the sky and me: a love story

I can’t remember who made the first move.

It was always around, never letting me go without making its presence known.

You ever look at something and feel a sense of complete and utter clarity? Like you’re finally able to understand the why, the how, the what the hell — the reasons are presented to you in layman’s terms, in a vernacular you understand? Like the beauty you see is fleeting and enormous and more than you could ever handle, but so engrossing that you can’t look away, won’t look away? That’s how I feel when I look up at 8 o’clock on a summer evening. Every time.

I’ve only let myself fall in love once.

When I was young, we had recess once a day, in the parking lot where our parents would later come wait in their cars to take us home. There wasn’t anything out there to play with or on for years; eventually, a small jungle gym was built on the grass area we shared with another nearby school, but by then we were too old for monkey bars and see-saws. When we we young, though, we would spend the 25 minutes we had doing all that we could: running. We’d play tag, freeze tag, no tag-backs; slow motion running, running with high knees, running through piles of leaves we had stacked up moments before. Running and trying not to trip over our black lace up shoes, trying not to scuff the toes and anger our mothers with our carelessness. It got exhausting. So, instead, I would lay down on the hot pavement and look to the sky, letting the screams and laughter fade into the background while my mind went somewhere else. The cement threatened to burn my back through the thin, white, Peter Pan necked button up I wore tucked into my plaid skirt; “But I swear you get used to it,” I’d tell my friends as I’d try to get them to join me.

“I don’t see anything.”

“This isn’t as fun as tag.”

“We’re wasting recess lying here!”

I didn’t need them. I didn’t need them, didn’t hear them, didn’t see them. All I saw were the billowy sacks of white fluff slowly pass me by. I remember feeling an existential level of calm whenever I lost track of whether it was me moving or the clouds, or both, or neither. I’d close my eyes and let the seasick feeling spin me around until the bell rang, and it was time for class again.

I was hooked. And there began the longest relationship I’ve ever willingly entered.

You ever look at someone and get this unnerving desire to tell them “You’re a goddamn dream and I would be honored if you’d look at me, touch my arm, just give me any indication that you can hear me breathing”? Like you want to push them away and grab their hand right before they fall backwards? Pushing them away, as to make the pain of knowing someone so perfect could exist stop for a while. Keeping them near so you don’t ever have to go looking again. “You’re a goddamn dream.” What do dreams dream about? Could something be lovelier you? How lovely do you have to be, to be worthy of being a dream’s dream? We just can’t all be worthy. I want to know how to make you feel as lovely as I feel when you look at me, when you smile, when you hold my name up to the light and catch the flecks of dust that have fallen in-between the vowels and consonants, just to blow ever so gently and clear them out. I’m not sure I could do that for anyone else but you, for you, to you.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night hoping you’ve decided to greet me earlier than I know you will, hoping that you’ll be there to embrace me even though I know you’re still resting, getting ready for the day. I don’t know if you know this. You probably don’t.

Sometimes when I look at you, you’re dark and cloudy and miserable. You don’t look back at me. I’m never sure if you can actually see me. I’m never sure if you actually love me as much as I love you — I’m not sure if you can. These rays of light that pour through my skin and cut to my soul make me feel more alive than any drug could, any breath can, but I don’t think you know how much you give me. I want to tell you, but I’m afraid you won’t listen. I’m afraid I won’t be able to hear me.

Sometimes, I don’t think about you at all. Those moments are rare. I’m almost always thinking of you. When you’re far away, when you’re near me. You’re almost never near me, even when it seems like you are. But every time, I’m thinking of you.

I can’t return the love I feel in any way that would show my gratitude.

Can you see me? Or hear me? Do you know about me? Do the clouds whisper about me, us, all of us? Do they pass information to each other before dissolving into thin air? Are you there at all? Do you know how much I think of you, talk about you? Would you care?

I’m thinking about that time I sat in my car at 2 in the morning. I had just finished having long, drawn out conversations with a friend. I was feeling full, which for me also means I was feeling anxious. Anxious about the next time I would feel empty. We had talked about our fears and joys, our passions and dislikes. The people who made us feel lesser than, and how when we talk to each other, we feel like we mean something more. So much more. I felt all of that, lived all of that, that night, and after forcing myself from their couch and onto my car seat, I had driven home. I’m thinking about how I sat there in my car, with my keys in my hand after taking them out of the ignition, and stayed there for a while. It was cold. I felt cold. But I felt full.

I finally pulled myself up and started to walk back to my apartment. I looked up, and saw nothing. Blackness, without a cloud in the sky. Too close to the city to see any stars. There weren’t any planes flying by to distract me as I tried to peek from horizon to horizon, avoiding any buildings or trees that might be in the way. The moon was around, but it was tough to see. It felt particularly small.

It was empty. The contrast between my heart and the heavens was stark, harsh.

But I knew it would come back around. In a few hours, the blue would be back. The sun would hit my face, and I’d be ready for it. Waiting, anxiously, for it.

I’m thinking about the waiting. I’m always waiting. But it always comes back.

Thanks for always coming back.