To Austin With Love
I met a boy.
You know. You were there.
He was six foot three, or something in the range of tall enough to be intimidating, and wore cowboy boots on his feet. Hey, it’s Texas. He had sea green eyes and brown hair and a scruffy face. He took my hand for the first time and said “Hi” in the sweetest Southern drawl you’ve ever heard, and I instantly knew that this person was far and away too attractive for me.
But we talked. And we touched. And we talked some more. And, little by little, I was getting the feeling that this wasn’t going to be a one night hookup. Before I knew what was happening we were laughing at things that shouldn’t be funny. We were looking up our favorite songs and singing them together. We were driving around town because why the hell not and drawing maps into each other and exploring all those little unknown things that you’ve always wanted to tell someone but it’s just that no one’s ever asked.
That night we didn’t sleep, and when the sun came up and we finally said our groggy goodbyes, I couldn’t get that stupid smile off my face.
You probably won’t see him again, I thought. You saw what he looks like. He won’t be back. But, against all odds, he came back. The very next day. And the next day. And the next day. That was probably the sweetest time of my entire summer. Maybe, even, of any summer I’ve ever had. Still, I had my doubts.
I kept waiting for him to see me, really see me, and discover that I had been fooling him. That I wasn’t the person he thought I was. Every time he looked at me I would secretly worry that he would find the thing that I knew was there, the problem, and stop wanting me. But the moment never came, and when I was sure that he had seen and touched and felt every last piece of me, I began to wonder in disbelief…
You see me… and you want me?
That’s a question he never answered because I never asked it, but when he pulled me close and scratched his cheek against mine, I knew. And it was an entirely foreign and exhilarating feeling for me. To want someone who wanted you.
And, wow, did I ever want him. He carried himself with an easy confidence that I had never seen before. His voice was like molasses and I’ve never even tasted molasses but I know that’s what his voice was like - deep and slow and rich. And when he laughed you knew he wasn’t faking it. In fact, I don’t think he knew how to fake much of anything. When he spoke it was deliberate and when he said he was going to do something he did it. Genuine. For better or worse he was genuine. And it drove me crazy.
I began to feel like I had been faking it with everyone else before. This is what chemistry was supposed to feel like. This is what happens when fire meets grass and they take to each other without any kind of hesitation. Parts of me that I didn’t even know existed came blazing into life - I was funny with him, I was witty, I was charming, I was vulnerable, I was me only a thousand times over. And, for the first time in a long time, I liked myself. I liked who I was with him.
And even when I was at my worst, it was my worst at its best. I used to be afraid when my thoughts became turbulent - when everything was rocky and dark and cloudy. But when I was a hurricane he was a stony shore, and I knew that no matter how many times I came crashing into him that I’d just break on that stupid smile of his and wind up back in his arms where I was safe.
Thinking about that makes me feel cold and shivery right now.
The time finally came when I had to go back home. My time in Austin was up. He came over and we briefly pretended like we were going to watch a movie. I turned and looked at him, knowing that, in time, I would do anything to be in this moment again - with our arms and legs all tangled up in each other and my head on his chest where I could hear his heartbeat.
“I’ll write you a love letter,” I told him. “I’ll write you something so crazy stupid beautiful that when everyone reads it they’ll force me to move back here.”
“I’ll make you a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel,” he said. “You can even toggle the numbers yourself.”
And I smiled at that. Because it was stupid. I was pretty stupid too, though. I was about to get in my car and drive far, far away from him. We laughed and we kissed and we squeezed each other so hard that it actually kind of hurt so we stopped. And when it was time for me to go, we lingered for what was probably minutes but what felt like hours under the doorframe. We kissed again and he said “I’ll see you,” and I said “I know,” and I was off.
We kept in touch. A lot at first. Then less and less and less. And I began to think I was right about before - I was fire and he was grass, and we just couldn’t burn unless we could touch. I was the first person he had ever come out to, the first guy he had ever done anything with, and I had told him that when I moved back home he should date around and see what he likes. I wasn’t prepared, though, for him to actually find something he liked. When he told me, I took it in stride. I said “good for you,” and “I’ll see you next time I’m in Austin.” And then I hung up. And then, unfortunately, I cried. I cried because it wasn’t fair. I cried because I couldn’t blame him. I cried because everything that had been us was ashes now; a charred, blackened field that told the story of something that had burned too bright and too short.
And I cried because I wanted nothing more than to write that letter. That crazy stupid beautiful letter that would somehow make it to where we could be together. Sometimes I still think that maybe, just maybe there’s a combination of words out there that, if I arranged them just so, could bring me back to those summer nights in Austin. But I am not talented enough to write them, and not brave enough to share them.
And so I’m writing to you instead, Austin. Partly because it’s a romantic metaphor, but mostly because I know you won’t write back. But, hey. If you see that boy around, Austin, please don’t tell him about this letter. If you could, though, just tell him I said this…
I love you.
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- lavieboheme- said: Your romanticism. Your love. your passion. So many feels. From the little I’ve seen of you on here; even if there are some things you may think no one would like you for, any guy, and I mean ANY GUY would be damn lucky to have you. You are amazing.
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- calebmanshack said: Crying right now.
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- bernardclairvaux said: i will never get close to this with you no matter how much i dream
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- little-yoshi-beans said: This is beautiful. And I’m sorry.
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- dustedsunshine said: Wow. Please tell me you’re a novelist, I’d buy books of this standard.
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- ashleyisaboysnametoo said: …Crying at work. Wow.
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- notmydaughterubeeach said: Letting go is so hard. My heart broke a little reading that. I’m happy you had those ‘moments’ and I hope you have more with someone else one day soon.
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