“And then my soul saw you and it kind of went, ‘Oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.'”
— someone on the Internet
I have loved.
It’s a little difficult to tell, at fourteen, hopelessly attracted to a boy with hair and eyes of such similar colors to mine that we were once asked who was the older twin, hopelessly attracted to a boy with hobbies and interests which aligned so closely with mine that we were practically the same person: a love, if so it was, that rocked my unexpanded world so hard it sent me rocketing down the rabbit hole when he moved across the country.
Guilt raged in his wake.
It’s a little difficult to tell, at seventeen, hopelessly attracted to a boy with hair and eyes of absolutely indescribable colors, hopelessly attracted to a boy with hobbies and interests which rammed mine head-on like a bull: a love, if so it was, that blew smoke from its nostrils to stir up a fog through which we misperceived each other until he threw it all aside.
Anger raged in his wake.
It’s a little difficult to tell, at eighteen, hopelessly attracted to a boy six feet tall and four years older, a boy whose two-year sojourn in another part of the world had left him questioning everything, including me: a love (though it definitely was not) that spit enough sparks to keep me warm until he stepped back out of guilt.
Confusion raged in his wake.
It’s a little difficult to tell, at nineteen, hopelessly attracted to a boy with hair and eyes as dark as the nights over the lake, a boy whose life had been identical to mine for a summer: a love (though it definitely was not) which left us sleepless once, though I would be sleepless many more times until the miles finally told me the truth.
I demanded of the moon, “What am I doing wrong?”
I want to fucking feel, God damn it. I want him to drag my heart through the dust and give it back in three pieces like those Swedish cookies you’re supposed to wish on if they break that way. I want to hug him and cry. I want to hug him and laugh. I want him to cry because he loves me so much. I want us to never have known a better love than this. I want it to pull our worlds wide open. I want us to cross oceans and state lines and streets to see each other. I want to call him whenever I have news, good or bad. I want us to need each other before we even think of anyone else. I want us to feel it all. All the shit, and all the stars. All the heaven, all the hell. I don’t even know who I’m talking about, but that’s what I want.
It’s still a little difficult to tell, at nineteen, hopelessly attracted to a boy who maybe isn’t a boy, maybe he’s a man, maybe he’s somewhere on the edge (and where does that leave me?). Slim, bespectacled, ambitious, well-spoken, curious. Seems to do things for good reasons. Looks good in sweaters. I told him the other night I wanted to kiss his face off. I haven’t done it yet but you can believe I will.
It’s still a little difficult to tell: am I in love, or am I missing having a warm body next to me? am I in love, or am I missing having a hand to hold? am I in love, or am I enamored with an idea? am I in love, or am I somewhere else entirely?
Am I in love?
I don’t know. I may not know for a long time. (The difficulty lies in not assuming.) But someday there will be someone and I’ll look at him and realize that I’d cross an ocean, a state line, a street to see him. That I have never known a better love than his. That with him I could tackle all the shit, all the stars. All the heaven, all the hell. All of time and space.
But of course the meantime is the most difficult part: what do I do while I’m waiting to fall in love with the adorable goofball in front of me?
I suppose I try to love the goofball in front of me. Like you do with an ordinary human.
Frankly, I suppose it’s like the first person ever to walk towards the Grand Canyon. The fall comes when you aren’t looking.
In the words of Neil Gaiman, “Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you.”
Sometimes you awake to guilt served cold, sometimes the fall shatters you into angry splinters, sometimes you awake bleary and confused under a dark cloud of unknowing.
“And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”