To the ones I’ve loved before (P. 1)

I was always lying on the floor of her room. I was always lying on the floor below her and she would look down at me from her bed and ask, “What are you doing all the way down there?” And then she would retreat back to the comfort of her sheets and her laptop screen and I would (most likely drunkenly) wonder, “Hm what was I doing all the way down here?”

Then I would pop my head back up to look at her from my place below her. She would give me a wry smile and sometimes a wink if I had been good and she would pat the place on the bed next to her. She always sat on her side with her knees bent, making a triangle shaped space the perfect size for me to sit. I would stay there with my legs draped over hers and eventually I would migrate sideways to lie beside her. Sometimes that’s all we wanted or needed, sometimes we wanted more.

My heart was always on edge whenever I was near her. We lived in the same suite in our college dorm and shared many nights of makeshift cocktails and kisses and touches. But outside of our building it was all business. I hardly ever saw her on campus, even though our school had less than 2000 people attending, and the vast majority of those were commuters who left at the end of the day. We had meals together with all our other friends and kept it super cool always, until we were back in the suite and it all fell away.

The night we met we had gotten absolutely wrecked on body shots done with pineapple rum and terrible vodka mixed with vitamin water. We were lying on her bed, already tangled in the way we would eventually become accustomed and holding hands. She was leaning with her head in our mutual friend’s lap where she lamented out of nowhere “Girl my suitemate is so hot!” I was sure she was talking about my roommate, who was 5’10 complete model and stunning.

The alcohol and years have faded my memory but she continued by saying how “unfair it was” that her suitemate had a boyfriend and then exclaimed, “Just look at her!” And they both turned to look at me. I whipped my head over and said stupidly, “Hm?” She sighed dramatically and kissed my hand, sending a tiny jolt to other parts of my body as well. Our friend said quietly “She has a boyfriend though.” To which I replied, “It’s fine! We’ve only been together for like two months it’s totally fine!” I don’t know why I said this. It wasn’t fine, I was taken, I had a boyfriend who admitted to loving me, and in no world was it fine to be having these thoughts about this girl. But here I was letting her say these things to me with my hand on her thigh.

In the midst of all these thoughts she had stopped talking about me all together and instead was talking about herself, which I would come to learn was one of her favorite things.

The night went on as I let my brain go hazy with the alcohol and laughter and she learned I liked girls but didn’t know how to express that in a way that made sense to me. We kissed in her bed and then we moved to my bed and did a little more. I touched her like a 14-year-old boy: I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to touch her or how to convey how beautiful she was and how charmed I already was by her.

Over the next few months these nights would continue occasionally. I would allow her into my heart in a way I never expected and she would, apparently, love me too. I didn’t want to love this girl who was so obviously unlovable. I didn’t want to love this girl who would drag me into her tumultuous, alcohol-soaked, mentally ill world and pull me by my shaking, sweating hands down the rabbit hole. But I did. I didn’t want to be dragged there; I wanted to run into it ahead of her. I wanted to run like a child down a hill, not worrying at all about the bleeding or the bruises. I wanted to sprint, fueled by vodka and lust and pain and never stop until we collapsed in a tangle of arms and legs and hearts. I wanted to give my entire self to her if even just for a single second. With her I wanted to know what it was like to fall completely, madly, and stupidly in love with someone and then have all that taken away from me. I wanted both the blistering joy and the pain. I wanted to be so connected to her that I felt my skin tear apart as she inevitably left me. I wanted absolutely fucking everything. And I wanted it with her.

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