I recently promised the guy in question that I would finally man up and post this, even though I wrote it ages ago. Enjoy.
Intrigue. That’s the word that comes to mind for me; it was intrigue at first sight. We were at the zoo. I was waiting for my boyfriend, staring down at the crocodiles, when I looked up and saw him. I smiled to myself because a thought had just crossed my mind; why did I have to be waiting for my boyfriend?
There’d been another guy at the crocodile pit, and we’d all been engaged in an argument about whether they were crocodiles or alligators. He had stopped to answer a call, and my boyfriend soon showed up. That was it.
About a year later, I’d been at the pool with my friend, Peewee. We’d been laughing, smiling and shouting at each other when I suddenly looked up to see him walking in. I kind of froze and stared, as did he. Then he slowly looked away and got his ticket. This really weird feeling came over me and even though I was now backing him, I was very aware that he was close by. For some reason, I didn’t want Peewee to realize anything had changed.
I encouraged her to swim so I could watch and when she’d set off, I turned around to stare at him. We locked eyes as he walked into a changing room. There it was again. Intrigue. His eyes made me want to know more.
Later, we made small talk, the way a “learner” (me) and a “pro” ( him) do in a pool. After a while, I got out to warm myself, lizard style, watching him doing laps. I changed position, lying on my side and his eyes widened almost boyishly as he yelled, “Oooh, baby!”, and I laughed, happiness running through my veins.
Now, months after that day at the pool, he sometimes springs into my thoughts. To him, I’m sure, i”m nothing more than some girl, attractive enough, smart enough, but… To be sure, I have no idea what the “but” is.
As for me, sitting beside him in our swimsuits, looking at his pale skin, I thought to myself: one can grow to really like him. And so I did. Without my own permission. I began to crush, obsess, truly like him.
* * *
I like him and it weakens me, because I have no idea why. His physical attractiveness does not ring bells and reflect light. Yes, he is tall, and hot, but that’s not it…
I like the way he talks sometimes, keeping the teeth on one side of his mouth pressed together, the other side of his mouth raised in a smile.
I like his eyes; small, dark, full of intrigue. The way they squeeze smaller when he’s laughing, or gloss over when he’s pleased.
I like the way he walks; tall, one arm slightly stiff at the elbow, moving his head around in fractions.
I like how he scratches his head when he talks. Almost always scratching the same spot.
* * *
Love is within us. It is only ever renewed when it is given away, bounced back by someone; its light diffracting, multiplying until it hits us with its reinforced glow. But what becomes of love when there’s no one to bounce it back? Is it wasted, lost forever? Do we lose huge chunks of ourselves ’til there’s nothing left; ’til we grow cold and dark and shrivel up inside? Forget how to give love? Run and hide in fear and selfish obstinacy when we spy the gleam of another’s love? What becomes of unrequited love? What? What??!