2:15 AM. I am thinning out a brick of butter into a pan, waiting for him to intervene and scoop out another cube. Only that he is in my inbox slipping me bad puns and dad jokes. I wonder if what we share also began like this. Some runny pancake batter, given carte blanche over the flame.
It had all started outside that pub on the fifth block. I had gone out celebrating my flatmate’s friend’s baby daughter’s birthday with my flatmate and her friend and her baby daughter. I had worn my new flamingo-pink earrings, navy blue denim shorts, and paisley-print pink top. In that order. The top was also the one I had worn to Goa earlier. Used to soaking up brine and tequila, I had reasoned.
Fast forward four hours when we were just about to hail our Uber to get back, stuff in the remaining cake in the fridge (this part had been just me), and call it a night, this guy walked up to the baby. He said he had felt distracted by how cute she was. Or at least he let on that he had had. Whatever. He spoke on. And I was drawn to him like a moth puzzled by incandescence. Just like that, a brief interaction pared down the distance between his world and my world.
It was a blank sheet of paper all over again. The frailest thing. Cracking at the slightest hold. The mightiest ammunition. Cracking up the toughest in its wake. Disarming and humbling in an instant. At the face of its emptiness. At the depths of its void. A paradox of sorts. Torturous but benevolent. New vocals for an old soundtrack. Fresh aroma oil in an old diffuser.
We eventually drifted away but not before I had given him my phone number. Of course, at the time I had no idea that two years later, I would be saving cigarette stubs in an empty Bacardi bottle in my cupboard. A monument to an afternoon we would have shared on a hill. When we wouldn’t have been able to bookend our emotions. When time would have become a Gregory Alan Isakov song.
He had met me at a point when I would have welcomed lovers into my life almost omnivorously — trying to substitute the entropy in mine with theirs. I just fell into his arms, like one sinks deep into a leather armchair, swivels 180°, and never puts a foot down again. He quickly became a placeholder to me, for anything and everything that I could be bothered with at the time. Not that I could quite…