I think love is weird.
Love is asking ourselves to be intimate and vulnerable, but at the same time, brave. We hope for acceptance and commitment with no guarantee of it, just faith and hope in the other person. That they’ll do the same.
To be in love, we ask ourselves to be an amalgamation of our greatest fears and most compelling desires; a recipe for disaster almost every time. And so in 20 years of walking, running, and laughing on this earth, I have yet to find the opportunity to develop the perfect ratio of each — the recipe of being in love.
But don’t get me wrong, dear reader, I think about it from time to time.
Sometimes, I think about it when I see two people, walking down the street, hand-in-hand, blissfully unaware of those around them. It’s always on that all-too-serene Sunday morning, as I am scurrying home from grabbing black coffee, in my worn-in grey sweatpants and messy hair up in a bun, with under eye bags to match that I’ll only know the origins of from the Snapchat stories of the night before.
Maybe it sounds like fun, but I’m wondering when it’ll feel all-too-familiar and yet like a foreign wonderland. And seeing that couple walking together, I wonder, for a brief moment, what it would be like to experience that. Because although I digress that I’ve done much more than holding hands, nothing speaks more volumes of comfort and quiet confidence than walking on a busy street with the love of your life on Sunday morning, sunglasses to cover the sins of Saturday and a smile to outshine the rest.
Other times, I think about it when I’m snuggled up in bed. Toes all tucked in and old sorority shirt rumpled, I stare intently at my computer screen, watching a rom-com I’ve already memorized the lines to. As the final credits roll, and I am in tears, a smile, or a familiar combination of both, I imagine being the lead. Finally experiencing the so-called “true love” I had hoped for with the boy of my dreams, I walk down the underfunded hallways that reek of high school regret and will continue to do so long after me. But I snap out of that one when I realize that high school is not an reverie meant to be relived by those who are sane and growing.
So, sometimes, when it’s really late at night, and the hues of pink and orange that remind me of a summer sorbet have sunken into the earth and what remains is the darkness that signals the light of the next day — I think of you. Of course, it’s only a crush, so fated in the stars to never really happen. And right now, I’m trying to be okay with that.
Because in the break-up playlist of growing up, I believed that doing all the things that constituted physical intimacy would be an eraser for the black mascara stains of emotional wounds. The memories that I harbored in longer than an old grudge.
But one day, I had done everything with one person, and then the next, and then another, until I realized the only thing I had undone was the buttons of his shirt, not the cracks of the faltered emotions and hopeless commitment on my soul.
And even at 12:29 am, it’s hard to write out words like this because in the back of my little nugget brain, is the thought of you.
It rings through my mind like a bell tower on a momentous day, or the sound of a dropped pen in the middle of the test room. The memories of your boyishly handsome smile, the way your eyes crinkled as you laughed at one of my bad jokes, or the way your voice sounded when you said the letters that make up my name — how all of that sounded, looked, and felt, like liquid gold in the consistency of honey — I can’t seem to let it go.
And so at 12:31 am, I lie on my bed and I think of you. I allow my mind to wander into old alleyways and dumpster dive into the thoughts I tried to hide every time I saw you. The thoughts that I tried to hide from myself. I’m so used to ignoring the feelings of I like you that I confuse the look of hunger and lust for love.
But, at 12:33 am, I remind myself that I am working on change. While it’s never been my favorite dish to admit that change is the path of least resistance, I’ve realized that I want to experience being in love, not merely write about the forest that is the path to get there. And maybe one day, you will just be my go-to distant memory that my mind likes to bring up before bed.
For now though, I’ll continue to let my mind wander and roam through the streets of the association areas I call memories until I find myself falling off to sleep. Where my mind goes then, I can only imagine, but I can’t help but hope that it goes to a future in which my head, heart, body and soul all belongs to someone who carries it tenderly and looks at it like treasure, not a penny on the sidewalk of the city I call home.
For love is the maze in which I am still finding the exit door to, slowly crawling my way into its depths from which I hope to learn more about myself, the world, and why I have these thoughts about you.
– 12:36 am