A prayer for anyone bitten by the poison of irresolution: those haunted by a past of why did I and face what ifs that can tear souls apart.
When we first shook hands, I wasn’t myself: newly aged out of my teenage years and on an escapade in a foreign city to celebrate the ending of the decade while brazenly welcoming the next. I was a wide-eyed and lost in a fantasy world I had fabricated, one in which I could be impulsive, bold, and carefree. I remember the gin and tonics, red wine, and whisky – each one bringing you into the chaotic whirlwind of my imagination. We talked. Your sophistication captivated me. You rambled on and on but I listened for anything and everything I wanted to hear. And I liked what I heard: the details of your years in Paris and London, your taste in music and knowledge of art, and just the way you had everything so thought out and settled. I sunk into your words, swimming in the melodies of your voice.
I realized it must have been the wine when I found myself lost in you. But did liquid courage explain that fluttering comfort I had whist wrapped in your arms with your lips on my neck? Or was it those whispers in my ear that drew me – your murmurs tainted by that mysterious accent? Either way, you found your way into my head and you seemed to be everything I thought I wanted and I let myself go. Our movements were organic, effortlessly flowing into the next as we found ourselves stumbling into your flat, somehow pulling our lips apart for just long enough to let our clothes gather into forgotten puddles on the floor.
Days went on: yours firmly grounded in the reality of daily routines while mine were filled with carefree idleness as I pranced around looking for my next great adventure. Despite all the mesmerizing places I visited and all the enchanting individuals I met, in the dark of night my mind drifted to you and my body longed for your touch – your kisses down my ribcage and the weight of your limbs as they interwove with mine. The words you groggily uttered the morning I left still lingered in my ear: “Forget the coffee, forget your train, come back to bed and just be with me. That’s all either of us needs right now”. I’ll never know what would have happened if I stayed, if I just pretended we were in love and laid with you in the blissful island that is your bed.
But that’s just all it would be: pretending. Pretending that we knew each other for more than four days, pretending that this could last or that we would even try to make it last. Despite the exotic allure of finding love in a foreign place, reality always steps in and reveals just how unrealistic and ridiculous said fantasies are. And finally I realized the futility of lamenting on the all the what ifs that plagued me because the truth is that I will never know whether we would work out and that’s okay. It is in that ignorance that my fond memory of you is preserved, remaining pristine from the wondering and romanticizing of what could have been.
Because what we were for those short days was breathless and beautiful.