Maybe I Will Always Love You

Nathan Congleton
Nathan Congleton

I fell in love in a frozen yogurt shop on the corner of Cahuenga and Sunset Blvd.

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but there’s something romantic about the absurdity of such a sentence, don’t you think? There I was, just sampling something as mundane and regular as vanilla or chocolate, or some fruity flavor that never quite lives up to the name, and suddenly the enormity of love just hits me square in the gut. Somewhere between chocolate chips and gummy bears, and cups that weigh too much and hearts that never hold enough, I realize what I’m feeling. And it isn’t hunger.

I didn’t fall in love that night, but our first interaction was accidentally recorded on my friend’s phone (she was recording another one of our friends who was incredibly drunk and entertaining). Meeting you that night and having it end up in the video? That was just collateral damage. Maybe it’s the bullshit poet in me, but it seems almost cosmic. Fate, I always shrugged it off. But I don’t know. With you, I don’t know.

You were drunk and kind of strange, wearing an oversized sweatshirt that completely hid your (later learned) beautiful body. There was nothing about you that night that was entirely special. That sounds cruel, but honestly, you would have been passing thought to most. A guy who knocked a few too many back and approached a group of women. That night, you were just a dime a dozen in Hollywood. But for the first time in so long, I came alive when you spoke to me.

When I laughed, it was that genuine kind of laugh, you know? Wrinkled nose and narrowed eyes. My cheeks were flushed, not crimson or blush, but some bizarrely dewy glow. I looked airbrushed and like I could be in a Pantene commercial, young and enamored. Hell, maybe I did fall in love with you that night. I gave you my phone number, and you nervously fumbled, trying to pull up your contacts, explaining it was a new phone. Flustered and maybe afraid I was going to change my mind, you said, “I’ll just put it in my notepad instead.”

You repeatedly assured me you weren’t a weird guy, and that you understood how awkward this was, and again, totally NOT a weird guy. I liked you already. You made me laugh and smile, and I felt weirdly comfortable. I went home and turned my phone up. No text, and I didn’t really think twice about it. But I had never given away my phone number to a stranger like that before. I told you that too. You were something. I didn’t know what. But now I do.

How we managed to stumble upon each other 6 months later is a novel in itself, but know this much: you have been my favorite chapter. You have been the one I write poems for. You have been the one I want to hate, but can’t find it in myself to do so. With you, I didn’t feel like I was surviving or existing. With you, I felt like shit made sense again. I might always love you, in some way. And I think I’m starting to realize I’m okay with it. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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