You never see it coming. It’s the kind of infatuation that completely blindsides you, like a slap across the face that sobers you straight up from the drunken, sleepy haze you were wandering aimlessly around in. The kind of affection that comes absolutely out of nowhere with no rhyme, no reason, and no logical source of origin. One minute you’re sitting on the couch, making your beer bottles whistle and kicking each other with bare feet, the next you’re wondering what you ever did to deserve this person’s mere existence in your life.
If it were a disease it would be studied, dissected, autopsied to the end until there wasn’t even a sliver of it remaining for anyone to see without magnification. They, the proverbial “they”, would scratch their chins and marvel at it wondering how it grew and morphed into the total twitter-pation that makes you blush and stress over unanswered texts. It would go into textbooks and be marveled at. People would whisper at the insanity, the absolute ridiculousness of the behavior if it were visible to the naked eye. But instead it stays beneath your chest, eating away at you until the day that “they” can rip you a part one more time trying to get to the bottom of you.
You try to take control, try to wrap your brain around your feelings and make them into something more tangible. You thought you were so strong, so much better than those stupid butterflies that make you smile at turned backs and stolen glances. You were going to be the exception to the estrogen, the woman with immunity. There would be nothing to dissect about you because you would be so above it all.
You pull your hand away in public and never let your legs linger against his for more than a mere second. You run out, shirt still unbuttoned and hair all askew the first time you accidentally let yourself spend the night refusing to answer anyone’s prying questions and refusing to even answer to yourself. If you can just force some space in between the two of you maybe the dull ache of his ultimate non-existence in your life will fade away.
But try as you might to avoid the thing you never saw coming: it’s there. It’s there in the morning when the sun is shining exposing your every flaw, physical or internal. It’s there in the afternoon when even just the sight of a certain book or the chorus of a stupid song makes your brain stop and your heart leap into the back of your throat, distracting you from the everyday things that should be keeping your thoughts away from him. It’s there at night when you’re alone, wrapped up in blankets instead of arms waiting for your phone to light up. It’s there even when it never does.
So you play it cool. You put your phone on silent and you ignore him in bars and try not to let that sly smile have any affect whatsoever on your heart rate. You avoid Tom Petty at all costs and you pretend like you want to flirt with other people when in reality you’re writing essays and word vomit at 1 AM to express the things you would never have the backbone to say out loud. You wrap yourself in bathrobes and silence and various metaphorical armor to keep yourself at arms distance from someone you wish, even if you’re only wishing for a second, but you none-the-less wish would fight to be closer.
You swallow the words that have tried to fight their way out. You take piping hot showers to wash away any trace of your feelings and of him. You down bottles of merlot to put yourself to sleep and just cross your fingers that you’ll be able to count on your dreams to be black and without any ghosts you’re hoping to avoid.
You never see it coming. One minute you were telling everyone how infuriated he makes you with his unbelievably ignorant comments and how it always seems like he’s trying to pick a fight, the next you were holding his face in between your hands memorizing every former chicken pox scar and every fleck of green in his eyes. It’s the kind of affection you always claimed to be immune to, you claimed you were better than.
If it were a disease you would be committed, put into isolation and kept away from everyone. Because you are infected, contaminated, and utterly sick with infatuation.
But for the first time in a long time, you don’t hate it.