You flew onto the train with your bright blonde hair and even brighter blue eyes. The only free seat, it seemed, was the one next to me and I couldn’t thank fate more. You held me—engaged me—without the proposal—in a way I’d not ever know again until maybe now?
And under other circumstances I should have and would have hated the way you arrived, disheveled, somewhat charmed that the entire class waited for you (as if we had a choice). It only took a few hours for my hate of your charm to be charmed by your love. When everyone else asked questions to posture, you asked questions to postulate. You breathed a life into my own city. It’s as though the brightness of your hair and eyes were a helpless explosion of the brightness within. Your mind and heart could not help but glow through the illumination of your head and the radiance of your gaze.
And while we managed to transcend the entire breadth of all human time to be friends, our romantic timing seemed like it could not be matched across multiple universes. And clever, resilient, and persuasive as I could be, it was not a dimension even my strongest will could force.
It was as though we were placed into the universe with the same gift to hold a light: We had been granted these gloves that made us capable of holding a scorching flame. And so we could revel in the pass; sharing war stories, but never granted the space and time needed to fall in love properly; at least not with each other.
And so it left us, each, to carry the flame when the other did not. It gifted us the ability to fall so madly deeply in love with someone who could intrinsically understand, but never at the same time. We were relaying the race to love.
When you last held it was outside my house. From the silence of your car you sent me two words, “I’m outside.” I was inside, but the wrong house in the wrong city, but in the right place in so many other ways—mad that I left just a few hours too early.
It was in that empty box—green glow, cursor pulsing to reveal an unwritten 8-bit font, that we fleetingly held the baton together for a moment. And cruel, it was, Fate timing it so that we could exist in the same lifetime, make thousands of decisions to arrive in one place for the same four years, but yet, the Devil won in the details as he is wont to do. Accurate enough to know what could be, but vague enough so that we were never to have or to hold it. Our hearts became one just so they could break in full synchronisation.
Fast forward: you were thousands of miles away from me, and I you, years of Facebook updates defunct, millions of minutes (I think; I hadn’t done the math but know you would) away from our last phone call, where I slipped that I lived with someone else. It didn’t matter to you much who it was, only that it wasn’t you. And it wasn’t in anything you said, really, but in the way your breath changed. When you inhaled, I handed you the baton.
And now, over a decade later, I feel like we’ve found each other again. This round, your enthusiasm for politics and the environment manifests itself in other ways. But your inquisitive and gentle questions, your deeply addictive intensity, your enormously entropic heart, and your unspoken adoration carries itself anew. And the brightness; I wish I could turn down the brightness, so my eyes could adjust; so I could read you for longer.
But I'm sure of little but I do know it’s not a relay, this time. In fact, I’m not sure we are running at all.
And maybe because we aren’t running, it feels this time you are freer to express with words; I don’t find myself counting things unsaid and edited out in breaths.
I wonder, watching, if this is that all over again. I wonder, waiting, if this is that the same lesson taught by this teacher. I wonder, wounded, how I handle that this time around.