When he spoke, words didn’t matter. It was a flick of a wrist, or a waggle of a finger or an eyebrow lifting. His language wasn’t English, it was True. He spoke true. It was beautiful and I fell in love.
I fell in love with that head tilt and that knuckle crack. I believed him when he told me of adventures far-fetched and impossible. I nodded, mesmerized, as he recounted brushing his teeth. It didn’t matter that when we met I hardly talked; all I cared about was hearing True and hearing it from him. I told no one of my love; was constantly paranoid that somebody would see it and tell him and he won’t talk to me anymore; afraid that they would see it in my eyes, or my smile or my clasped hands. My hands were always clasped when we—he—talked.
He had this way of just…including you. Including you in his joy, his anxieties, his dreams… He would laugh that warm laughter of his and his head would fall back ever so slightly and you could see this scar he had at the base of his jaw. Cycling accident, he told me. And when he was stressed, his eyes would flit from one thing to the next, landing at you for a second or two, begging you—beseeching you—to put an end to his troubles, before moving on again. And when it was clear that you could do nothing to help, the corners of his mouth would mould into this heart breaking smile and his fingers would graze against your arm, forgiving you, telling you it’s okay, but at the same time making you feel all the more guilty for your helplessness. I loved him with all my heart and soul. So much so that I refused to trivialize it with mindless doodles of our initials or making up scenarios about the two of us; I was truly, blissfully in love.
I was 12 when I first met him. I’ve known him for 4 years, 5 months and 11 days. I’ve been in love with him for 4 years, 5 months and 10 and half days. I haven’t told him yet. But I think he knows.
It was agony, watching him with other girls. Watching him speak true and see them clasp their hands. Not the way I did—but pretty close. I hated him in those moments with every fibre of my being. Hated him for being so damn sincere. But then I would see him crack a knuckle or tilt his head and would go immediately from being unhappily in love to simply in love.
When we were twelve and he felt like nothing was ever going to work out, he would come up beside me and intertwine my pinkie with his. Like we were making a promise. Like I was making a promise. And I used to pray with all my heart that I would keep it.
Now that we’re all “grown-up” pinky promises seem silly.
But even then, when he sidles up beside me and takes my pinkie, I still pray with all my heart.