I will love you, and I will break my own heart.
I will find you, crouched in the back of a bookstore situated along the busiest road, your legs folded over one another, and you’ll be looking down at your phone screen. You’ll be expecting me, and it will be the first time we’ve seen each other in almost a year. I’ll smile at you, a smile you later come to tell me made your heart skip a beat– and I’ll never believe you. I’ll ride an escalator up a few floors with you on a hot saturday in June, trying to break the awkwardness between us. I’ll poke fun at you and tease you about “remember when you used to be shorter than me?” And you’ll smile, but you’ll never let me know what’s going on behind those dark eyes of yours.
I will fight myself daily over talking to you first, because I can’t stand the thought of going through a day without bothering you with one or another meaningless happening in my life; I will do this only so I have an excuse to remind you that I’m here, that I exist, and that I want to be a part of your day.
My heart will race when you touch me, and my body will go cold when you try to hold my hand because I still won’t be able to believe that I have you with me, I’ll shake when you wrap your arms around me in a hug goodbye, and threaten to evict my heart from my chest when you kiss my forehead because it drowns out my thoughts and I’m afraid of losing control when you’re around.
I will realize I’m slowly falling in love with you when your name meets the tip of my pen several times a day, and my ink spells it out in poetry and prose. My soul will ache for you on cold days when the rain beats against the glass of my window, and I will tell you so. I will tear up when I think about the way your rough hands feel against mine, and how frustrating it is that I can never capture how it feels to have my skin against yours.
My breath will hitch when we kiss for the first time on the same street that we met, in the bookstore you said you’d never come back to– you never had any shame. My fingers will try to find an anchor to hold on to in the stubble of your crew-cut hair, because I’ll be losing myself in the feeling of your chapped lips against mine. I will always bid you goodbye reluctantly, because it always feels like farewell to a part of me that I had been waiting years for.
I’m in love with you, I shout to the world as I toss aside darkness.
And then we don’t see each other for nearly a month, I will break my own heart. I will convince myself that you are better off without me, that you are too good for me, that you will find someone prettier, smarter, more perfect for you than I will ever be, and I will push you away. I will try to protect myself because I’m afraid of you pushing me away first.
I will cry on late nights about things I can never explain, I will convince myself that you once needed me, but now you don’t. That I had used up my usefulness.
I will reminisce about your voice and the way you moved, the way your glasses slip off the bridge of your nose every now and then. I will smile when I remember the way your lips curled up at the sides whenever you would show me that awkward smile of yours, and I will lie in bed hugging my knees when I convince myself that it’ll never happen again.
So by the time we see each other again on the very same street, it’ll be raining. We’ll spend most of our meeting making awkward conversation and every little thing you do will supply the demon-tongue in the back of my mind telling me that you don’t love me anymore. Then you kiss me, and the chambers of my heart beat against the cells in my body, screaming one thing at one another.
I will become a yoyo, happy and sad and happy and sad because you say you aren’t ready for a relationship, but you will always be there. And I will be confused.
I will try to fall in love with someone else and fail miserably because no one understands me like you do, no one can suck me into their stare with the same power. I will try to fall in love with him after we kiss in the theatre on your birthday, because by now I am doubting you all over again. I will be the death of everything beautiful we had.
He will ask me why I chose you over him, every single time, especially since he’s seen me cry over you. Each and every time I will respond, “because without him, the stars are nothing more than lights in the sky.” And he’ll never understand what I mean, because he does not think like you do. He doesn’t know that my heart is black and white, pen and paper– and he will never understand my poetry because each stroke comes together to illustrate you: my breath of life behind the stars, willing them to grow wings and form a bridge between you and I as we both drift off into sleep.
So do not love me, for I do not know how to love myself.