I think it would be ill-advised to name the one who hulls and crushes the fruit of my love. So, for those who do not know, I’ll do my best to evoke your jaunty gait, your crackling beard, and freckled face. I’ve typed up this timeline of my affection, though I do not know its purpose. For reference, I suppose.
We fell in love in midsummer, it’s true. And after that? Weeks with only thoughts of you. Sewing my affection between letters in words in messages. Remembering the feeling of your chest on mine, your back, then a car-door between us, then an ocean, then an interstate. As I sweat through simmering summer nights, my dreams held you. Eyes unmoving, you instructed me on how to properly balance as I walked along the curb. I woke up, face tingling. I’d never made eye contact in a dream before. At least not that I could remember. And definitely not with eyes like yours. Kindly, amber, and moss.
When I was awake I obsessed over your occupation of my phone. I skipped, swiped, saved your face, your jump, your dance. From far away I sent emails like darts with strings attached, hoping one would find you and lead you back. I held on tightly to the rim of a messy jam jar. I fell in.
Summertime slowed and I was sustained by an image of you in August. My friend. You’d hug me and shake my hand. Finally, you arrived and we made plans. Not today, but the next one. Plenty of time. Scrambling through work, I gathered things from the office. Texting, arms full, droplets forming and flying. I raced to see if I could beat my time. The train came at five.
I saw you out of the corner of my eye. Gray shirt, lounging, reading a book. Suddenly I was sitting for my final examination. Hadn’t I spent weekends and nights preparing? Your hair and your shoulders, the curve of your ear. A small gulp. I stood still. You didn’t see me, but you would. Your hand plunged into the jam jar, inviting me up. Should I reach out to take it or avoid getting crushed? You looked up. As you approached I thought one thousand things. You looked just like you had in my dream. Smirking then smiling, you folded me up. Very, extremely, incredibly glad to see you.
And after that, we became quite concrete. You’d call me and my heart would beat. Rachel asked if I liked you. I said, “well, I would … .” I would if I wasn’t so terribly afraid that one day I’d force our heads out of this haze only to find empty, freezing air above. I shivered. Cloudless. I decided a hug and a handshake could be enough. I’d cling to your arm inside the jar, just above the jam. Better that than to drown in that viscous stuff.
But that night you sat at my table for hours, listening to babble, hiding your powers. That night I noticed a dart in your back with a string attached. Below a tree (cut down in October), in your white buttoned shirt, you joined me on my jam-covered earth. You stammered and swayed but delivered your message: "I’m feeling these feelings, they’re scary, I’m reeling." I asked to walk and spoke for a while without saying anything at all. I tormented you with my unpracticed admission: "I like you, I do. I think I like you a lot."
I bet my face looked just like the moon. As we know, I had loved you since June. In my room I could look at you, at your eyes, your heart freshly bloomed. I offered my hand. You took it. Your smile whispered: “we’re doomed.”