Our words hung in the air, dripping with the same saucy thickness that coated my heart and his burger. Laughing in between bites and swiping remnants away from the edges of one another’s lips, I desperately wanted time to freeze, to stay stuck in this frame indefinitely, because I knew. I knew this wouldn’t last.
It was a gentle almost-love. One that simmered, brewing slowly then spontaneously bursting into a full boil. It was an elusive love, one that declined defeat in theory but not in practice. Yet, something kept me invested in it. A feeling, I don’t know. But it kept me there.
Maybe it was the desire to wake up in the morning, reach for my phone, and type out “good morning my love.” Maybe it was the desire to roll over in bed and be enveloped by his lingering scent. Or maybe it was the desire to leave him little notes that he would discover and know that I was thinking of him, that I carried him around in my heart.
My most valued possession that I never possessed.
I fell in love with the idea of him, with his perceived potential.
I fell in love with the projection of him that I created and expected to experience, but the problem is that person never existed. I told myself not to, and still I made up a version of him anyway.
His words, doused in alcohol, trickled into my guarded heart. They soaked the bars that caged in my anxieties, they drowned the locks left there by others of the past – until, for one night and one dawn, my heart indulged in the freedom of beating without invisible constraints. Yet I could not escape wondering – will he remember this tomorrow?
The liquid love washed away in the morning, and he was far away again.
How do I keep him here? How? My almost love. Almost. Almost.
The harsh light of morning beamed across the room as I stirred my tears into my tea. I could feel their steady descents down my nose; they quivered slightly at the edge before making a resounding dive into the cup, unleashing a cascade of miniature waves that emanated before disappearing, as surely as what was once almost “us” did. A parallel evaporating act. We didn’t exist to begin with.