It hit me hard. Harder than I would like to admit. Before you, I had been invincible. With a hardened heart and realistic outlook on the world, no feelings were too out of line or too much for me to subdue. Insert you. Whether it was your insanely great music taste or your crazy love for anything and everything different, I can’t be sure. There were so many things about you that left me on the edge of my seat, willing you to go on and continue speaking even when words had run out.
I was, for lack of a better word, captivated by you. So completely enamored by your presence that it became hard for me to see my own life outside of my time spent with you. I craved you, in the most simple of ways. I craved to be near you at night when my mind ran rampant with looming deadlines and commitments. I craved to hear your words, and their calming effect on my restless heart. But these cravings left me with a dull, bottomless ache in your absence, desperately seeking anything to subdue the feelings for just a little longer.
This ache became particularly harsh at 4:03 in the morning, or rather the night things changed. I could feel my legs and arms clinging to pillows, acting as a placeholder for where you normally slept. My mind, normally consumed with thoughts of the future, was now blank and doubtful about the existence of a future outside of my future with you. But this was where I was. Alone, restless, and trying to figure out where to go from here.
I had gone so long without realizing it, but you were the center of my life. My friends were your friends and my home was your home. There was no clear barrier or break from what was yours and what was mine. I could no longer remember what my life was before you. Where did I like to go and what did I like to do? At precisely 4:05 in the morning, I was realizing that I was not only missing you, but missing my sense of self.
Before, as in before I met you, I was a realist. I was the girl you could count on to drive around with you at 2 am when he didn’t text you back. I was the girl who could listen to you cry and find the right words to say to somehow ease the ache just enough to realize that he was insignificant. I was not, however, the girl who could reciprocate these emotions. I kept my feelings at bay and kept everyone around me at an arm’s length. I lived my life with a hardened heart, ignorant to fleeting feelings and their inevitable ends. Or so I thought.
It was October of my freshman year when I first met you. I was starting to find my footing and life felt less chaotic. I had a good group of friends around me and I could feel my invincibility peaking. Only three months into school and I had my life together and in control. Nothing could derail me. So I went out, with a group of friends, to a frat house in search of loud people and alcohol.
Enter you. Clad in your black crew neck and overgrown hair, I could tell you were full of yourself by the crowd you had around you and your overly expressive gestures. You were telling a story and had everyone’s attention. I could tell that you thrived off of this energy and that you were trying to add as many details as possible, hoping to captivate and hold your audience’s attention for as long as possible. You were the center of attention, and the complete opposite of me.
Not to say that I didn’t like a good story as much as the next girl, but I didn’t embellish and fabricate specifics to seem more interesting. I was content with my stories, their dullness and all. But you were creative, twisting and molding other worldly scenarios and events into a continuous narrative, attempting to intrigue the listener as much as possible.
As if you were somehow able to read my mind, full of its doubts about the authenticity of your story, our eyes met and you stumbled on your words. Personally, I was taken aback, fearful that my inside thoughts had somehow permeated their way out into the real world and across the room to you. I was snapped out of this thought when I felt my arm being pulled towards another corner of the room. With this, our mutual stare dropped and your story continued.
This was the only interaction I had with you during that night, and I had all but forgotten about this empty moment, until one of my friends brought you up. I didn’t initially realize she was talking about you, but as I watched her mimic your animated gestures and relay some crazy story of a guy’s weekend at some underground music festival, I began to realize she was one of the captivated listeners of your story. After piecing this together, I soon found out your name was Luke and that you were a couple of years older than us. You were apparently quite the charmer and became the sole source of discussion for the rest of the night.
Luke, an excellent story teller with a reputation that proceeded him. You were quite the catch, as my friends said over and over again.
“Luke has such a cool life.”
“Luke has amazing good hair.”
“Luke has the best smile.”
The compliments were overwhelming and I could feel myself start to fade from the conversation as their attention diverted to me. They could tell I wasn’t listening to their declarations of admiration towards you, and this took them by surprise.
“Kate, did you see him? How could you miss him, he is literally your type to a tee.” This was accurate. While I hated to admit it, your grungy vibe was right up my alley and I was initially intrigued. It wasn’t until I observed your animated story telling that my intrigue quickly fleeted. But my friends knew, and they were correct in realizing that out of everyone in our group, I was the one who should have been enamored with you.
So why wasn’t I? I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to question my lack of intrigue. But as we all began to fall asleep and close the door on our night, thoughts of you remained locked away, destined to be just forgotten memories as soon as the sun began to rise just a few hours later.