I tend to look in her direction when we watch cartoons, hoping to catch her eye, seeking approval that this aspect of myself is palatable, the giggling puerile juvenile me is as well liked as the sober, sane, proper me. I laugh, prompting her to laugh too. When did I become like this?

Maybe I was always this way, pining for something different and outside myself, to be embraced by someone exotic, someone who fit into my grooves almost perfectly. I have not had to gouge myself to accommodate her. I only dusted myself and let her light in to chase away the staleness of a heart gone musty.

Her aunt told me that I am a man in love. This was after I gave the obligatory speech about how brilliant and engaging I found her niece. She sounded like a character in an old-time movie, the ones who narrow their eyes and smile knowingly. It was like we had shared a delicious secret we did not even know was there until that moment.

Those words are sand in my mouth and I want to spit. But, when I am with her, they flow, cool fire out of my throat. I am in love. How long will this insanity last? How long until the flames are quenched by the world’s exigencies, the petty concerns that bedevil people in proximity?



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