He was the high school senior that everyone went ga-ga for. Including me. He was tall, athletic, funny, and good with kids. He was amazingly nice and had a smile that reached his eyes and went straight down your throat and into your stomach. He wasn’t the first one for me, but he was the first one who wiggled his way into my heart, and stayed in my good graces. The first one to help me forget I was hurting. The first one who never hurt me.
He broke my rule of ‘not falling for anyone who was loved by all’. He was the one who made my heart flutter again after that first heartbreak. He was the one who smiled at me from across the pool and would look away when I tried to look closer. He was the one who asked for my number and texted me during the wee hours of the night. He was the one who called me when I was sick and spent hours talking on the phone to me about swimming and everything under the sun.
He was cliched moments. He was distractions and smiles and butterflies.
He was September all the way to February, he was the itch that I couldn’t get rid of.
He was the recipient of my stares behind darkly tinted sunglasses. He was the knight in shining armor that saved me from hurt and from bullies. He was the voice that brought me back to earth when my favorite pet died. He was the big, boisterous laugh that I adopted. He was the guy who knew when to high-five me when I didn’t get a medal. He was the guy I went to the pool for. He was the first one to tell me, besides my family, that he loved me.
I was fearful of reJection, fearful of hopes and dreams and making the same mistakes. I was a sophomore. I thought I knew everything. I thought treating those words as nothing would be normal. I thought I was going to get hurt again.
He slipped away and I never regretted anything more. But to my surprise, he stayed constant in my life. Periods when I would see him and we’d act like nothing happened. Little shoulder punches, winks and jokes that were nothing. Cheering for me during competitions. That smile I loved so much.
Nearly six years pass.
Now he is still a friend. He is still an itch I get every few times a year when we meet. We meet rarely, yes, but we meet. We don’t text anymore, but when we see each other it’s like my world stops turning. He is still smiles and jokes, is still winks and shoulder pushes. I don’t swim anymore, but this time it’s my sister he cheers for. He got a bit chubby, but he’s still the heartthrob the girls sighed for.
He is still a smile, and a little jolt in my pulse when he passes by. He is still blushes and stares from behind sunglasses. He is still high-fives and secret moments, he still sticks up for me when people tease me. He is still a flutter in my heart, even though he shares that flutter with someone else. More than that, more than all of those things, in his eyes, I see that he is a chance. A chance that blossoms every time we meet. It won’t be a flower tomorrow (which is the next time we’ll see each other), and it won’t be a flower next week… but when it grows, it will become a chance to start again, a chance to take back my laughs and nonchalance. I like the sound of that. A chance.
A beautiful chance.