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She has a wry smile and sometimes walks favoring her left leg. Her eyes dart around the room never resting on anyone and oblivious of those who are looking at her. She is well-read, strong-willed, and deeply wary. I watch her as though a star in a silent movie. I've memorized her mannerisms: I know she tucks her hair behind her ear and scratches above her right eyebrow when she gets nervous; I know she looks up while she talks to people on the phone and leans forward in her chair instead of pulling it closer to her desk as she types at her computer; I know she walks around her apartment with one sock on as she eats peanut butter out of the jar. I even know she paces counter clock-wise when she's stressed. Sometimes I wonder if she even knows the color of my eyes or that I have given up my entire life to be near her. I know I may sound unstable to some of you and to others I might sound like a die hard romantic and believe me, there are days I'd agree with both camps. But if you knew her, I mean know her the way I do you would know that it had nothing to do with my mental stability. You too would love her; you love her in spite of yourself; you love her because she doesn't think anyone ever will.
The thought of living without her daily quirks makes me dizzy with anxiety and I know the one thing that would make her leave is knowing I have loved her from the very first day I met her. There are days I forget that I seem to breathe only for her as if she is the air that fills my lungs; then there are the nights that the emotion wakes me from a dead sleep.
I feel like I have known her my whole life and am more comfortable in her presence than I am alone with my own reflection. I can't remember a time when her smile didn't meet mine and it's funny that I had at one time convinced myself that I could walk away. I know you don't love someone with the thought of leaving them in mind but with her, with Maggie, you had to be able to leave when the heat turned on because she would burn you alive--even that line from HEAT was her favorite line ever said in movie. I want to blame her but she is being the only person she knows how to be.
As I sit and watch her--as I often do--only to add to the list of idiocyncracies--I fall more and more away from reality and it hurts to leave her for only a few hours. How does this happen? I mean how does this really happen? Is it possible for your heart to burst with love and devotion for a woman who loves me like she loves her mailman--a man who always delivers and is never late but is a mere necessity in the world of responsibility. I know the answer to this question and perhaps I only write this to cement the thought: the only way to save myself is to love her from the depth of my being and never see her again...
He broke my heart the day he left me. Years ago I read a quote by Hemingway: "He was awake a long time before he realized his heart was broken." I had always loved that quote and felt more cynical and jaded--as if I was really ready to take on the world after I read such depressing quotes. Of course to most people those two traits would seem negative but to me they were my life jacket--a way to stay afloat and aware when considering matters of the heart.
No one ever looked at me the way Harrison did and no one has since. I’d walk into the room and everything stopped or at best went in slow motion. I would ignore him or pretend like I didn’t feel his eyes on me at every turn. He memorized me. He could tell you which hand I used to emphasize certain words; how often I tucked my hair behind my ear and which side of my smile was crooked. It wasn’t ignored by others who would teased me and taunted him but all the while I didn’t take him seriously even in the most serious of scenarios. He was a joke to me and I can’t tell you how that makes me feel now.
The first day I noticed him he was wearing his glasses. He had been standing in front of me for 6 months but the day he wore his glasses he got me to notice him. Harrison was heartbreakingly gorgeous with a clumsy appeal. Dark hair that always had too much gel and was freshly cut every two weeks like the lawn next door with the broken picket fence. His eyes were a light green that reflected the light on bright days. He looked like he stepped off the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue which was exactly the look he was going for and exactly the look that turned me off.
I stopped sleeping the day I watched Harrison walk down the three flights of stairs to my walk-up apartment. I couldn't bare the feeling of waking up and thinking the heartache was all a dream only to have the reality that he was never coming back hit me with full force. Somewhere in the depths of my being I knew it would be the last time I saw him. See he normally paused on the second floor and looked up at me. I normally pretended to be busy cleaning something in my kitchen but I always noticed how he stopped, looked, memorized, took a deep breath and continued to walk; as if he had to take a picture of me every time in order to get him to the next visit. This time--the last time--he didn't do it--he didn't stop and look; and my heart began to break. While time passed and the numbness molded me as a person, I became a living ghost walking thru life only haunting the people who once loved me but now mourned for me. I would still call his phone hoping he would answer and I would be able to hear the hello that I just knew would have a smile on the other end. I would drive by his apartment and cringe when I saw a car in the driveway I didn't recognize; driving slowly I would peer into the one window that always seemed to have a crack in the blinds trying to identify the figures walking around in a space that once seemed as comfortable to me as my own skin.
And so we have the two people who loved each other more than they knew how. Harrison loved Maggie and would break his heart trying to pretend that he didn't....