I have been in love with a girl for a long time – for as long as my old, broken heart can remember. She was always there, right in front of me, but at the same time, it felt like there were galaxies between us. Her eyes were warm, but distant, the smile, teasing, but tired, and when I held her hand, I was filled with delight even though she left me frostbite that would stay for a while.
Ever since I saw her for the first time, she has had this spell on me – I could never do anything but admire those playful grins and how she would treat me a kiss if I had been good. Being with her brought out the young part of me – the one who joined the football team just to impress a girl and got more hurt the more he tried.
By now, it seems all of my bones have been broken.
I can still see our fingers interlock, our eyes meeting, and her slightly open mouth right before she kissed me. Those peach lips always left me in awe – I constantly wanted to draw her, to turn her into eternity, but failed whenever I tried. Eventually, I realized that she was already a piece of art in herself. And no one could capture that.
The doorbell interrupts my thoughts. Behind me, the 93-year old man sitting on a bench in this dying park, is a bakery filled with pastry of all kinds and a love of warmth. I don’t know why I’m out in the cold, watching the trees whine and sigh as they try to rebuild what they present. I should be over there, giving tips for the hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows.
Somehow, that world doesn’t seem real to me anymore.
When I met her, my world changed. I was no longer a part of it – at least not really. I was just a ghost, watching from the sidewalk just like I would watch a movie. All those days in front of the television had turned into something that followed me around wherever I went – they didn’t see me, and I didn’t see them. Because nothing felt real around her. Genuine. When I looked around, it was from the point of view of a young man who had just been spun around for what felt like a lifetime.
Even now, my world can’t stop spinning.
I was with her for decades. She was the winter – cold, but beautiful. And just like ice, she started melting, slowly, when summer came along. That’s when I realized she had to stay cold in order to stay alive. She could never let herself get too attached because that was when she would collapse. I watched as she crumbled until she was nothing but a whisper in the air, a faint memory. And all I could do was stand and stare as the love of my life disappeared from my eyesight.
I was the one clenching her beautiful face as the first drop started falling.
She was so beautiful. I never got tired of looking at her, even when she lost herself as she tried to gather the pieces of slush and turn them back into ice. I vowed myself to stay with her, telling myself that she’d come back to me eventually. She always did at some point. But as the years went by, the infinities between us got bigger, more complicated, and I realized that she was no longer a reality to me. She was just another beautiful, old movie that had lost its spark as more had come along.
It was hard to admit to myself. Totally humiliating. When my claws started leaving marks in the blank surface of her skin, desperate to hold onto what was long gone, it occurred to me what I had become.
In the end, I was just a kid who caught a cold after playing in the ice for too long.
I always treated her so well. Forgave her when she needed me to. I let her yell at me when she was frustrated, and I didn’t even argue when she blamed me for everything bad that had happened in her life. I was even there when she would come home in the middle of the night with a strong scent of alcohol and a tone that was unrecognizable.
Where did I go wrong in the process?
Even during the last time, I sat beside her, clinging onto her hand as if it was the last thing I’d ever get to hold. And I guess it was, too – because I knew I’d never hold anyone’s hand and feel the same way. I could never love anyone as much as I loved her, and she loved me back.
So why did she leave me?