On Falling Out of Love.

It’s easy to fall in love. It happens quickly, almost unnaturally. That’s why we call it “falling” to begin with, right? It has gravity on its side. One day, you’re not in love and the next day, you are. The world changes abruptly. The same mundane sights you pass day after day suddenly seem to compete for attention. Everything is worth your touch and everything receives it.

The way you look at yourself changes. You notice the way your shirt fits, the tightness at your collar, the crease at your belly- you straighten each and every bit of the striped fabric. For the first time in your life, you notice how smooth your face is, how even pores make your skin more alive and fresh and beautiful. Your hair seems brisk and lively, as if it has a life of its own. You get on the wrong bus and the bus driver’s smile is one of the loveliest you’ve seen. “How can it be so sunny in winter?” you think. The sky is a glistening blue. You’re only going to the building you’ve gone to every day for the past year but today, you have butterflies in your stomach- the lovely kind of butterflies, the ones that tickle you from the inside out, making a shiver run down your spine, enveloping you with laughter. You laugh a lot today, your fingers eagerly tapping on your desk, your toes dancing within the slightest gap in your shoes. You breathe in waves.

And when you see her, you forget the language you’ve known all your life. All of a sudden, you’re six years old and standing in front of Lekha Miss in her deep blue sari. Your speech is riddled with just sounds that don’t match any intelligible language you’ve heard. But somehow, you blurt it out. There, you’ve said it. A coffee, a dinner, a lunch, a movie. A visit, a few, there and back. Before you know it, you’ve known her all your life. You know the way she breathes in her sleep, the three strands of hair that always falls on her face by the time the alarm rings, the way her eggs should never touch her bacon, the way her forehead shrivels with stress, the way her cheeks dent in happiness. You begin to take the ride home for granted. You no longer notice the way your fingers naturally melt together or how she’s just the right height to fit inside the spoon you create. It’s normal, natural, mundane even, like the act of brushing your teeth. Loving someone is simply existing and all you do- like anyone else- is exist.

Falling out of love is the hard part- the non-spontaneous reaction, with a positive delta G. One day, she’s sleeping next to you after an argument on something unimportant and unaddressed, and the next day, you receive her wedding invitation, one that you did not pick out. One day, she’s in the park with her hair flying into your ear, telling you of how her son will be just like you and the next, she’s speaking of the sharvani she picked out for the groom to match her designer sari– after asking you, of course, whether you mind hearing her talk. Of course, you never do.

One load of laundry and the room no longer smells like her, your light green sheets no longer know her, your pillow remains cold. You’re missing a sweatshirt in your closet, maybe even a pair of socks. Nothing else is gone but all of a sudden, your house is empty. Five years of her touch and your walls no longer remember her. But you do. You try to fall out- much like she did- but you can’t find a way to climb out of the ditch you’ve landed in. You try, fail and give up, without realizing that getting out of there is normal, that it will happen naturally. Like the way you grew out of your favorite riding pants and become a man. Like the way she stopped seeing sparkles and stars and the brightest of colors in your eyes, the way they faded slowly from your skin like aging tattoos, the way they became unloved and then, unnoticed.

You’re a victim, kidnapped by a thought and destroyed by an idea- fallen prey to the Stockholm syndrome. Instead of running away, you love more and more and more. You love for a night, a day, an hour even. The loves conglomerate in your laundry hamper. They ruin your hardwood floor with their nightly stomps and leave before breakfast is even thought of. They accent your empty walls with the smell of a dozen perfumes and a million mixed drinks. Their whispers echo as the water hits every inch of your body in the shower. They trace the edge of your spine and hang with their legs dangling from your sacrum. You collapse on the inside- your bones go first. In a month, you’ve made up for the five years of the real world you missed. In a month, you’ve loved twenty, twenty-six, thirty- I can barely finish my sentence. You forget that falling out of love is the most natural of processes and sometimes, natural reactions just take time. You love simply because you don’t know what else to do.

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