I remember the first time I really looked at F—. She was the friend of a friend and he had assured me she was straight, so I was not to worry about it. Then she also assured me of that fact, so I was free to look, and only look. And so I did but lightly, with glasses on, to put up that barrier of okay versus not okay.
It was more than six months later when the glasses were forcibly removed from my eyes. In that time we talked constantly, instant messaged at all hours of the day and night, constant text messages even though they were still expensive then, outings and dances and drinks, long lazy days on sagging college couches and stale study lounges… Only after I allowed myself to be drawn into the orbit of her Artemisian best friend, pursuing her with the clumsy cadence of awkward ending adolescence and budding pre-adulthood, did F— yank those glasses off in a fit of pique and jealousy and heat.
Two years after that we broke up. Eight months after that we would never utter another word to each other. And now, many years later, she still refuses to even look at me, to acknowledge my presence as a human being let alone me, even when we are forced to share the same physical space at weddings, reunions, and things of that sort. The sad truth is that I still feel it, you know, what drew us together in the first place. Part of it comes from a long familiarity that probably won’t ever fade but I know part of it comes from the knowledge that it’s not dead yet.
Chemistry is not like a flame, it can’t be snuffed out between two fingertips or a gust of wind. It’s much harder to kill.
I will always know her walk. I will always be able to pick her out of a crowd. And I have come to peace with that even though the shape of my face, the existence of my being, is a disgusting thing to her. I disgust her and I hate that I do but we can’t go back and fix the past, we can’t change who we were, we can’t change history.
All I can say is that sometimes it’s better when the glasses stay on.