You’re in love, and you feel that you’ve never been in love before. Not really. Not like this. Not without that insistent, disgruntled voice whispering objections. You find yourself, sometimes, inventing a past for the two of you. The way she walked down the hall, past all the lockers, with books tucked tightly against her chest and her hair halfway obscuring her face. The way she would dip her head when she spoke to you. The way making her blush felt like triumph.
Or, the survey course in college, where you were always borrowing paper from her. The way you would ask, after she was settled, just for the pleasure of watching her tuck her hair behind her ear and rifle through her bag. The way she thought with her pen pressed against her lips. You see all this.
Like the time you walked her to her car in the rain. Her small face looking up at you. Her features more severe in her twenties, not yet softened with kindness and mothering. The you, though, that’s what’s most different. Your recollection is always present you, dating past her, so that you don’t have all these years of estrangement, or the small vault of selfishness where you’ve tucked the you that was, to be pulled out occasionally, and checked for size. This doesn’t fit, anymore, right? I’ve outgrown it for all time, haven’t I?
I sent her an email a year ago today. Just an email. It seems like such a small gesture to change my life. But that’s the point, isn’t it? We deserve the life we can imagine. The life we are willing to create.