“I think I remember reading a comparison of falling in love to being in a car wreck.” He said to me, our conversation going on much longer than I should have allowed.
“That’s only if you both feel the same way.” I replied.
” But professing your love towards someone who doesn’t feel remotely the same? That’s more like falling down the stairs at a crowded party that you’re the guest of honor at, and she’s on your arm as you make your entrance from the second floor; man of the hour, cock of the walk, everybody loves you and we’re all gonna have a good fucking time tonight.”
“You’re in jeans and your socks, flying casual because, hey, it’s what you do, and what you so erroneously think she likes about you. It’s your moment, you got this, easy. Arms up, triumphant, you make your entrance just like you imagined you should.”
I describe it a little because he’s looking at me the way most people do before I start rolling.
” You know, one hand on her face, as you say what you think is going to cause her to melt, just like you practiced a hundred times before. She flinches, looks away for a second, unsure how to react, which is a kindness on her part.”
“Those stupid socks, a physical manifestation of that fake ease you carry around, fail you. You slip coming around the landing, your big moment exploding before it’s ten feet off the launch pad.. A nervous laugh sprays from your face as you attempt to blow it off like this is a recoverable moment. Not happening. It doesn’t matter how much time slows down, there isn’t a witty quip or a heartfelt look that’s going to turn this around.”
The kid’s not even looking at me, doesn’t know how to react. Kid has no agency. Most of these little shits don’t, these days.
“It was her gravity that pulled you to this point, and as your knee cracks against that first step, it’s gravity that’s going to fuck your ego right in the ass, no dinner, no phone call the next morning.
As your feet take over for your head with that first somersault you know in the back of your mind that this won’t hurt until much later, after the rush is long gone and the bruises a deep shade of I told you so.
The rest of the tumble will be remembered in the one glance of her face you caught, as she stood at the top of the stairs, watching you crash. That glance, for a split second you mistook for a smile, only to realize it was a grimace, the one she makes as she flinches again and again with every bounce your skull takes.
The sound of the air whooshing past your ears and the horrified gasps of the onlookers not even close to as loud as the FUCK! echoing in your head.
You manage to grab the railing, wrenching your shoulder until it pops and the arm goes numb, but it’s enough to slow you down so you land on wobbling feet, to the roar of applause. Fist bumps and hugs and you take a pull at one of the half dozen beers offered you in a toast to your greatness.
Everyone is cheering, and for a second you don’t feel the throbbing where your head met the stairs, the tearing where you wrenched your joints, or the numbness in your arm from whatever compressed in your neck.
Everyone but her.
She’s still at the top of the stairs, mouth open, shaking her head slightly. And the ache starts, you feel the flush in your face as the throb in your bones and the knot in your guts compete for your attention.
The next day you can barely stand upright, feeling like you’re made of broken branches. Your ankle is twisted, eye swollen and your hurt from neck to nuts. You must’ve cracked a few ribs because you can’t take a full breath without wincing.
You feel like an utter twat, the walking douche. That look she gave you now burned into your brain.
But deep down, in that dark place nobody ever sees, you can’t fucking wait to do it again.”
The kid finishes his beer with a thanks and heads off. Nobody ever knows how to react once they realize you’re getting personal.
I hate people that can’t sit comfortably silent next to a stranger
*Thanks to Queens of the Stone Age for the title