I promise not to fall another time, I promise not to fall in love. It’s always the same, and it never works out. When I meet someone who seems marvelous, I fall for their look, smile, hair, lips, and those subtle grazes of the hand. I love quickly and deeply, thinking of them 24 hours a day and moving through reality in zombie mode, constantly repeating their name and imagining, in the space of 20 seconds, a thousand scenarios in which she loves me back.
I see you, and it’s impossible not to feel it again, not to think you are the one for me. You are just a few meters away, with your crooked smile and penetrating gaze. I see that as you listen to each comment you are analyzing and creating a new strategy. You speak and the table goes quiet, and your words make all the little conversations and small talk fade away. All eyes turn to you, mine included.
I do not want to fall in love with you. I have already fallen in the past and listened to my greatest fears. I don't let my imagination run wild; we are friends, and we shouldn't ruin this friendship, even if sometimes I feel this pull of gravity that drags me towards you. No, I promise not to fall in love, to fall for the idea idea that maybe you somehow will want me. I’ll see you as you are: real, full of flaws I have no idea about, but that must be there, with ghosts I will never meet. If only I could overcome the illusion of your perfection.
I like your uncomfortable comments, that they're sincere and sometimes painful, but I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I like your words and the way you pronounce them, your ideas and how you don’t look up when others say something you don’t like. I like how you confront people and you always get something out of it. Then you say something again, another joke, and I cannot resist and I smile —and then I realize that I’m doing it again.
Beneath your gaze, I want to move away, to stop telling myself that I already love you and to not imagine a life with you.
I promise not to fall in love with you; to look into your eyes and not feel like my knees shake or my hands sweat, be able to voice coherent sentences and stop thinking about you whenever I want. I try to see beyond this, to fast forward time and see your defects. Maybe you are very jealous, wake up very early or squeeze the toothpaste tube from the top. But just thinking about your mistakes leads me to forgive them. I don’t know what's happening to me, but I don't want to fall in love with you.
I have to get out of here. I still have a chance to not spend the next few months getting excited about something that will not happen. I say goodbye and dodge your glance when giving you a hug. I can’t take it, but I have to get out of there before it's too late. The fresh air and the calm night help me relax; I become myself again. Before I take the first step into the night, I hear your voice: “Don't you want to stay? I want to talk some more with you.”
We will have two children, we will live together in 6 months and will travel to Barcelona next year. It's the first thing I think of when I turn around.
Translated by Joseph Reiter