It only takes a stranger to fall in love. It only takes a word to catch their eye, and a name to have something to call them by.
It might be the way you met — you were strangers then. He was unfamiliar. You were something he couldn’t put his finger on. A lost image, one he insisted to find. He smiled when he said your name, and while he brushed his thumb against your bruised knee, you smiled to the sound of his tongue as he rolled your vowels in his mouth.
As you sat there gazing at him, squeezing your palms in between your knees so that they turned blue, you wondered what those vowels would taste once in your mouth too. Lying in bed that night you can’t forget how the light danced on his face as he spoke or the colour of his hazel eyes. You can’t forget how he kissed you, the tempting passion lingering on your red lips. You simply can’t forget him.
You see him. You see him again. Then you see him so more. Memories are exchanged, along with personal information and other pointless things that fascinate you. Suddenly everything matters. You are willingly to talk about anything if it means you can spend another second with him. You love how he speaks. You love his hands and the rough feeling of them on your skin. You’ve learned his body. You’ve traced every line.
You know how he thinks but there is always something more you need to find. You want to understand him. You ask him questions like his favourite colour, the shirt he wore on his last birthday, his take on your friends, whether he liked chocolate, whether he liked your perfume.
Whether he likes you. Whether he loves you.
When he admitted his love for you the words rolled off his lips and when you kissed him they tasted sweet. As you both lay on his bed you whispered that you love him in his ear. You listened to his heartbeat that night while he slept and you knew it was beating for you.
Everything is perfect. He is your everything. You want to spend every waking moment, every breath, and every thought in his presence. You go on walks and you go out. You love driving around in his car singing along to Pink Floyd.
You love how beautiful he looks while he sleeps. You love holding his hand, and when he holds yours how protected you feel. You love wearing his shirt to sleep. You love kissing him. You love him.
You’ve become the same person. You’ve become an “us” instead of a “you” and “I.” You’ve become “you” and “him” instead of two distant strangers.
But there is something wrong. He is yours so why is he speaking to other girls? He is yours so why is he spending time with his friends? He is yours so why is he ignoring you? Why are you fighting? Why doesn’t this make sense? Who is he? Who are you?
He arrives at your house. You are nervous and when the doorbell rings, you jump. You open the door, he walks in and looks around. He feels a sense of sadness. You feel it too and as the tears roll down your pale face you know he isn’t yours anymore. When he leaves you can’t help but blame yourself. You sleep on the floor because the bed smells like him. You avoid the kitchen because that’s where you cooked with him.
You refuse to drive past his house. You stop going to the park. You stop listening to Pink Floyd. You stop laughing but you can’t seem to stop crying. You send him drunk text messages which your friends delete the next day. You keep phoning him even though it goes start to voicemail. Yesterday, your friends told you that he kissed another girl. He has moved on and you haven’t.
You decide to finally delete his number. You delete him on Facebook and unfollow him on Instagram. You keep photos, letters, and cards in a box and hide it away. This helps you grow stronger. You start to experience happiness again. You enjoy moments with friends, you write, you laugh. You’re okay. Your heart has healed and you’ve become your own person. Life moves on, and you’ve finally understood that.
You arrive at a house party with friends. You know he will be there but that’s fine. You think you can handle it. You walk into a room where he’s sitting quietly. You watch him staring at his drink and when he looks up, he sees you too. He comes over.
You say hello to him, he says hello back. It isn’t awkward but it isn’t comfortable. He asks if you’d like to go out with him and his friends later and you shake your head with a firm no. He shrugs and as you walk away you realise he is only a stranger — he’s unfamiliar to you.
Because well, it takes a stranger to fall out of love too.