“You either love me, or you don’t.” I said.
We stood there leaning against a cupboard in your room; your hands grasped the back of my waist – in the way they always did, as if to make sure I didn’t run away – and mine clasped around your neck.
This is the place my mind travels back to every night before I sleep. With you – in your arms. This is where my heart is at peace and my soul feels at home.
The cupboard is just a little taller than you are. The kind with glass doors that open up in the middle. It is full of your victories, “Fifty four medals & trophies”, you once told me. I can vividly remember the light in your eyes.
“I do, right now.” You say, with a half smile on your lips. Half guilty – half wishing.
“I think you’re in love with me.” I respond, matter-of-factly.
But I also know you’re a coward. It is much simpler to love her. Much more logical. And that is all that makes sense to you. And that is okay.
I borrow your half smile, wishing you or I would give words to our thoughts. I want desperately for you to tell me that you love me- that you’re IN love with me.
I can’t look at you anymore, so I rest my head against your chest. I can feel your heart beating – the same heartbeat I felt on the 19th of November last year.
“I want to go look at the stars!” You had said. “You can never see them from the city with the buildings and the lights and all the pollution in the air.”
So we drove. We drove out of the city and found a field after almost an hour of driving. That was the first time I heard it – your heart. Beating while we lay down in the middle of the field to stargaze.It seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then that the memories have faded and what remains are moments. Like your heartbeat, the sound of footsteps on dried leaves, insects singing their lullabies, constellations we tried to make up and that moment right before the first kiss.
Oh that first kiss. When your lips touched mine, I swear I could feel every single atom in my body. As if all the magnetic bonds that held them together collapsed and I changed state to liquid. We melted into each other under a blanket of stars. It was perfect.
So how did we get here? It was supposed to work out! We held hands on the way back home and I remember thinking that nothing could ever take that moment away from me. It was MINE – whether or not you would be.
Your phone rang then, shaking me out of my nostalgia. I tried to step back to allow you to answer, but you responded by tightening your grip on my waist and shaking your head just a little. I smiled, knowing that you didn’t want to let go of me – and then I felt pathetic for thinking too much of it and let a sigh escape my lips.
You leaned in to kiss me – and I leaned away. This couldn’t go on. More than being mad at you for not loving me (or not accepting your love for me), I was mad at myself for thinking that I could make you love me. People don’t belong to people. I can’t open up your chest and re-time your heart to make it match mine. It just doesn’t work that way.. So I have to let you go.
“One last time, for closure.” You said sounding so unconvincing that I couldn’t help but laugh a little.
As I closed my eyes, I set fire to all the realities I had carefully planted and grown inside me.