Before You Can Say "Love at First Sight"
There isn’t just baggage, but a conveyor belt of lost and abandoned luggage, that rarely see’s the light.
This is the moment my boyfriend and I knew we were in far deeper than any relationship had ever taken us before. I tell it from his perspective, which may seem weird, but that is how we work: One of us understands the other and somehow we manage to communicate with the rest of the world.
Well there’s young love, you know, first with the sort of girls who speak in riddles of giggles, then with the ones who dump you for thinking that fastidious means fast and hideous. You expect a little heartbreak over the years, a few whirlwind romances and a lot of rebounds, until one day you stop expecting anything and settle for the company of warm beer and frozen meals. But then you run into someone at a supermarket, accidentally swap iPads at the gym and before you can say "love at first sight" you have a doe-eyed orphan in wellingtons splayed awkwardly across your kitchen flaw chewing meticulously on her index finger, and for some unfathomable reason you feel as if you hit the jack pot. Or maybe that’s just me?
"Havana, cigars, Cher and the circus," she twitters, in a language that was once as foreign as menstruation to me.
"I like none of those things, except Cher. Can you guarantee me some Cher?" She giggles, returning to randomised thought, a smile inhibiting the progress of her cuticle chewing.
Of course when you find yourself passion ridden, there is a period in which you question your attachment, a time where your friends offer you only criticism, predictions of doom and taunts of manhood lost. Something about being whipped?
Well you can see their point, when you meet a girl with permanent tear stains under her eyes and a bottle of cough mixture permanently on her person, you know there is bound to be baggage. And when you worry to leave her because she forgets to eat, you begin to realise there isn’t just baggage, but a conveyor belt of lost and abandoned luggage, that rarely see’s the light.
It has a ritual, the sadness, and I used to walk on eggshells just to avoid upsetting it, because the pattern we can deal with together. At night time when it slithers in, unpins our door and circles round our bed, we can pull out extra blankets, music, tissues. We can have the same conversation every night, have both our hearts break in unison and then we can stitch them back up with the familiar, with lavender and cocoa, until we fall asleep void and empty, embraced only by the knowledge that in the morning I will greet her swollen eyed and snotty, as she lays upon the floor and chortles soothing irrelevances to happy melodies.
Stretch and smile, she yawns you join in, cupboards slamming, breakfast, ‘ready’ kiss, eyes open mind closed ignorance and wellingtons, water running, tablet swallowed and down she comes, numbed and balanced, ready for a day. Repeat tomorrow, the next day and the one after.
It seemed to me at first that the innate purity of intention that shone from the toffee eyes and milky skin made the darkness and terror that she contained all the more incongruous, but soon she taught me different.
"They really are pretty, these handles, like a big-arsed woman." She chirruped, enveloped in her own artistic convictions.
The questions will heighten, there will be a point where her greatness, her power, be that of a good or bad nature, will make you feel as though you will never be enough. It will creep up on you slowly, but her pattern will wax and wane, strongest when you least expect it. Darkness will visit with his friends and take her from you, entice her into worlds of no restraint, and she will tell you every scary thought she ever had. You will lose your grip, sometimes look on numb, drained of empathy or even guilt, her illness will become a dappled window through which you view your world, and this is when you will want to jump. This is when you will pine for superficiality, for farcical relations built on aesthetic compliments and routine sex. This is when you will want to quit. But you won’t.
Because one beautiful day she will wear make-up again, without fear that it will run. She will put on heels and know she won’t fall, and together you will catch a train to the summer carnival and in a moment of passion driven inspiration you will get high and ride the Ferris wheel. And in that moment you will realise that every tear she shed, she shed with you. She shed in comfort and security that you would draw her back from storm clouds. You will realise in that moment that something makes an orphan stick around, and it’s not her parents or her puppy dog. It’s the prospect of whirlwind romance and cathartic outpours, followed by lavender and cocoa, and artistic kitchen appliances.
And in that moment, as the world beneath you waltzes slowly out of focus and the lull of Greensleeves echoes through your chest, you will feel the luckiest man alive.
"Do you ever feel as though the whole world belongs to you?" She sits up, staring deep into her palm and curling her fingers around it one by one.
I shake my head and breath in slowly.
"Yes. Yes I do."