In Love With The View

I was in love with the view, and I couldn’t bring myself to move.
I watched you from a distance. You never knew.
I saw your spirits lift with laughter as you spoke with friends. The street was filled with smoke and sirens, but I knew your voice. I will never forget that voice. And so I could feel that laughter shake my bones as it navigated its way through those stumbling footsteps and poured into my ears.
I’ve gotten used to being in love with the view of you. From the distance, you inhabit my dreams and give them new life.
I am free to paint in the details. Yes, your dark hair breathes in the silky moonlight, but with the stroke of my brush, the moonlight becomes a stray gray hair that I know you’ll pluck in the cold light of morning.
You’ll fret as the weight of your age hangs over your head, and your husband will tease you for letting such a small thing bother you.
With that last thought, the dream dissolves. I am brought back to my place, my perch — always on the outside looking in.
It sounds like a lonely place, but I can suggest with a smile that it is not. I revel in the opportunity to create you as I wish to believe you are. It may sound selfish, but what really is the alternative for me? Should I instead burden myself with jealousy? With anger? These aren’t exactly attractive options.
You have found a happiness, and I am grateful for that. It is something I believe you deserve. But forgive me for also believing we could have a different happiness. I won’t be modest; I believe it would be a more fulfilling happiness. Instead of a racing heart, you’d have a heart skipping beats. I don’t have to tell you how much more scary and exhilarating the latter experience is — you have felt it for yourself.
“Can you stop this from happening? I feel like I’m dying,” you told me.
“I could place my hand over your heart, and I can promise you it would stop,” I said. “You would forget your heart was even there. But you and I both know your heart is not mine to hold. So we have no choice but to take up a second, less satisfying option. I must go.”
So I don’t tell you that I’ve never met a more beautiful woman than you in my life. I don’t mention how it feels like I’m falling when you tell me a secret about yourself. I don’t so much as whisper the fact that I hear “Too Much Too Young” and — with a tinge of spite — think of you.
Much of this seems like make-believe when I dwell upon it. Despite our breathless confessions to one another during a minute here and 30 seconds there, we are little more than strangers. We grasp in those fleeting moments to feel out one another’s composition, but we come away with grains of sand. I think that fact helps keep the wanting alive. And maybe that wanting will wash over us in waves our entire lives without ever carrying us away.
Here’s what I can say with certainty: I know you enough to know that you are something special. I speak of your illuminating kindness, of your understated intelligence, of your charming deviance.
I’ll keep using my brush to paint in the details. You are, after all, my favorite subject.
But once again I must go.
If I’m not careful, I’ll paint myself into this view. Gazing too long into this promising picture, I may even begin to believe it is real.
I walk through the crowd and melt into the darkness before you spot my admiring eyes and feel obliged to greet them with a wave.
Tomorrow the sunlight will rain down upon me, and it will illuminate a new day of life without you — the only life I’ve ever known.
I will find solace in still having that which is mine. Closing my eyes, I will forever be in love with the view and, I like to believe, so much of you.

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