i.

meet them somewhere that shouldnt be memorable.
stumble into them at a park,
exchange taunts on a playground,
offer a smoke on a bridge in paris,
row a gondola in venice.
meet them somewhere that you wont remember
because its famous
or because its where your great great ancestral grandfather died
or because its your only trip outside the home country.
meet them at a place
you will remember
because you met them there.

ii.

they are not a damsel.
repeat it to yourself
in the mirror with the crack on the corner that sits in your room
in the glassy subway window with graffiti sprawled across your face
in the pond full of koi in your neighbors front yard.
distress doesnt make you a damsel
any more than chivalry makes you a knight;
on the inside,
we are all kings and queens and everything in betweens.

iii.

tie your shoes carefully.
velcro is clingy
so neon shoe strings should suffice,
the ones with the patterns on the side that your friend gushed over at the mall
and double knot them just in case
because you dont want to trip running into their arms across a field.
at least, not until
you know theyll catch you.

iv.

do not call them glass
and do not call them ice
and do not call them stone.
people do not break.
people are fabric;
we may tear and fray, but we will still serve our purpose.
and always remember
that lace stains easier than rags.

v.

blink often and dont run,
no matter what they tell you.
unless you blink, youll never know
whether you see them when your eyes are closed
or if you are still a blank expanse, untouched by people.
and if you run,
you will never have a chance to color in the blackness.

vi.

perfect and people
arent synonyms.
(this one is important.)

vii.

if its right
and youre right
and youre not just fucking, if youre making love
and they whisper your name
then it will not be as if its a prayer
it will be because its a prayer.
and that is all you can ask for, really.

viii.

make good choices.
get married or dont.
have kids or dont.
tell people or dont.
never
ever
feel like you have to do it because of other people.
relationships are two people
(unless theyre not
and even then
the world doesnt need to know).

ix.

pictures may last longer
but they only capture a moment.
pictures arent a hand shuttering their eyes against the sun in the morning
and pictures arent them tracing your palm and complaining about size difference
(or lack thereof)
and pictures arent your leg falling asleep while their heads in your lap
and still refusing to move.
pictures and moments and people
fray
and tear
and stain.
but you cant stain a lifetime, no matter how hard you try.

x.

when youre old and gray
and you remember them when you think of the place that you met
and you have stains but not cracks
and memories of things that have nothing to do with them but are still so beautiful,
you will finally have enough experience
to come back and tell me
how to write a real manual about falling in love.
and then you will write it yourself.