My romantic brain has picked this entire scenario apart. I remember the first time I saw you, unenthused, odd, apart. You were the first to point out to me that you had resting bitch face, but that was years after initially laying eyes on you at that mc chris concert. My eyes slid over your seemingly joyless expression, and I made a mental note of the unhappy man standing slightly to the back left of our always jolly mutual friend. I thought that maybe it wasn’t your kind of show. But the music started, and I forgot all about you as I sang along to my favorite songs. Where were you at the end of the night? Did we all get drinks after the music stopped? Not a clue.
The next time I remember seeing you was a year or so later when our friend asked me to be an extra in your movie. It rained that day, and all of us extras just sat around in your friend’s living room, watching How I Met Your Mother and waiting to be needed. My attention was evenly divided between the television screen and the hustle and bustle of the man in charge of our ragtag band. You were overseeing makeup in the kitchen, and periodically giving various crew members directions. I found something about you intriguing, a little off-putting. I don’t know if I put two and two together then, and saw that you were the same guy I’d met at the mc chris concert. You weren’t unhappy, though, so I bet I didn’t. It kept raining that night, and I never got to be in the movie, though I watched it a couple of times once it was released. I thought it was clever, and I was proud to have been considered for a part, even if it never happened.
What I really remember was my 30th birthday, and seeing you at the end of that bar. Feeling drawn to you, but resisting the urge to draw attention to myself. I was taken, and I’m not naturally very extroverted. It never made sense to me to try to make friends with guys when I was in a relationship. It seems a little too forward. What can I say, I’m old fashioned that way. But probably more important was that I could overhear your conversation from my place a few barstools away, and you just seemed too smart for me. I was very conscious of you that night, though. I can’t remember a single other face in the bar the way that I can see yours. When I got up to walk to the bathroom at one point, I was so self-conscious of my stride. Were you watching me as I crossed the room? I doubt it. But then I thought maybe you were. That was a particularly happy birthday for me, even though I was at someone else’s birthday party, and none of my own friends had shown up. I had an amazing time, just drinking by myself, taking selfies, talking to whoever sat down beside me. You and I did talk for maybe a minute – long enough for our friend to introduce us for what was at least the fourth or fifth time at that point in our travels. I left the bar that night feeling elated. Was it the beginning of falling for you? A hint that something could be different? Like I said, I have a romantic brain. I’m building a story in reverse. There was nothing between us then. You didn’t know I existed. But isn’t it fun to let your mind play tricks on you at a later date?
Then of course there came the afternoon at the movies when I snapped at you for not remembering me. And Knights of Badassdom, a completely unintended date. Then Neutral Milk Hotel, and the realization that you were made of magic. A comedy show a couple of weeks later, followed by one of the most intense makeout sessions I’d had since high school. You’ve had me hooked since the beginning, with the hours of sincere conversation, bouts of laughter, genuine concern for my wellbeing, a reassuring physical presence, those breathtaking kisses. You’ve become a necessary component. I could live without you, but I don’t know that it would be worthwhile.
Last night you came home later than I’d expected. You were out so late that I’d almost texted you an hour earlier to demand your whereabouts. Then I realized that since I wouldn’t be texting out of fear or jealousy, only a vague sense of irritation that my schedule was being tampered with, I should stop being ridiculous and let you have your fun. I’d only been asleep for maybe 30 minutes when the front door banged open (not your fault – since the painter gave it that last coat, we’ve had to heave ourselves into the door every time to get it to unstick from the frame). That didn’t bug me, but for some reason when you dropped your wallet on the end table a minute or two later, I was startled and my heart skipped a beat. I tore off my sleeping mask and stared accusingly at you, bathed in lamplight there in the living room, looking absolutely mortified to know you’d woken me. For a second I was angry, but it dissolved immediately as I saw your sweet expression, so pained at having caused me any discomfort. You walked into the bedroom and bent over me, staring deeply into my eyes, apologizing for coming home so late, and for waking me. Your eyes were so full of love, so warm, so joyous. You kissed me in penance. Once again I was overcome with how much I love you, and how happy you make me.
We are both struggling with life right now. Things aren’t easy. We’re trying to make our way in a world that makes so little sense, holding on to the parts that are real and right and true. For me, you’re one of those parts. I’ve still got a lot of healing to go, but you make my life a better place to be. Until that night last year when I realized my fascination was reciprocated, and that I seemed to have stumbled upon exactly what I was looking for, hidden in plain view, I always thought that old adage of “you’ll just know” was complete and utter bullshit. But now I get it. Everything just fell into place. Yeah, we’re not perfect. But we’re perfect for each other. And now I know what knowing feels like. It’s a strange and welcome sensation.