September 25, 2012

Can’t We Just Wear Sweaters And Hug And Do Autumn-y Things Together For A Fixed Amount Of Time?

I get it, okay? I know what I am. I am not a terribly approachable person. When people bring me up in casual conversation, it usually is something along the lines of “Heidi? Oh, she seems nice. I don’t know her very well, though.” I know, I know — in the spirit of keeping my life free of distractions from pressing priorities at this very uncertain age of decisions, or in the spirit of protecting myself from the kind of love that inadvertently trips into heartbreak, which I don’t have time for, or maybe just in the spirit of ‘it’s been so long since I’ve let someone in I am not sure how to navigate these dangerous waters’ — I have kept mostly to myself. But is it okay if I want to say ‘screw you’ to all those mentalities and recruit a little companionship for the impending fall season? Wait, don’t say no yet, let me convince you.

Autumn sees the return of the pumpkin spice phenomenon. There is pumpkin spice everything. And you know that hazy time of day when it’s dark enough to have eaten dinner but not dark enough to go to sleep? That time of day when you should probably read something, but sitting alone at Starbucks with your pumpkin spice latte is not a conducive environment for reading, it just makes you lonely and wish that all the other lonely people “reading” here would just come and sit with you because then maybe you could finally get some damn reading done, together? Well, I could be your pumpkin spice friend. I could, really.

You know that bittersweet subtlety that only exists on an autumn mid-morning? That impossible-to-pinpoint scent that rides on the new crispness in the breeze? Does it tug nostalgically on your heartstrings like it does on mine? Because I’m not doing anything this Saturday and it’d be nice to spend the morning at Lullwater Park. I can pack us thermoses of coffee spiked with Bailey’s and we could wear boots. We could wear boots so hard.

Hugging somebody you really want to hug is great, but it’s not the best thing ever. Hugging somebody you really want to hug when they are wearing a sweater is even better, but still not the best. Hugging somebody you really want to hug when you are both wearing sweaters? Now that, that’s the best.

I am from Southern California, damn it! This whole shift in seasons thing is still new to me. I get excited about things like hay rides and pumpkin patches, primarily because I’ve never really seen these things. Maybe you haven’t either, maybe you’d like to experience them with me, maybe the smell of hay warms your heart like it does mine. Or maybe you’ve grown up with this. In which case, I implore you to share with me this delicious part of your childhood so that I can look, as though through a window into the house of your past, and adore you.

What else would we do? Oh, honey. How do pool halls and video games sound to you? Red wine and bonfires after a cinnamon-sweet day of hiking? What about ice-skating? Once, I dated an Olympic-level figure skater, but I think skating with someone else who falls would be more fun. The Perks of Being a Wallflower film just came out and, you know, that book played a more significant role in shaping who I am than any other. We could go see that. Is this not exciting enough for you? What about haunted mazes? Don’t tell me you’d rather go to a haunted maze by yourself than with me, that just wouldn’t be true.

It’s sort of the same thing as going to sleep alone. The other times of day, and the other seasons, are rarely spent on your own. But they are also times you do not crave companionship quite as acutely as you do in autumn. The autumn is when the earth is falling asleep, it’s when the trees droop, not unlike your eyelids, and I would really just love it if we could watch the world fall asleep together, before we fall asleep ourselves. This is not a romantic proposition; I’m not asking if we could fall in love with each other. We could love each other without being in love, and I promise that I would be really, really good at loving you.

You’re telling me that I’m trying to break all the rules, that I’m not allowed to play the game like this, but hear me out. I am familiar with the social conventions, the meticulous side-stepping dance that is getting to know someone. Couldn’t we just skip that part? I’m not saying you’re not worth it, I’m saying that you’re better than that. I don’t have a lot of time left here before my next big move, my next restart, and when I say goodbye this time I would love to have somebody to say goodbye to, a reason for me to be reluctant to leave, somebody to wave back at me from the airport. I’m ready and willing this time — just this one time — to give away a tiny bit of myself. You’re just so lovely that I don’t want to waste any of the time we have left on the mundane. On polite. To hell with polite, I just want you. TC Mark

image – Ian Burt

Heidi Liu

Heidi is a twenty-one year old radio journalist from Los Angeles who now lives as an ex-pat in Beijing. E-mail her …