I could tell you about the group of students behind us who were arguing loudly about what playlist to play, but I couldn’t tell you what songs they ended up picking. I’d tell you about how heavy the wine felt in my bag, thinking, it never used to be this hard to just sit and look at the clouds in silence.
I could try to explain how safe I felt lying on the grass with my head on his chest. Our hands almost touching but never quite. How I didn't think about exit velocity for the first time in weeks.
What I wouldn't say is that I've known the thrills of a summer romance long enough to recognize an expiration date when I see one -even one as prettily fashioned up into a fantasy as this. Maybe, especially, this.
What I'd keep quiet is the indomitable fear, the red light blinking on both our foreheads screaming run while you can damnit.
What I wouldn't admit, really even to myself, is that the cost of trying is high but the price to pay six months from now will be ten times higher. That I’ve never been good with numbers but relativity endlessly fascinates me, and there’s absolutely nothing relative about this.
I’d push that down, talk about the clouds a little longer.
I’d lie about all of it, maybe, especially this.
Weeks later, lounging on a deckchair in the beach town where I spent most of my childhood, I will try to twist my own arm and memory in an effort to shift the unshiftable. How safe is safe, anyway. How red a red flag.
How deep the need for lips on a forehead, and not having to explain my favorite jokes all over again to somebody new. The ache for a familiar set of footsteps and for a cologne that smells like Sunday mornings in hazy bedroom light. The yearning for a head on my spare pillow, or better yet using his arm as my pillow.
How broken the fantasy, how fixable the puzzle pieces.
What can you compromise, and what is beyond repair.
Bianca will say to me, don’t underestimate what it means to be an animal. Which is to say, nothing makes us feel more evolved than playing at suppressing our most primal instincts and needs, when in fact the suppressing is the very thing that leaves us drunk and crying on the bathroom floor at 4 in the morning on a Wednesday. Animals we are, and animals we must remain.
Don’t forget why you went out looking for it in the first place, but don’t underestimate the simple human value of an arm around your shoulders and sharing a pizza with someone who knows you well enough to let you have the last slice. How much lighter leaving the restaurant feels when you know exactly where you’re headed after.
Wild at heart, animals nevertheless.
I could tell you about the panicked voice messages I sent when I put two and two together, how I didn’t sleep at all that night. My nails bitten to the point of swelling and my dairy-intolerant skin stressed from all the yogurts I’ve been swapping my meals for in an effort to fit into the dress I know he likes.
I could tell you about the way I obsessively re-wrote the very first text after that night, or re-read the same words I’ve been going over since June to absolutely no avail.
What I’d keep quiet is the indomitable fear, and my heart wanting always a tiny bit more than it can handle.
What I wouldn’t admit is that knowing the ending doesn’t make me want to stay for the movie any less.