What happens when an artist falls in love with another artist?
She felt as if she wasn’t in love with another artist, but rather, a form of art. He was the kind of art that made artists think that their brains were the ones which conceived the idea of his existence. He was the type of art that made artists pray that their hands were the ones which molded and could touch his face. He was the category of art that made artists wish that their hearts were the ones which loved and could exhibit him to the world. He was the subject of art that made artists realize that their eyes followed him wherever he went.
It was nearing the year-end cold season. Tree leaves were turning a rusty color, ready to peel themselves off from the branches and fall, as the season suggests. This was her favorite time of the year: her being able to wear her autumnal wardrobe collection and her feelings relating to the descending movement of leaves. It was fall. And fall she did as well, for the boy who took up the featured gallery space in her mind of an art museum.
On one of the stone benches across the building of their college, she positioned herself, plugged in her ear buds, pressed play and closed her eyes. The playlist, dedicated to the boy who was a year younger than her, amplified the emotions she felt for him once again.
No, it isn’t strange to like one who’s younger than you, she thought. He is, after all, still towering at least nine inches over me. Crazy how the height of a person could make you tremble yet feel secure, and not to mention, could make them seem older.
He didn’t give the impression of an athlete, especially those fond of outdoors sports with sun exposure. He was pale with a soft glow, much like the first rays of the early morning sun around the time first period starts. He looked fragile with his thin stature. At least that was how her eyes saw him. To her, he was like a prized antique porcelain from the Orient—-a tall, thin, pale jar that held volumes of substance.
Her eyelids snapped open. Like a jar? How absurd, I can’t believe I just compared my crush to a jar, a nonliving object-
Her thoughtful monologue evaporated as soon as it condensed, for there he was, exiting the building. Since she sat directly across the entrance, it seemed as if he was walking over to her.
He was alone. This was her chance. She had pondered on this moment and had planned it out for months. After a bin of crumpled papers, two used pens and a tired brain and heart, she was done with writing her note and poem for him. The papers lay inside her bag, fragile and pale as the person she wrote to and for, yet to be exposed to the outside world.
Letting her eyes float over him, her senses flooded her being as her mind began to swim in the depths of what-if’s and maybe’s. She knew she was as frozen as arctic waters, and she hoped it was the breeze that made her shiver and not his gaze as he scanned his surroundings—her included. She hoped she wasn’t too obvious, at the same time, she hoped he wasn’t too oblivious.
But she could never tell if he was looking at her then. A sun ray peeked out from between the tree branches above and settled on his face, making his eyes disappear almost altogether, like the waning crescent from her favorite moon phases. He raised a long, bony hand to block the glare and soon, he was of her arm’s reach in search of a place to sit.
As much as she wanted him beside her, she didn’t want him beside her in that way. She didn’t want him to sit next to her just because there was space beside her. And she didn’t care if she was being too picky about the scenario. If something is meant to be, it will happen; one way or another.
After seeing her place her bag next to her on the bench (which took up the space he wanted to sit on), he averted his narrowed gaze to the crowded pavilions right behind her and moved on.
Was it a mistake? Was this the chance I missed? Was I supposed to let him sit with me and talk to me? The sudden invasion of such assumptions made her head spin at the reckless act. Now he probably thinks I’m selfish. He might even think I’m reserving the space for a friend. He might even think I’m waiting for my boyfriend, which I don’t have at all. Unless…
This was no time to think up a joke about adopting him as her boyfriend, though; she held the unspoken rule of “paycheck before boyfriend” close to her heart. Soon enough her thoughts settled as he took off his red backpack and sat on the newly vacated stone bench a few meters beside hers.
There it was again: the chance that returned for the second time because it pitied her heart that yearned to get close to his. And there was no denying that she did want to go up to him and introduce herself.
To any passing stranger, both of them seemed to be waiting for someone; perhaps, to be even waiting for each other without them realizing it.
Her hands were shaking. She couldn’t do this. Not right now, not yet, maybe not ever. She didn’t want to disrupt that peaceful life of his. He was the quiet type, and she didn’t want to embarrass herself in case she wouldn’t shut up once she said hello.
Writing in her journal during these unsteady moments made her hands calmer and more focused. Thus did fresh black ink for the boy blossom on a pristine page that very instant. Additionally, because her mind was in turmoil, she penned in expounded bullet forms.
- I want to know him. A lot. I want to know him because I like him.
I like him because I want to know him. I like him. A lot.
- Suddenly, school at 7am doesn’t seem so bad after all.
- He is wearing his navy blue, I suppose knit, pullover. It makes his shoulders wider and makes him taller. He gingerly took his phone out of his pocket, with those careful hands of his. I can imagine him holding my heart the same way. But my heart is the heart of a stranger, so would he be as gentle? I doubt so.
- I’m wearing my navy blue crochet pullover. This is too much of a coincidence. He pulls the navy blue top look off better than I can/do.
- A face like his belongs somewhere else but it seems as if his heart belongs here.
- I don’t care if people think he’s all I have on my mind this very moment. I want to write about him. They might think my writing is useless because it may seem like I’m immortalizing him. But they don’t realize that I write to express my feelings. Yes, my feelings for him will be magnified this way. Yes, my feelings for him will overwhelm me, the more I write about him. Then, before anyone knows it, I have already stopped thinking and writing about him. But for now, I am flooding my head with him. Because one day I know I won’t be able to contain another drop of him. I am flooding my head with him, only to drain him out of my heart in the end.
- I hope he doesn’t know that what I write and listen to have fragments of him. And I dedicate Taylor Swift’s old song Stay Beautiful to him because he deserves it.
- Superficial as my admiration of him may seem to be, I wish we could be friends (?!?) So I can admire him for real. And maybe get him his favorite snack on his birthday without the awkwardness of strangers.
- Wow. He’s looking in my directio-
No way. Is he looking at me? She held her breath again and casted so much of a side glance. It can’t possibly be me; he must have been looking at other captivating girls around me anyway.
The vibration of her cellphone made her tear her eyes away from him; she received a message from a friend whom she was to have lunch with.
Almost there, where are you?
His movement from her peripherals pulled her back to his presence again. He’s packing up? Already? But he just got here a few minutes ago, as much as I want to leave, I want him to stay… if that even makes sense…
He picked up his bag and stood up to walk over to her bench. One step, then two. His long strides were getting to her faster than she thought.
It was too soon. She felt it was still too early. It wasn’t time to get to know him.
Meet me at the carpark, she replied to her friend.
He was making his way to her with his impassive expression thanks to those eastern Asian eyes. Those same, tired eyes which caught her very own two years ago.
In the following seconds she was making her way past him. She held her head high and her shoulders back. He froze in place, confused if she made a mistake in missing him or if it was his mistake into thinking of her wanting to speak to him.
Today was not the day. Then and there she decided she wouldn’t talk to him, give him her note and poem, nor her attention and time. She didn’t even think of the imaginable future, which was unusual of her, if she would give him her number or even her heart in the time to come. One step, then two, she counted; I am walking away from you.
This was as far as she could get close and say hello to him—a walk-by and a silent goodbye.
to jul, my cr*sh at uni.
should i still try to reach him? this has never happened, by the way, purely out of fiction. but i do feel like how the first-person above feels. i run into him a lot but sometimes i cant tell between fate and coincidence. what do you guys think?