Sit on the back of the bus. Find an empty seat near the troubled blue-eyed boy who lives behind you. Pretend he is an enigma. Pretend to read a book while you glance at him. Watch him light a cigarette while he’s walking home. Pretend he is someone that you must save.
Spend the next four years pining after him but only write about him in your journal. Romanticize him. Make him out to be something more than he is. Envision eight different worlds for the both of you, where in each he is the vagrant drifter and you are the final destination.
Date someone for the first time. Try to feel all of the things you have waited so many years to feel. Sit with him on razor-edged rocks in the woods near your house and tell him you love him.
Realize you don’t really know what that means. He’ll kiss you and say it back anyway.
Experience the physical ache between your ribs after your first broken heart. Skip school for three days. On the third day, get into your car and drive nowhere in particular with the radio on so loud you can feel the vibrations reverberating in your chest. Get drunk for the first time. Hug your friends and listen to them rant about how much of a child he was anyway.
Go to college and plunge yourself into the pool of men. Pick the most arrogant ones. Pick the most callous ones. Let them buy you drinks and call you pretty. Go home with them and be nonchalant. Go home with them and be the girl they want you to be. Go home with them and beg them to let you stay the night.
Decide that love isn’t for you. Go to bars alone and meet strangers. Don’t talk about anything interesting. Don’t tell them about your past or ask them about their mothers. Shrink yourself down as much as you can and let them dive into you. Pretend you do this all the time. Pretend it’s okay when you don’t hear from them the next day.
Move overseas and find yourself in an accidental fling with a foreign guy. Let him take you to all the local places. Let him cook for you in his flat. Glamorize that moment. His paintings scattered around the room, the big balcony, the smell of smoke. Let him bring you breakfast in bed that next morning, but then get scared and tell him you have to leave.
At midnight listen to the walls in your bedroom scream a hundred different names and think about all the different pieces of yourself scattered everywhere. Feel empty. Open the window in an attempt to get rid of all the memories. Take three showers a day until their fingerprints disappear from your body.
Remember that you are made of air, not glass.
Fall in love in bookstores. Fall in love on the train. Fall in love in cafés in all the different countries you’ve visited. Fall in love twice a day. Fall in love for the sake of falling in love. Remind yourself that it is just a passing fit. Open up to strangers thinking that if the world ended tomorrow, at least you would have known what it’s like to be one half of this fleeting whirlwind romance.
One day, meet someone who changes the meaning of the word. Listen to him talk about the universe and the stars and think about the constellation of your lives and wonder if they aligned just so you would meet him there. Think about all the people from your past and combine them. Stitch in all the pieces of yourself that were scattered everywhere and turn them into a patchwork quilt. Wear it proudly. There’s no one here you need to save but you.