Falling In Love With Strangers

I wanted to write this down before I forgot about our 21st-century love story–of sorts.

To be honest, it’s difficult to read between the lines we diligently set for ourselves when communication comes in the form of blue, sometimes green, bubbles and read receipts and hello’s across ambiguous telephone lines and sometimes seeing your face through glowing screens. I’ll keep this brief but meaningful, just like our time together. One month was all it took, and little did you know, I could fall so damn hard and so damn fast for someone I had never met. I’m sorry we never got to share that spoon; I’m sorry we found each other at the wrong right time; I’m sorry life had other plans.

It was as if we were acting out the storyline of Before Sunrise, except I stayed on the train as you got off. There’s a profound sense of emptiness left–like everything is folding in on itself and I’m left to bathe in something that resembles silence, but more like a steady breathing that I’ve never quite heard so loudly before. It’s like plucking splinters out one by one. There aren’t many, but every once in a while I get poked, and I’m reminded that something doesn’t belong anymore. It’s more like too much space all too suddenly and more like back to square one.

I’m hoping this gets lost somewhere in the midst of love and life, only to be found by another type of stranger, someone who needs it the most. But for now, I’ll be treading water, not quite drowning, and dreaming sweet navy blue dreams.

Before I Graduate

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, on my way to something really grand, I’ll sit in silence and peer out the window.

It’s nice to bathe in the moments that come right before the finale: the burning in my chest, the sparks in my eyes, even the tingle just beyond the belly. This part’s always my favorite.

Ever since I was about five or six, my parents would count down the years until both my sister and I left for college. It was a number I found myself dreading… 12, 11, 10… though, it was never about my parents having to let go. I’d like to think it was a reminder that the time we spent together was precious and that the effort I put into my life really mattered. What did I want to learn? Who did I want to be? College had always seemed like this far-off concept that never quite arrived. Until the day that it did.

Moving out was hard.

Moving three thousand miles across the country was even harder. I left friends that I admired, family that I loved, and palm trees that graced only my dreams. Home became a multiplicity of things. If you know me at all, you know that perhaps I wasn’t fully devoted to my life out in the East. Yes, there were so many highs, but there were also handfuls of lows that boggled my sanity. Like many others, there were times I considered leaving. To this day, I can still remember the frantic calls made at one in the morning in the basement lounge as I muffled back tears.

But what good would that have done? Would I have met better mentors or more supportive friends? Would I have been a better person? The grass always seemed greener even though I was standing in a field of marigolds.

Four years later and here I am, right before the finale. Exactly fourty-seven days out. But graduating doesn’t necessarily mean bigger and better things. For some, it means infinite nine to fives that are spent staring out looming glass windows and reminiscing over days when all we did was lay out on the greenspace and pass around carafes of twisted teas. For others, it means gripping that diploma for dear life and wishing we could shake the meaning out of it.

And just like we did in elementary school, and middle school, and high school, and college, we’re going to make a lot of mistakes. Mistakes are what make us human. But if I leave you with one word of advice, it’s to never make excuses. Make mistakes and make them deliberately. Be decisive. At least, you’ll have a goddamn backbone.

I don’t want these years to be the best years of my life.

I want every year to be the best year of my life. I want passion and I want truth and I want long contemplative conversations over gin and tonics, and I want love. Most importantly, I want love.

I wish love to each and every one of you in your future endeavors. And I truly hope you found fragments of yourself within the folds of then and now; the parts that burn in your chest, the parts that sparkle in your eyes, and even the parts that tingle just beyond the belly.