know my question, because i had to have an answer.
the first time i said it aloud, i couldn’t even hear my own voice inside the car. i looked around at the other passengers and all were busy reading, talking, typing furiously on their phones with wires plugging their ears, or simply ignoring everyone else altogether. i could have set off a flare inside the cabin and i doubt it would’ve gotten so much as a blink. the train was accelerating faster and he, having realized my need to communicate something to him, was jogging alongside the car, a puzzled expression on his face now. i felt myself inhale, hands pressed against the glass, and repeat calmly what i had tried to communicate moments earlier.
frustrated and anxious, my eyes began to well up with bitter tears. i had to say this, and he had to hear it.
running next to a train that was only picking up speed, he kept his face turned to me, the bottom of his white t-shirt flapping against his hipbones. by now he was just trying to stay close to the window. with heavy tears rolling down my face, i beat the glass with my fists and let out a muted roar. he had to know before i left him here. he had to know that he was all i cared about, and that i would die before loving anyone as much as i loved him. our eyes connected, and i knew this was my last chance to keep him before entering the tunnel, so i summoned every ounce of strength in my lungs and screamed until i thought my throat would burst.
i woke as soon as he heard me. i saw his face change, he stopped running, and the subway car pulled me from him completely. it felt like everything, even the blood in my veins, had changed course.
when i opened my eyes, the bed was empty. the sun had just mounted the horizon, and there, in the earliest moments of reality, when memories of the night’s treasures are supposed to be washed away with the consciousness of a new day, i found myself pleading with the past for something he’d left behind. i looked for a hair on his pillow, felt for warmth on his side of the mattress, or a whiff of him that i could keep hidden from my own better judgment.
i never found anything.
it was as if he had only existed in my dream, or worse, not at all. it was with him that all of my youthful notions of love and longing were taken. it was with him that i learned and forgot how to feel these things. he was his own beginning and end for me, and it is the most peculiar feeling— to long for something that never existed in the first place.
my dreams are less vivid now, and i am glad for it.