1. His name is Grayson and he works at the coffee shop down the street. He looks a bit like Bo Burnham, tall and slender. Dimples when he smiles. I notice him immediately. I spend the rest of my time “writing” sneaking glances his way. I am smitten. I don’t even know his last name.
2. I’m at a birthday lunch for my grandma. There is an open kitchen with chefs roasting peppers and flipping things in pans. I am seated in direct view of them. One is tall with his hat on backwards. He looks like John Krasinski, but like…Turkish. Turkish John Krasinski. I try to listen to the conversation at the table, but I’m imagining us cooking. Like that scene out of Ghost, but it’s chopping vegetables, not making pottery. I discreetly fan myself. It’s very hot inside this restaurant.
3. I go back to the coffee shop and make eyes at Grayson. He remembers my order. I want to faint.
4. He is not a stranger, but he’s not exactly available. His name is a mode of transportation and I reserve a Zipcar when he mentions he needs a ride somewhere. I make it seem casual. Like, oh, this old thing? I already had it reserved. Oh, you need a ride? He has a beautiful girlfriend and I know he will probably marry her. But I am in love with his voice and talent. He makes me nervous and laugh and I think about him when I can’t sleep at night. He thinks of me as a friend. That’s all it will ever be. That’s all I could even ask for.
5. I feel like Grayson is looking at me. I’m too afraid to check. I’m too afraid of fantasy becoming reality.
7. I overhear that Grayson has a girlfriend. Because of course. Of course he does.
8. He’s a brilliantly smart rapper and I decide he’s The One after watching him perform at a music festival. I tweet him too much. I’m that fan. I mention I’m in film school and will help out for free whenever he needs. He takes me up on it. I skip class to work on his music video.
9. The coffee shop closes down. I never see Grayson again.
10. For the first time, Hot Chef notices me. After his shift ends, he approaches and asks for my number. It’s too easy. He was supposed to be poetry, not a real person.
11. Hot Chef picks me up after his shift.
12. Hot Chef kisses me in his backyard.
13. Hot Chef wants to see me all the time. I have lost interest. I have lost interest in everything.
14. The rapper has a concert that I attend. I am so in love. He’s on stage and I’m fucking giddy. I ask him out afterwards. He remembers me from working on set. He says yes. I float all the way home.
15. Hot Chef texts me. I tell him I’m moving to Texas. It’s not very kind, but I’ve been watching a lot of Friends reruns. Yemen seemed far-fetched.
16. I meet the rapper at a romantic restaurant in Los Feliz. He barely maintains eye contact. After an hour, he says he has to go. I’m crushed. I offer him a ride. He says he’ll walk. I vow to never pursue a celebrity crush again.
17. There’s a man at the farmer’s market with blue-grey eyes and I swear, when I see him smile, I hear a chorus of “Hallelujah.” His wife joins him. So does his five year old daughter. From the bottom of my heart, I hope they’re a happy family.
18. A guy on Twitter follows me. I follow back. I DM first.
19. We meet up in Los Angeles. He holds my hand in the back of the Uber. We talk about poetry and music. I like him. I really like him. But what if it’s not enough? What if I only fall in love at a distance? What if this is what I do? What if I change my mind when people get too close?
20. Next time I’m in town, I text him. He doesn’t respond. I am simultaneously hurt and relieved.
21. There’s a new barista. He smiles at me. I start writing poetry.