Hearts drawn on misty windows and pieces of paper torn from notebooks. Jagged edges. Or edge. Bits left behind in a 10-inch spiral. Initials linked by plus signs. Taking turns being on top. You try on a different last name. You try on a different life. A gold-plated ID bracelet. Again, initials. Heavy on wrists around which you can wrap your thumb and forefinger. Jackets, too broad in the shoulders, too long in the sleeves. You know him by scent. You know him by heart.
You don’t see beyond the moment you’re in, initials drawn inside hearts. Plus signs a handmade wedding ring. You swoon. You say I love you even when you don’t mean I love you. You substitute I love you for everything you can’t say. You don’t think about the things you can’t say, because you are too busy saying I love you.
When-not-if. Never if.
An impossible-to-maintain feverish feeling that will fade, even though you don’t listen when everyone tells you that the impossible-to-maintain feverish feeling you feel will fade.
Not us. Not two sets of initials joined by a plus sign.
You draw more hearts. You reverse the initials so that you are not on top, or so that you are on top. You use colored pencils.
Best friends. Best friends forever. Joy Division got it wrong. Love will not tear us apart. Nothing will tear us apart.
For keeps. And always. And we’ll wear masks at our wedding and send crayons with our wedding invitations so the invited know the color they have to incorporate into what they wear. We will have two weddings. One for our family and friends; one for us. We will get married in Hawaii and Paris and London and Moscow. We will not call these weddings destination weddings because you are my destination as I am yours.
No need to hyphenate our last names. I have gotten used to wearing yours.
But then you wake up next to someone who has become a stranger, not overnight, though this transformation feels like it happened overnight. Or maybe you are the one who changed. You woke up someone different than you were before, and you do not know how you became this person.
You love but you are no longer in love. You stop saying I love you when you mean everything but I love you. You say you no longer believe in plus signs and hearts drawn on misty windows. Your initials no longer look good together. You hate their last name.
Impossible, first loves. First loves are first for a reason. First loves come before second loves before third loves before fourth loves before several loves who you do not yet love but who, one day, you will love. They do not love you yet either. But they will.
Good morning texts. Lunches at undiscovered restaurants. New bodies to learn and to memorize. New bodies on which to leave fingerprints. New sets of initials. New last names to try on.