Move to another country. Find a job. Notice him the first time he comes into the office. Tell your friend you think he’s cute. Spend your time staring at him wondering if he notices you.
Weeks later let your stomach drop when your friend sends you a message saying he likes you. Let her set up drinks even though you’re seeing someone else. Try not to get your hopes up. Play it casual. Drink more than you should to take the edge off. Let everything else in the room fade away. Look at the way he moves his hand when he talks. Wonder if he’s nervous. Know he’s nervous. Be pleasantly surprised at how much he knows about you. How intently he listens to everything you say. Get lost in the conversation. Realize you need to leave to catch the last train. Hate that it has to end. Feel his arms around you and rest your head on his chest. Breathe him in. Not want to let go.
Forget that you’re supposed to belong to someone else. Get excited every time you think about him. Tell him you want to see him again. Make plans. Ask if you can stay over. Tell him it’s because the last train home is so early. Pretend you don’t know what you’re really asking him. Be relieved when he says yes.
Change what you’re wearing ten times. Try to find something that makes it look like you’re not trying too hard. Redo your makeup. Straighten your hair again. Let him take you bowling even though you are terrible at bowling. Be glad he doesn’t let you win. Go back to his place and watch a movie. Spend more time watching him. Notice the gap between you. Take note that he never moves closer to you. Admire the fact he never moves closer to you. Hate the fact he never moves closer to you. Wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Let yourself drown in his eyes when he turns to face you. Think about how much you want to kiss him. How much you want him to kiss you. Long to feel every part of him against every part of you. Break your own rule and make the first move. Taste him. Wrap yourself around him. Give in to the feeling.
Wake up to him looking down at you with your head on his chest. Kiss him. Think about how much you would like to do that every morning. Hate when he says he has to go. Feel conscious of day-old mascara under your eyes and your uncombed hair. Revel in his goodbye kiss. Hate yourself for wanting it to all happen again. Replay every moment in your mind. Ask if this was a one time thing. Pray he says no.
Keep seeing him. Long to wake up beside him. Sleep better when he’s there. Make staying over a regular thing. Fool yourself into thinking this doesn’t mean much. Break things off with the other boy.
Notice the little things. The way he plays with his tongue piercing when he’s choking back the words he really wants to say. The way he bites his fork when he eats. The way he folds his t-shirts. The grown over holes in his ear. The scar on his finger. The way your name sounds on his tongue. The way his hand always finds yours. The way he smiles when you catch him staring. How long he keeps his eyes closed after you kiss. The way he touches your right arm and asks if you’re alright when you’re upset.
Let yourself fall for him. The way he runs his fingertips over your side. The way his lips feel as they brush your neck. Love the way he holds you. Love his hands. Oh God, his hands. Beg for the way he wraps his arms around you as you drift off to sleep as he kisses your shoulder. The way he smells. Fall for his mouth. The way it moves and shifts as he speaks. As he smiles. As he kisses you. Fall in love with the moan that escapes his lips when you kiss. Fall for the way his breathing becomes slow and deep as he falls asleep. Get lost in the feeling of him beside you when you stir at 4:30 am as the first light of morning filters through his orange curtains. The way he laughs at your hair when you first wake up. Fall for the way he watches you get ready in the morning. Bask in the feeling of him texting you five minutes after you leave for work asking you to come back. Tell your mom about him. Make future plans. Ignore the fact you’re leaving in a few weeks.
Let him crack your ribs open. Show him how. Let him see the jagged vulnerable pieces you don’t show to anyone else. Open up to him. Tell him a little. Tell him a lot. Offer him your body. Offer him your heart. Offer him all the parts of you. Try to play it off casually. Ignore the voice that keeps screaming, “This is going to hurt eventually.” Keep falling for him.
Ask him if he’s your boyfriend. Try to make it sound like a no wouldn’t set your world spinning off-course. Tell him the lack of certainty makes you anxious. Don’t tell him you had to start taking your anxiety medication again after you had a dream about him looking at another girl the way he looks at you. Tell him you need to know if he’s in or out. Breathe a sigh of relief when he says without hesitation, “I’m in. Obviously.” Fall even more deeply. The way he makes you smile and laugh. Everything about him.
Start to think about a future with him. Hope for a future with him. Day dream. Convince yourself that maybe this time you could make it work. That this one is different. Imagine him asking you to stay and how you would reply. Hate yourself when he does ask and you say nothing. Imagine what it might be like to take him with. Draw him into your life. Research how long he could stay. Make a plan but not one you’re ready to tell him just yet. Keep falling for him.
Go with to the bar he frequents. Meet his friends. Try not to look smug when they say they’ve heard a lot about you. Let one of them take you aside. Watch him over their shoulder as they question, “You know you’re going to break his heart don’t you? And I’m going to have to pick up the pieces. I don’t want to pick up the fucking pieces.” Smile because you don’t know how else to react. Convince yourself you won’t break his heart. Try not to think about the future when you know you have to go. Be happy you’re with him. Be glad you’re together. Keep falling for him.
Drink too much. Let a situation escalate. Don’t let it go. Get trapped in your head. Sit across from him and make some comment about him being your boyfriend. Hope your face didn’t drop the way your heart did when he says you aren’t his girlfriend. Look up in shock. Feel your heart shatter. Will yourself not to cry. Not here. Not now. Walk home in silence. Count the number of cracks in the sidewalk. Bite every fingernail off. Taste the blood in your mouth from biting your lip too hard.
Cry in front of him. Hate yourself for doing it. Tell him he hurt you. Listen to his stuttering apology. Hate him for how empty it sounds. Tell him he has too much drama. Tell him you’re not sure if you can handle it. Don’t answer when he tells you he needs to know what you’re thinking. Let it get blown out of proportion. Don’t say the words you know you should. Don’t tell him what you’re thinking. Don’t tell him how you feel about him. Don’t tell him he’s in every thought and consumes your mind every waking moment. Try and slow your thoughts from racing. Shut down. Sabotage things for yourself. Bail when it gets tough. It’s what you’re best at. Tell yourself you are good at goodbyes. You are good at being alone. Be quiet even though you know it’s the worst thing you could do. Be too stubborn for your own good. Convince yourself you don’t know how to stay. You only know how to leave. Tell yourself you need to leave before you are left. Hate that he let you go. Hate yourself for going. Fight the urge to grab his hand, pull him towards you, tell him you’re crazy about him, and kiss him.
Go to sleep alone. Wake up alone. Miss him so bad it hurts to move and not feel him beside you. Try not to think about the way your head fit perfectly on his chest. Try and fix it. Say all the things you’ve been holding back on. Swallow your pride and let it all out. Tell him you want him. All of him. Tell him how deep in this you are. Be surprised when he says no. Feel the jagged edges of the pieces of your heart as they cut into your chest each time you breathe. Breathe deeply as you long for him. Remember you have no one to blame but yourself. Fall apart. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.