Instructions on Falling in Love.


Love in secret, quietly, with an overlay of silence over the violin dub.  Hell, don’t even voice the word until it’s dark enough to see your shadow. Even then, whisper it. Cup your fingers over your lips, breathe in deeply and slowly let it go; let it flow into the insides your lungs, allow it to linger in your mouth like minty cigarette smoke on cold winter evenings. Hold your palms flat when you say it. Don’t breathe too deeply, slow that rhythm in your chest. Write it in the smallest of cursive in the creases of colored paper you later fold in that high school origami style into tiny rectangular notes, which you’d then pass behind the anatomy teacher’s back. This time, keep it under your pillow; hide it, protect it, cherish it.

Love softly, voice it only when the distance between his ear and your lips is smaller than the length of your ring finger. Test the waters when he blasts post-hardcore rock and whisper it under the guitar chords. Pluck the thought out of your mouth with the edge of his fingernails that you are now, randomly, fascinated by. When he brushes his teeth, love him in between the shoulder your chin can barely reach and the scruff that cuts your cheek.

Tiptoe into Love; keep the smiles to yourself and save the duet for less tragic times. Gloss over the floral gifts as if they are normal, mundane even, irrelevant to your life. Chew the words you half-comprehend carefully, to distract yourself from the grace in his lips, the timbre in his voice. The fingers of your right hand form a woman in a sari and the fingers of your left hand form his silhouette; and when you link them in rehearsed choreography, you’ll think of telling him, but don’t. Keep the thought to yourself; bury it in the next step in which you throw your arms in the air, flex your fingers and whirl on the ball of your foot. Keep your balance when you end your turn, look up with your head held high, your neck kept long, and smile with your heart open.

When you run out of patience, when the words are pounding against the door and you’re afraid it will break down any minute, stay calm. Drink a few extra glasses of wine before you look him in the eye. So that when morning creeps up and shadows begin to fade, you can blame the alcohol and the hazy memory, and continue the game of charades.


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