I am eating ice cream in the shower. I have officially sank to a new low.
It was a magical moment when I first laid eyes on him, the kind you read about in Nicholas Sparks's novels and hear about in Taylor Swift's songs. Time seemed to slow for the length of our passing in the hallway. It was still cold outside but spring had begun to emerge, bringing warm rains and longer days.
Aristotle told us that our intelligence resided within the heart.
Mint chocolate chip. My favorite.
The first time we spoke was at a friend's birthday party. I was more-than-slightly pretentious. I twirled my hair, I giggled. He was sarcastic, much like me, but I did not let him know this yet; instead, I laughed at his jokes, keeping mine to myself. I allowed my eyes to linger upon his for just a few seconds past comfortable. I caught him watching me as I conversed with friends. I knew then, as girls always do, that I had his attention; I had a chance.
Galen told the world the soul lived inside of the pounding mass in their chests. We would believe this for 1,500 years.
He has blown me off. Again.
I loved him before I knew him, and the more I knew about him, the more I loved him. We spent much of the summer exchanging subtle details about ourselves and wearing thick disguises. We discussed our interests, finding we shared many. When we were not together, we rarely spoke, though I spent many lonely moments wondering if his day was going well. We rarely kissed, but when we did, I felt sparks fly through my fingers and toes.
Andreas de Laguna told us that our emotions arose from the heart; pleasure as well as pain.
After placing the bowl, still containing the pale-green remnants of the best medication for a broken heart in the sink, I walk to my room. I lie in bed wondering what his excuse would be this time, writing poems containing words I wish I had the courage to say to him.
As summer began to fade into fall, we grew closer. He kissed me in front of our friends twice. We shared stories of our past loves, never speaking of our own. I made sarcastic jokes; he laughed. He told me I had a beautiful smile. We talked about our futures, where we wanted to be in ten years. Neither of us said we wanted to be married; instead, we said we wanted to have fulfilling careers, nice homes, and to get the hell out of Arkansas.
William Harvey finally informed us that the heart was merely a means of circulating blood throughout the body.
My phone vibrates. It's him. He tells me he's sorry about our plans not working out. He says he'll see me sometime soon.
As summer drew to a close, he began to distance himself, realizing he had allowed me to get too close and that had never worked out well for him before. He rebuilt the walls I had managed to destroy within a matter of days. We began to make only brief glances across the room when surrounded by others, both of us hiding behind our own sad whiskey eyes. My friends told me I should move on; I told them I wasn't ready. I had found something I had never before experienced. He was a mirror of myself, he understood me. Those of us who have spent much of our lives feeling alone learn to find comfort in the solitude, but never do we become comfortable with the sadness loneliness carries in hand. We, who have never felt understood find the most exhilarating and amazing feeling is when, for a brief moment, we can take off our masks and bare our scars to another who will not think any less of us for doing so. He made me feel more human than I had felt in a very long time, because for every wall he had built around his heart, I had ten. They crumpled like aluminum foil to his heavy heart; I did not want to rebuild them. I realized, though, that he had changed his mind; I, however, had not.
In Greek mythology, Eros, the god of love, shot two kinds of arrows into his victims: golden with dove feathers, inspiring love in the hearts of both gods and mortals, and lead arrows with owl feathers, causing indifference in the hearts of those that loved another; one arrow, two victims.
I lie in my bed and stare at my ceiling, wondering if I should text him back.
Fall had arrived, and after finishing nearly an entire bottle of liquid courage, I finally asked him how he felt about me. He said that he didn't know what he wanted. I cried. He held me. I kissed him as many times as I wanted to that night, truly believing it would be the last time I ever could. He kissed me back. He told me I was beautiful. I pleaded my case to him; a lengthy list of qualifications I possessed that he would never find in another girl. He said that this was for the best. I cried. He held me until I stopped. He told me that I would be smart to walk away, but I couldn't.
We now know that love-at-first-sight occurs when dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and phenylethylamine flood the brain.
"Okay," I reply. "I hope you have a good night."
Fall left, as did winter. He avoided me for a while, believing time and space could heal the scars we left on one another. I began to see other boys. They were funny, but not like he was. They did not understand me. When we parted, I felt no pain. I did not cry. He slowly began to make his way back into my life and I greeted him with open arms. He invited me to meet his father; he even held my hand in front of him.
There is a link between physical and emotional pain in the brain. Both regions overlap and are activated simultaneously, which is why it literally hurts when our hearts break.
My phone vibrates. "You too, sweetie," he says. I continue to stare at my ceiling.
We write ourselves into the stories we wish to be a part of, leaving only memories behind. Loving another human is always a risk; one I had never eagerly made before him. Now, I find comfort as well as pain in the memories of the summer days we spent together. We both left scars but we also faded some that had been left by others. He and I are still close, though we rarely speak; we rarely kiss, but when we do, I feel sparks fly through my fingers and toes. We may never have a happily-ever-after; in fact, we probably won’t, but he will forever remain written in my story as the boy who told me I was beautiful after I took off my mask.
Recently, it has been discovered that acetaminophen, one of the most common pain relievers, can ease the physical effects of emotional pain. Ice cream doesn't hurt, either.
About the author:
Falon is currently a junior Psychology major/Creative Writing minor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Born in southern Illinois, she has lived within the bounds of ten different towns throughout Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas in her twenty-two years of life. She prefers animals to people, and coffee to anything else.