How it began

There used to be a theory that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

Thursday 5 October

Day 1

You greet me with sparkling eyes. It’s somewhat unnerving. We sit across from each other; bridge the space with conversation that has since slipped from memory. I intend for our first kiss to be brief. It isn’t.

2

Your text pops up on my screen — would I like to see you again today? I shouldn’t make a habit of this, I think, but I’ve already agreed. Again, unnerved. You hold me differently, as if you’ve done it all your life.

3

Well, at the very least, you do well under pressure.

4

I don’t tell you that the forest after the rains reminds me of home. Nostalgia connects the trees. You reach for my hand; your kiss is different now. More urgent, than tender. More asking a question, than giving an answer.

5

Your absence is profound. I really shouldn’t be making a habit of this, I think.

6

You stop to watch water, and tell me about trees. You’re offering me something about yourself; I’m trying to find a way to do the same. Instead, I tell you about the world’s best ice cream. Close enough.

7

I glance up from my wine glass and you’re staring at me, sparkling eyes again. Unnerved, again. You touch my cheek, my waist, my thigh. Tonight, you make me laugh and I feel any semblance of sense slip away.

8

I tell you about my birthday traditions and catch myself hoping to share one with you.

9

I know we’re in a bar full of people, but you lean towards me as though you’ve forgotten they are there. Sometimes I forget too.

10

I am attempting to drown out the noise of the inner city. As I always do on nights like this, some deep part of my soul demands the calm of the ocean. I stand in the water, waves breaking around my thighs. In some other version of this story, you’re here holding my hand.

11

I am unaccustomed to this heightened sense of simultaneous peace and exhilaration that you bring.

12

We have slipped into the intimacy of old friends who have become something more. I am sure that part of me has been waiting to kiss you all my life.

13

I want to show you a place where the stars touch the earth but I have a theory about land, and hearts, and reclamation. And you have ocean in your eyes and your heart — either I will swim, or drown, but I don’t know if I can reclaim what I give to you.

14

I am usually a mind full of stories, and a mouth full of words. But today, today the words fall from my mouth before my mind has a chance to piece them together. There are only two options from here —

15

Yesterday, you were just a boy holding a coffee cup in my hallway. This morning, all the details seem irrelevant except, that now I call you mine.

16

There are days, like today, when the whole world is fragmented for me and if I quiet my mind, just enough, for just long enough, I can pick out the pieces that I want and examine them in uninterrupted detail. Today, I can only pick out pieces that remind me of you.

17

I’m trying to think of a word. A word for longing. A word for restless contemplation of everything to come. I’ve lived my life under a veil of nostalgia, and for the first time, someone asked me to look forwards instead of back, and I don’t have the words.

18

I’m asleep when you arrive tonight. Candles flickering; music lulling. It feels like coming home, you say softly in my ear. I’m afraid I’ve made a habit of loving you.

19

 —  if I go now, it will hurt, but less than it will next Autumn, or the Spring after that

20

but if I stay  —

21

There are only two options from here, and I have already made a habit of loving you,.