The first time you notice him you won’t really notice him at all. He’s a little bit too short, a little bit too soft in the middle. You’ll feel him watching you when you’re dancing with your boyfriend at a party before you turn around and catch his eye. He’s leaning against a wall, smoking; he looks like Ryan from the OC and he’s ready to be whoever you want him to be (for just long enough that it will break your heart when he goes back to being himself), and he’ll smile at you.
You’ll flick your hair and ignore him, but the whole time you can feel his eyes on the nape of your neck, your tits and ass too, probably. You’ll kiss your boyfriend because you’re into him right now, throw your arms around his neck and forget about the stranger lurking in the shadows. When you finally look back in his direction he’ll be gone, only a blank space of exposed brick where he was, just moments before.
You’ll go back to dancing. You’ll forget about him. You won’t think about him again, not even when your boyfriend leaves you in tears one Sunday morning months later. But he’s still in there somewhere; still leaning against that wall, staring at you like you’re everything.
The next time you see him you won’t remember that it was him against the wall with his eyes all over you, but you’ll think the same of him; a little bit too short, a little bit too soft in the middle. This time is different though, because you’ll get to thinking, maybe I can do short, maybe I can do a little soft in the middle.
You’ll speak to him, be drunk with him, feel his pinky finger edge over from his flattened palm on the bench between you, sneaking towards your own resting hand until they’re touching. He’ll look at you, then, with these eyes. These eyes that are only looking at you, like you’re the only person in the bar, not your friends sitting across from you, not the bartender, not the casually swaying bodies of the strangers around you.
These eyes, his eyes, they’re focused on you and you alone, and you get to thinking these eyes are yours when you see yourself reflected in them so clearly. What you don’t know is that he’s just trying not to lose his balance; he’s just focusing on something, anything, to keep from falling over. He’s matched every drink of yours with two, or was it three? But you are so consumed by this these eyes that mean so much and so little you haven’t even noticed.
The thing of it is, you want this. You’re looking for this. You want someone to look at you and only you like the ground is opening up around you and the only way to survive is to stand on your safe, firm little piece of ground. You created the import of his drunken stare yourself; you selfishly molded it to your hopes, your dreams, your ridiculous romanticism.
What follows is predictable enough. He continues to look at you with those eyes, and you fall in love with the sober hologram you’ve superimposed on him. Never mind the drinking, the smoking, the drugs. You see what you want to see, even though he’s showing you, every day, that all he’s really trying to do is stop from falling over. You’ll continue to think he’s the most beautiful thing in the world, even when you’re undressing him and putting him to bed because he’s too drunk to do it himself.
Eventually, he’ll leave you, probably because he’s smarter than you (at least he’ll fool you into believing he is, but he’s not; too many dead brain cells). He knows what you are capable of giving, and he knows what he can’t. You’ll believe him when he leaves you “to become a better man,” but really, he’s just sticking his dick elsewhere, and it’s too hard for him to say, so you’ll just find out from someone else, weeks later when he’s parading her around in front of your friends.
You’ll be changed by this person; this person who you love so unequivocally, but who is so undeserving of your love. You probably will never be the same again. Now you’re suspicious, sometimes hateful. You’ll think about stabbing him in his too soft middle, of taking a bat to his too short knees. For first time you’ll realize that loving someone doesn’t necessarily make them a good person, and that being a good person isn’t always a prerequisite for your love.
For the first time in your life you’ll start doubting; start thinking that perhaps love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. At least not the way you want it to.