We're Not Strangers

It’s this strange feeling.

I agreed to it because I was expected to.

“Go,” my friends said, “Have fun. Live a little.”

And then I loved it although I wasn’t expected to.

And then they said, “It’s too soon.  Don’t do anything stupid. It’s not going to work.”

Just. Have. Fun.

And I open the door. Hi. HI. Hi.  I remember you.  How was the drive? Did you drive 4 hours for me?  I won’t be disappointed if you didn’t.  But did you?  Oh, I forget myself. There, that’s my sister. Who? Oh, you want to meet my dog? That’s Gemmy.  You’re good with her.  You’re really good with her. You hate cats? Me too.

We’re walking to your car. I’m thinking about the door. Will you open it for me? I’m thinking about what I’m doing. And my heart’s rattling in my chest, confused, scared, what am I doing?  You stop.  Oh no, are you wondering that too?  “Come here,” you say.  A rush of body is wrapped around me.  A rush of everything is wrapped around me.  You don’t know me, do you? You’re holding me like you do. You’re holding me like you knew I wanted to be held.

Go. Have fun.  Live a little.

I feel like I’m living too much and then you open the door for me.

And we’re sitting down.  We’re on a cliff. And we see our town.  It has never felt like my town, but if we’re sharing it tonight, I’ll call half of it mine.  I’ll call all of it ours. For tonight.

I keep my distance. I keep my space. And then you laugh and you reach out.  You touch my hand just to touch it.  You touch my leg just to touch it. Just to let me know you’re there.  And I realize this distance I’m putting between us is a distance for a stranger…And you’re not a stranger. Somehow, I know you’ve known that all along.

And we’re talking and I say something inappropriate under my breath.  And you laugh. And you love it. And you’re intrigued. I’m intrigued that you’re intrigued.  You quote from my all time favorite movies like it’s nothing, and I try to be mature and not seem impressed.  Who watches The Emperor’s New Groove that much anyway?

And hey, we’re in this together so do you want to get lost?  Here we go.  This entire night’s unfamiliar. Why not get lost in it? In a corn maze.  And you stand straight and tall.  And your body is smooth, careless.  We were meant to get lost tonight.  And you bump into me and laugh and I laugh and then you tell me secrets.  You tell me what you believe in.  And you go so far as to tell me what you don’t believe in. And we’re too close.  Far too close.  And it doesn’t make any sense.  My friends won’t understand.  I can’t explain myself.  I’m not proud – but finally I don’t care – I want to breathe the way I want to.

Go. Have fun. Live a little.

And I’m living too much.

And you feel my hands and their ice cold. And you rub them together between yours.  Not an act of love. Not an act to impress.  Just an act of warmth—something I know is natural to you. You touch my feet. Am I cold? Yes. Freezing.  But I don’t want to leave. Please, let’s stay.

Tell me about you. Tell me about your fears. Catch me when I fall. You’re not afraid to reach out and pick me up. And you’re beside me, but I’m quite sure all around me. How?

Say something wrong.  Ruin the night. I’m not ready for this.  It’s too soon. What’s modest? I had a plan.  I had a plan to be alone.  I had a plan to hide away. No they. No possessions. Only laughter. Be too bold. Try and kiss me. I dare you.  I’ll dodge you. Let’s ruin the night. Let’s never speak again.

But you won’t.  I can feel you everywhere.  I smell you in the corn maze. Your hands dance around me. I see your eyes, not because I peek at them, but because you stop, turn, and stare into my own eyes.  I can’t shy away from you. I look at you. I look straight into your eyes. You’re no stranger to me. You can’t be.  You look at me and tell me with those eyes….You know me.

You say thank you for everything, the little things.  You say sorry for things that aren’t your fault.  You don’t pretend to know me, but you show me that you wish you did. That you want to know more.  You remind me of the good things when I tell you about things that aren’t good.

And I sit thinking, wondering…What’s the catch? What’s the game? My mother will know.  Would you like to meet my mother?  Of course.  You laugh with her. You impress her.  You impress me.  You outdo yourself.  You don’t shy away. My little sister telepathically tells me you ARE good looking. She tells me you ARE funny.  She tells me what my friends can’t. Follow YOUR heart.

And I meet your family. And I try to be invisible and watch and observe. And they all center around you. They all come to you.  They all reach out for you.  And you’re always there when they do.  You never once overlook them.  And I doubt you overlook much.

And then lets walk around town – lets walk home.

The world’s against us.  In every way. Me and you vs. The world.  And it’s ironic, because we both love the world.  We can’t hate it. We can’t be angry with it. Maybe we’re strong enough…Can we do it?  We don’t have much time. We don’t have much of each other.  What do we do? What can we do? What do we want to do? What should we do? What will we do?

And it’s dark. And you look at me.  And you hold my hands in yours.  Don’t do it. Don’t you dare.  My heart's on my sleeve. I’ll do what my heart tells me. I’m loyal to love. I know I’ll let you. Don’t do it. Don’t you dare. And you pull out my pinky finger and wrap yours around it.  And you do it. You make a promise.  And I’m a fool, and I love love, and I’m selfish. And I believe you. And I trust you. And we’re a tragedy waiting to happen, but you kiss my hands in yours. And what other promise is stronger, more powerful than a pinky promise?

I don’t know. I’ve been promised things… Those promises were broken. But I believe in this.  Maybe I’ll never learn. This pinky promise.  It’s worth more than a thousand diamonds—a million diamonds.

And you lift your hand and brush away the hair from my eyes and behind my ears.  You tell me you’ve always wanted to do that.  And I want to tell you to do it again. I’ve always wanted someone to.  There’s so much more to a touch when you don’t have to ask for it.  When someone wants to give it to you. And you whisper to me. And I wonder about all of this. I feel something. I know something. And I want to say something.  My lips move. And I bite down on them.  I can't say it. Don't you dare say it, I tell myself.  I know what I want to say.  And I'll bite my lips until they bleed before I let any words escape my mouth.  And you keep whispering.  You tell me you drove those 4 hours to see me. And it’s tragic. And it’s beautiful. And it’s goodbye for now. Please don’t leave. Just keep me warm.  I don’t want to scare you, but can I tell you I’m good at loving? I don’t want to scare you, but can I tell you I can make you smile?  I don’t want to scare you, but can I tell you I think I want another night with you?

You want to know me?  I’m not perfect. Still? Really?  I want to know you too.  I want to learn you. It’s Pocahontas meets John Smith. Romeo and Juliet. No one will understand. It’s something I can’t understand. It’s something I can only feel:

We’re not strangers. We just can’t be.

This World

Don't Fall in Love with a Book