He sketched. I cried.

13 May

We sat there in coversation about things I find hard to remember now. I was observing everything, as I usually do, and I found remarkable how ordinary he seemed at first and yet how thoroughly absorbed into his person I became each minute. I searched hard over his face, picking up traces of unexpressed expressions, the kind left over in the fine wrinkle lines around the eyes and corners of the mouth. It was a face used to laughing hard and laughing often. I then searched the eyes, which were very dark and close-set. At first, those eyes often met my own, staring into them with such an intensity that it made me uncomfortable, and I would look away, embarrassed.

I wasn’t used to someone, especially a guy, paying me so much attention. He said that he liked my hair and eyes and hands, each compliment given at a different time, each working in a small way to change to way I perceived myself. The times he complimented me were the only times I had ever seen him get shy, and it took me by surprise. He listened to my language and responded in a way that made me feel not only understood but like what I had to say was important. He knew when to ask questions and when to stay silent. He knew how to push me outside  myself when I could have so easily withdrawn. It was as if he saw right through me, past all the walls I had so laborously constructed, and gently asked me to come out. I did.  

There wasn’t any particular smell to remember him by, which is probably a good thing because smell is one sense that is almost impossible to erase.

For some reason I notice forearms. His were large and covered in hair lighter than than the rest; it softly ended at his wrist. The hands were thick, squarish and his fingers crooked, the tips calloused from playing the guitar. They were work hands, and I found them fascinating. His movement was quick and forceful.  He could never sit still for very long, and I felt like a statue next to him. Our little movements, however, mimicked each-others at first, so aware were we of each-others presence; it was strange how attracted I was to him. One time I laid my head on his chest, closed my eyes and listened to the steady pulse of his beating heart and the rise and fall of his deep breathing. It was the most beautiful and intimate sound I had ever heard, and in that moment, I felt safer than I’d ever been before.

When I discover a guy likes me, I have the childish habit of avoiding him. With him, it was different. Rather than avoid him, not only could I not stop thinking about him, but for the first time in my life, I wanted to be with him, to learn about everything that made him who he was and all the dreams that shaped what he wanted to be. Conversely, I felt like I could reveal myself, and he would accept whatever it was that I revealed. I wasn’t sure what to do with my feelings. They disoriented me, detatched me from all reason and elevated me to impossible heights. Only in retrospect do I realize perhaps I was not careful enough with where I allowed them to take me.

As the end grew near, his eyes grew distant as only a great distance can cause, and by that time I was doing everything I could do to make them find mine again, but they were already gone, someplace far beyond me, engaged in a thousand things that I would never be a part of in a world I no longer called my own. I cried for loving someone, partly because I never thought I had the capacity for that kind of love, and partly because I realized he was now only a memory that fades and obscures with the passing of time, some poor excuse for a charachter sketch written about in some ill-kept little diary or journal. Yet the lines he etched are the first ones ever made on my heart, and though the memories will inevitably fade, the markings are now a part of me; they’ll be there always, forever altering every pulse, no matter how slight, made by the beating of my heart. It cannot be helped.


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