2017. It was the last week of November, a few days after your birthday. I remember you stayed the night for the first time, and the Christmas tree in my bedroom stood witness as I laid there, wide awake, listening to your lungs convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. I spent hours watching you by moonlight, and admiring the way that you looked when you were asleep; Your unconscious was an insomniac’s dream. I remember fighting with myself, resisting the urge to throw my arm over and pull you closer to me. I knew if I did, it would change everything.
I remember the next morning, you were supposed to leave early because you had volunteered to help out at a church. However, God must have heard my prayers. When we woke, the sky was falling in sheets of white, and covering every intention you had of escaping with the sunrise. I shattered you halo of good intentions with my selfishness. I wanted to keep you with me. I convinced you to stay. So instead of feeding the hungry, you spent several hours next to me in my bed, binge-watching Netflix. Despite the snow collecting on my windowsill, we couldn’t keep the fireworks out of our eyes every time we looked at each other. Temperatures were below freezing outside but my bed was as warm and comforting as a summer night. I was fascinated by how easy it was, laying there with you, hell-bound. We didn’t touch each other once, but we both knew we wanted to.
Seven hours later, after the roads had finally cleared, you collected your things and you left. When you did, you unknowingly took a part of me with you. In your absence, my own bedroom no longer felt like home. I didn’t want to be in there without you. I remember how confused I was, after I heard the crunching of your tires in the snow and the engine of your truck fade off into the distance, along with my sanity. I remember locking myself in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of that bathtub, and bawling my fucking eyes out. I cried harder than I had cried in years, and that was the moment I knew: My organs were involuntarily invested.
For the very first time, my brain and my heart both wanted the same thing:
I remember I cried and cried because I knew there was no going back. I knew that I was going to have to be vulnerable, and let you in, in ways that I had spent my entire life mastering keeping other people out. They say that by the time you realize you’re falling, you probably already fell. As I sat there on the edge of that bathtub, I knew I was in over my head. I eventually found my way back into my bedroom, plugged in my Christmas tree, and made a wish on every damn bulb on that string of lights that I wouldn’t regret loving you.
Since then, I think it’s safe to say that we burned every single one of those light out together. But I admit, it was me who set that whole damn tree on fire, watching it burn like a roman candle. I was just desperate to see the sparks fly, one last time. I know we were both scarred by the flames. And for that, I truly am sorry. But I swear, loving you was the bravest thing I ever did. Together, we lit up the whole damn sky. It was so unexpected, so out of place.
Loving you felt like Christmas in July.