White paper. Blue Lines. Three holes. Among the page lay scribbles that somehow were supposed to make out words. You studied it, in hopes of making sense of what he handed you. You should have taken this as a hint. That’s all he’d ever be: a bundle of confusion.
He sat in front of you in health class. At first you thought he just handed you a worksheet, but soon you realized that what he gave you, was so much beyond a worksheet.
You should have handed it back. Avoiding everything to come. But you’re too easily flattered by anyone who pays the slightest attention to you.
You shouldn’t have let this become more than it was. But you did. You fall in love with moments, but you didn’t know how to fall in love with someone for longer than a day.
The both of you exchanged writings meant for no one, discussing art and music in the margins of these papers. Back and forth. Back and worth. Falling in love with words never spoken.
And then nothing.
See, this is why you only ever loved in moments, because if you love for a day, you hope for it to become another day, and then another day, and then weeks, and months, and years, and this funny idea of forever.
You told yourself you didn’t care, investing yourself in other moments to fall in love with throughout the summer. It’s easy not to care. But it’s impossible to forget. You, of all people, should know that.
But you can’t merely erase a person from existing. Each time you passed him, you tried pretending that you didn’t see him, wondering if he did the same.
Nearly a year passed before he became just another passing face. And all was well. But one day he facebook messaged you, asking you about the books you were reading. And you’ve never been one to deny a conversation regarding literature.
You shared your favorite books and songs. You spoke to each other through metaphors.
He told you he liked your name. He told you to stop apologizing. He told you his fears and desires.
It was lovely.
One day you set up a date, where you watched a 90s sci-fi television series. He showed you his room plastered with magazine clippings of beautiful women and beautiful places. Instruments lined up against the wall, stacks of books and boxes of record albums. The both of you admired album artwork and he played you his favorites. You discussed music. And literature. And the future.
And that was it. That’s all you ever had.
You were heartbroken, thinking everything to be more than it was. You fell in love with an idea. But people are people. They are not ideas. You can’t fall in love with someone through words. That’s the most dangerous way to fall in love.
You should have known. You should have known. You should have known. You can’t. You can’t. You can’t.
But you did.
The problem with falling in love through words is that they’re so difficult to forget. But you have to learn how.
You told yourself it would be okay, giving yourself an entire summer to forget him. With enough trips to the lake, he’d be gone. Washed away. On the third trip you began scrubbing yourself with sand, in hopes that all would be stripped off. You poured your feelings onto the shore line, hoping the tide would carry it back into the water. You lathered yourself in clay, and let yourself dry in the sun, hoping all would crumble off.
You were silly in thinking that you could drown your memories. It was the first time you fell in love. It’s hard to forget.