This Is The Trouble With Love


It was his teeth that did me in. Perfectly straight, perfectly white teeth. No matter the context, no matter who I was with, every time he smiles or laughs I melt so deeply that I feel like a puddle in my shoes.

There was this one time that we were playing chess and the game was beginning to get very intense. After my move, he studied the board so fiercely. His eyebrows were furrowed in such a way that it perfectly lead my eyes across his forehead and down his nose, right to his mouth. I was studying the impeccable lines creased into his bronze skin when he looked up, right into my eyes. He laughed at me, and then he smiled at me. “Checkmate.” My heart has never felt so full since that moment.

He has his problems, though. He’s struggling with himself, his lack of motivation. He just told me today that he’s started taking anti-depressants, and that they make him feel strange. But, I hope they help him. It’s unfathomable to me how he can feel so badly, because when I think of him, he is a such a perfect human being in the only way a person can be perfect with all of their flaws surrounding them out in the open.

I started feeling this way just about 4 years ago, maybe longer. I expressed my affection for him on a few occasions, and, despite our close friendship, he was never interested in me or anybody else, for that matter. There were many nights that I would lay awake and wallow as my heart throbbed with aches, but, after each rejection, my feelings never wavered. Even after a hiatus between us for over a year, when I saw him after that lapse, my feelings surged through me and pierced my heart again.

My biggest trouble is how good we are together. No matter where we are, we can always find something to talk about. I feel so comfortable around him that it’s uncanny and, frankly, a little unnatural, given the circumstances. I am overrun with temptation to reach out and hold him or simply be as near to him as I can be. But, I can’t bring myself to express my feelings to him again. My fear of his rejection is bottomless. My fear of him not spending time with me any longer is profound. Yet, I long for him more and more each time I see him. I find things to put meaning into, that likely have no meaning at all. But, I keep those thoughts in the back of my mind, just in case they do.

I like him more than anyone else, and I don’t like that. I would like to be given a chance to see how we worked, but I don’t want to do the wanting anymore. My time is running out, and I could be working with less than a year. If I get accepted to NYU, what then? Do I just leave without ever saying a word? Do I tell him immediately on the off chance that he’ll reciprocate? If he reciprocates, then what happens when I leave? My head weighs so heavy when I think of these things.

But, mostly, I want to feel his warm heartbeat beside me when I lay down to sleep at night.

image – Chiara Attieri