It starts with an ease you’ve been craving for so long. Just two people. It’s not complicated or messy. You’re enjoying getting to know one another, the touching and kissing that comes along with it. You aren’t consumed with a heaviness that they will leave. They don’t put too much upon you, don’t ask for more than you’re capable of giving.
Humans are, by nature, social creatures and being with this person reminds you why that is. It’s better now. It feels like you’re better.
But it’s not love. No. You won’t label it as such. They will pull you close one night, make a joke about something you said a long time ago, and everything feels warm. They listened. You forgot how that feels. When someone so wonderful looks you in the eyes and listens. Suddenly, it’s like your tongue has swollen and you don’t remember your own native language. You can’t speak. Only smile and blush, refuse to admit this feels familiar.
But it’s not love. You buried that word a long time ago. You aren’t ready for resurrection. Not yet.
The simplicity you feel with them begins to change. You can feel the strings attaching and it doesn’t matter how fast you pull out your scissors, they keep popping up. So eventually, you put them down. You know what’s happening. But maybe you just won’t say it out loud. You won’t admit it. No. Not yet.
And then, you have the night. It’s the one movies make seem so dramatic. As if a crescendo of music will come sweeping in and a lightning bolt of, “YES, I’M IN LOVE” hits you in the middle of Ikea. It could. But for most of us, it’s something much smaller. It might even be lots of little things adding up.
But you have the night. This person who has somehow snuck into your heart is upset. Something has happened. Maybe it’s a small tragedy. Or perhaps a very grand one. One you aren’t prepared to deal with. They are grieving, not putting up a wall to shut you out. They put out a hand to you, and you realize how much your heart hurts when theirs does. Your soul wants to cry right alongside. And the messiness you had been avoiding becomes inevitable. The glass walls are crashing down and you can see how real it will be if you walk inside. You aren’t just two people being casual any more. You are two people who have invested in one another. You care. You genuinely care.
And the thing you refused to acknowledge becomes the elephant in the room.
You love. And you can’t deny it any longer.