whirlwind

An Essay By E // 2/1/2020

There were three moments.
The first was at the concert. The more beers we consumed, the closer we sat together. We barely watched the show, instead opting to yell jokes into each other’s ears. My hand kept brushing his knee; I told myself it was an accident but it wasn’t. He got so excited by something I said that he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. I didn’t pull away. A woman approached us and said, “Y’all are freaking adorable, by the way.” We looked at her blankly, and I panicked and said, “We’re just friends.” After she walked away, he asked, “Do we seem like a couple?”
I brushed him off and said, “No, we just vibe. She’s making assumptions.”
He said, “It wouldn’t be weird if, you know.”
“Yeah.”
For context, I was caught in the tail end of a nearly three year relationship. I had recently taken a trip to the Northeast to see the boyfriend but only to find that he buried himself in his phone instead of talking to me. I caught our reflection in the window of the train; his shoulders hunched over his screen, my blank stare straight ahead, and I wondered “how did I get here?”. After I returned, I knew it had to end, but I was putting it off. Soon after, my friend (featured above) and I discovered ourselves in each other. Neither of us are sure how it all happened, but we discovered we are two halves of the same coin. We started hanging out every day, talking constantly. I had never felt so connected to someone, even platonically, and so I told myself that we were just friends. We all know how that goes.
The second moment was in the coffeeshop. He met me there to “study” but we couldn’t stop talking. He told me about his passionate empathy for disabled people, his past in boxing, stories about his family and his college.
He said “We should get back to studying.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Five minutes later he said, “You know--ugh, I’m sorry, I just--I wanna talk to you.”
I felt a stir and said, “I want to talk to you too.”
He told me about his favorite book. He said, “You know, it took me a minute to get into it. But it’s just about this simple guy, who lives a simple life, and it moved me. After I finished it, I thought, maybe that’s what I want. Just a simple life with someone I love. I’ll get it for you for Christmas.”
With each word he spoke I leaned closer. When you want someone, the eye contact you make is intimate. Whether he knew it or not, his dark eyes drew me in until they were all I could see. After we left, I sat in my car and yelled. I finally acknowledged that there was something more.
The third moment was just the next day. We planned to go to the art crawl, and he told me, “We can’t go alone.”
My heart jumped when I read that message. I knew he was feeling it too, but I asked “Why?”
“E, we cannot be mistaken for an adorable couple again,” he told me.
We halfheartedly searched for a chaperone to no avail and ended up going on another non-date. We bought small wine containers and hid them in our jackets; we shielded each other from the police and drank in the streets. The moment that got me was when I pulled him into an alleyway lit by old fashioned string lights. I said, “This looks like a good spot,” and he agreed. I spotted a picnic table and said, “Let’s sit here for a second.”
We talked about why we were in school, how we wanted to help others, our goals for our lives.
“I want to help people, but I don’t know how. It seems like there’s so little I can do, and I don’t know where I can be the most effective,” he explained.
We sat closer than we needed to, our knees just touching, and every time we laughed we almost knocked heads. Laughing with him under the warm glow of the string lights, I had not felt more myself. He finished his cardboard wine container and said, “Tell me where to throw it in that bush and I’ll make it.” On our left there was a bush. I pointed to the middle branches and he threw it. It deflected off an outstretched branch and hit the ground and we laughed. I spotted a windowsill across from us and said, “Let’s try to flip it onto that.” We spent twenty minutes, buzzed and warm, trying unsuccessfully to get the container to land upright in the wind. I felt lighter than I had ever felt in this alleyway.
Later that night in my apartment, we kissed, and something in me opened up. He confessed his feelings for me, and I said the same. We said we had never felt more comfortable with another person, and it had never been so easy, and even though what we were doing was wrong it felt right.
He said, “I don’t like people to know things about me. But I find myself telling you things. I want you to know.”
It ended recently. Life got in the way and I don’t fault him for that. The month or so that we were wrapped up in each other was one of the most beautiful of my life in many ways. I realized what it should feel like. I’m not even sure what “it” is. There wasn’t love yet, but there was something soul bearing and fulfilling in it all.
I realized that in my previous relationship, I mistook the feeling of being safe and comfortable for the feeling of love. I cared for my previous boyfriend, but I settled. Now that I have had a glimpse into what romance could be, I can never do that again. I had forgotten what it meant to feel intensely for someone, and he ignited something in me that will not falter.

Comments

Hello! Pretty interesting.

Hello!
Pretty interesting. I'm sad things didn't work out. Friendship and romance are two wonderful things. Love can come with it, though for love to last it has to stand on its own. It doesn't necessarily have to be blind, but it can help provide flexibility, patience, and understanding, even when there is momentarily no romance.
Food for thought. Thanks for sharing! : )

Allyson D. | Tue, 04/07/2020

Jill L. Boone

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

Thanks! Obviously it couldn't

Thanks! Obviously it couldn't all fit here (and didn't feel necessary to discuss), but there were a variety of other compatibility issues with my ex that led to the end of that relationship. This was just meant to illustrate a kind of awakening to being with someone that I actually felt connected to/compatible with for the first time. Thanks for your comment :)

E | Wed, 04/08/2020

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

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