It’s that moment when your breath literally vacates your body for parts unknown. When, just for a second, the world is suspended, everything is in slow motion, maybe completely still, and you simply cannot remember how to breathe. Maybe your heart pounds, or maybe its beating is arrested completely. Your palms might sweat. You might be struck cold, or run hot, or maybe both in tandem. Your senses are stunted. Your days, your weeks, your life as it could be rush by you in that moment simultaneously blurry and made so clear.
You just know.
From the second you lay eyes on them, barely having a complete moment to sweep them over head to toe, you know that you don’t stand a chance.
You’re falling. Just that fast. You haven’t hit bottom yet, but you’re spiraling. You’re on your way.
It’s not love at first sight because that is such a whimsical feeling, such a transient theory. This is more solid than that. This has been building. Slowly gaining momentum behind the scenes, slyly wrapped around every syllable of every conversation, every smile, every laugh, all to slam you into this moment with full force. You won’t be the same after this. There is no backward tread.
But if you’re like me, if you’ve been as shell shocked and emptied by this feeling as I have, you try, of course. You try to dig in your heels and retreat. You say the wrong things at the wrong times. You play little games with yourself, little tests of your own will power, measure your worth by how long you can or cannot stay away. But your heels won’t grip the ground to beat a hasty retreat back into safety. You fumble over yourself trying to fix the things your careless words have broken. You forget the clock has even started on the game and before you know it, your phone is in your hand and you’re smiling, so hard and so wide that it feels like your face will never regain it’s elasticity. You’re laughing, genuinely, loudly, enraptured by the cadence of the voice in your ear. It’s new but it’s comfortable. You feel like you’ve lived this love before. It’s exciting but not alarming.
Because this isn’t that feeling you grew accustomed to. It isn’t That Thing you know backwards and forwards because you haven’t been struck like this before. You can’t articulate It because you feel it too deeply. This is decidedly foreign but it still feels like home.
And that is utterly terrifying.
So then what?
You indulge yourself in negative thinking. You remind yourself of all the ways this is improbable, unlikely, illogical. You study the issues therein so you are well versed, so at any moment you can pull a passage from your readings and use it as suplementary documentation that it’s best you retreat. Or hold back. Or take it slow. Or maybe even full out sprint in the opposite direction.
But you never do.
Because you’re tethered. Because you’re invested. Because you know it could be all of the things you need and none of the things you don’t.
Maybe you unlace your running shoes, leave them in a muddied heap by the door to be picked up at a much later date. Or maybe you never pick them up at all. You actually allow yourself to entertain the possibility. At night, when it’s quiet and you are alone, you consider the What If. And you smile to yourself, maybe you speak it aloud because you like the way it rings in your ears. You turn it over in your hands and get familiar with the texture of it. Because the darkness can hide you. Maybe one day you can revel in the What If outloud, in the daylight hours.
But I’m not at that point yet.
It’s funny, because fundamentally, that moment changes you. Before you remember that breath is a neccessity, before the earth around you starts to move again, parts of you are reawakened that you just assumed had long since perished to be gone forever. It’s so overwhelming, that moment, and you’re rooted firmly to the spot, completely transfixed.
And then you say hello.