They say grow where you are planted. I agree. Usually. It's another matter when they plant you somewhere nice, let you enjoy years of growth in your home, then uproot you unceremoniously and dunk you in a new, random place. Expecting you to grow again like nothing happened. That's what I was thinking. Before I saw one of the most fascinating things in my life. That's what I was thinking... when I met you first.
You had full lips. That's the first thing that registered. You painted them red that day, and you were unconsciously rubbing your lower lip with the ring finger of your right hand. You were looking out the window intensely. And I would have forgotten and moved on but you looked my way. For a second I saw loneliness that was all too familiar. Then you smiled. I blinked. It seemed like I imagined that loneliness because of the brightness of your smile.
You approached and greeted my family as we entered the hall. Bright smile still in place, your right hand reached out and squeezed mine first. You didn't shake it like a normal person, you held my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze then proceeded and... squeezed everyone else's. You then directed us to a seat. I sat down, absently looked at the hand you squeezed. There was a red smear. I looked at you again. Gone was the smile. You were lost in your thoughts again, lip rubbing.
I would never tell you this, but as bright as your smile was, you were somehow, more beautiful that way. Honestly lonely.
They say bend before you break. Yeah well I'm all bent. Bent from all directions that I am almost kissing the ground. Being pulled in all directions but somehow ending up down, just down. And like the genius I am, I lashed out at her, and lost her. So now I am getting acquainted with a whole new level of low, fighting to not be buried alive.
You broke me out of the dismal thoughts.
I don't drink coffee.
I would have refused but you smiled.
Whatever it is, it's nothing a little sweet and a lot of prayer can't solve.
You then excused yourself and walked away with your hips swaying slightly. As you turned, I saw you sucking on the pad of your thumb. It was probably as sticky as mine, now holding the sweet bread in my palms. Are the sweet and prayers working for you? I wanted to ask.
If you love someone let it go. Obviously they didn't know what they were talking about. If I let go then I wouldn't have won her back. I wouldn't have been this happy. This happy and nervous. Never give promises when you're happy. That's what we should believe in. I still don't know what came over me when I agreed to sing for everyone. Stupidity most likely. It's too late to back out now. I have decided to sing. In thanksgiving. After all, the sweets and prayers worked.
I am a nervous wreck as I stood in front with my guitar strapped on to my shoulders. I clear my throat and find you among the crowd. You were looking out the windows again. While everyone stared expectantly at me, you were lost in your world, half smiling at something outside. I focus on you, the least threatening person in this room, with curls fighting to escape the bind you put them in. You begin to worry your lips again. And somehow that soothed me.
I begin to sing. I knew this song well and my fingers pressed and plucked surely on the strings but my voice shook no matter how I fought it. From the corner of my eye I saw you turn my way a little. And I knew you were listening. So I closed my eyes and sang of the Lord. And I sang to you, like you were the only one listening. It's easier to sing to one person in a room that to sing to a hall filled with people.
The song ended. I took my leave and caught you as I went back to my seat.
Hey, that was great!
I don't think you realized I was not thanking you for the compliment, but because you helped me through the song.
I caught you singing one day, under your breath, when you thought no one could hear. Your voice was beautiful but you stopped, mortified when you caught me eavesdropping. It was fun watching you blush, and look at everything else but me. You, who welcomed me and my family without hesitation, you who forced snacks on to me, you, who gave advises to people as easily as giving out candy, were scared of having someone else hear your singing voice. I found that incredibly hilarious. And charming.
One day I saw you kneeling over a babbling toddler. The child kissed you when prompted and smeared melted candy on your cheek in the process. As you watched the child walk away, I was finally privy, for the first time, to your genuine smile. It was breathtaking.
Of course the smiled dimmed to your default smile when you saw me. And I asked myself why you kept your smile to yourself. Somehow from there I ended up deciding to make you smile genuinely more often.
I started the obvious way and shared embarrassing stories about myself. I told you about the frog story, about my first kiss, about the long years of waking up to cotton in my mouth because my braces get caught in the pillow. Those teased out portions of the smile but it wasn't quite the same.
You were not afraid to share your thoughts. You were... a breath of fresh air, you were the friend I have always wanted. And I noticed that the more I tell you, the more genuine your smile became. So I shared what I could, which included everything from what I ate for the day to that annoying workmate. Sometimes I had nothing going on in my life so I end up just greeting you. You never seemed to mind.
Eventually I've run out of fun stories. And ended up sharing the sad ones, the people I've hurt because of the move, the... past that you listened to without judgement. I even told you about how I broke her heart and won it back... and how I decided to win it back daily. I always end up sharing more than I cared to initially, staying up longer than I should and finding myself unable to wait to share a certain piece of news with you. You have that effect on me. You are one of the of the easiest people to talk to. And I am forever grateful that I met you.
An Early Autumn
A song said something about having tons of spoons when all you needed was a knife. That's how I felt with you.
Although my brain didn't mind the late nights, my body had other ideas. I felt weak and tired, I had this permacold and a headache that won't go away. That's what happens when you force yourself to function with barely four hours of sleep. But who was complaining? I wasn't. And the only reason I told you was because sometimes I ended up falling asleep while we talked. And I hate it when people do that to me.
You minded. You had other ideas. You told me this was wrong. And that this was your fault. How is my decision to stay up your fault? You threw these useless, stupid, possibly logical ideas at me and before I could think up anything approaching an appropriate response you went offline.
I called you. Multiple times. Messaged you. Emailed you. Weeks passed. You responded sparingly. I was so angry. My body may be feeling better but I felt worse than ever. I felt angry. I felt alone. I felt betrayed. How could you leave just like that? How could you just cut me off so easily? Sure, you respond hours or days later. How the hell could you be so cold? I don't know what to do with myself. What do you do in the hours you used to spend with me?
I want my friend back. I want you back. Please, come back, please. Don't you see I'd rather have the f***ing cold and you than... this void. Talk to me! I'm an adult. I'm a man and I can choose what I want to do with my life.
I forcefully calm myself and look at you. Yes our hours are making me sick, but I chose this. I chose you. And I will keep on deliberately choosing you.
You looked at me with this... misery. And I don't know what to do with that. Did I cause that? How could a stupid cold cause all this? It feels like a fist is lodged in my throat. It feels like I swallowed gasoline and it met a fire in the pit of my stomach. I've seen you lonely, joyful, angry but this is misery. And no matter how alluring your eyes were, there is nothing beautiful about what was in them.
I saw you make your way to the coffee maker I was setting up. There was barely a pause in your step when you recognized me but I noticed that. As you neared, I reached for your hand to squeeze it. As a greeting, like the first time you met me. I caught your wrist instead. And like a drowning man, I held on, wanting to make sure you stayed, and finally decide to get us back to where we were.
I barged against the awkwardness and went down our routine. I told you all the stories that I had saved all week to share. I told you about my clients, my workmates, I even told you about what I had for lunch the other day.
You finally responded. And told me about your day, your week... just life in general. And there was a knot inside of me that loosened. I haven't completely lost us yet. I still had my friend. And I will drag us through everything to get us back to where we were. Not back to the woman who stared, lonely, out the window, but to the honest and caring woman you were to me. And I, no longer the angry, uprooted teen but to... this man.
Look how far we've come. I blurted like a moron that I am. You looked at me with a sad, sad smile.
Yes, we've gotten here love. And here is nowhere.
That hurt. You broke away from my hold, and I must admit fear gripped me tightly until you moved to stand by my shoulder. I had to clear my throat several times before I could say anything.
As long as nowhere is with me.