Haven’t you seen how wonderful people can be? And you haven’t gone head over heels for them?
I do. Over and over.
I watch the way that one man on the subway bites his lip as he reads his book, forehead furrowed in concentration. His long hair is tied back into a neat bun that is falling apart more and more each time he runs a hand through it. Tiny flyaway hairs are fanning out around his face, a brunette halo around my subway angel’s head. I ache to smooth the wrinkles out of his face as I listen to everything Book Man has been reading and learning. I imagine his voice, low and rich, twining through sedate evenings lit by candles and hearthfire.
I see a man light up and slow his gait as he passes a dog park, his mouth moving in silent greetings to each and every animal behind the fence. Dog Man smothers a giggle watching a dalmation trip over a chihuahua, and the sound is like silver bells ringing in my heart. I want to hear about every dog that greeted Dog Man on his walk today while I trace my fingers down those dalmatian-like freckles that cover his face. I want to hear his giggle over and over again, dancing through dappled sunlight of lazy afternoons.
A man in a hoodie and headphones doesn’t dance to the music in his ears, but the little twitches in his smile and the tiny bops of his head show just how much he's lost himself in the song. I want more than anything to see what happens when he lets loose. I want to see that small smirk bloom and grow into a brilliant grin, to see those tiny movements stretch into carefree twirls and twists. I hope there’s an audience for when Hoodie Man loses his self-consciousness and serenades his apartment at midnight, singing every part and the guitar solos too.
It’s not always instantaneous, though. Sometimes, it takes time.
I’ve been passing the rude, scowling punk near my theatre for weeks before the day a frog gets stranded on the sidewalk and I see the leather-clad man kneeling, talking so quietly I can barely hear it. When I finally walk close enough, I hear a steady stream of calm reassurance.
"It's okay, little one, this is just water for you, okay? I don't want you to dehydrate. just hop on in- that's right, there you go! Okay, I'm going to carry you to the woods, there's a pond there, is that where you came from? I hope it's your true home, I'll get you back, I promise."
The midday sun glints off the man’s metal spikes and studs and catches in dyed-yellow locks. For once, I can see both eyes, revealed from behind the bangs and hat the man always wears. I wonder what else makes Frog Punk go so tender and soft.
The person at the coffee shop is almost too cheerful each morning. It grates on my night-owl tendencies - it’s unnatural to be that awake when the sun is barely awake! I’m all for disney and cartoons but greeting the whole shop with "Good MORNING Krusty Krew!" every day is a little much . Then, today, it doesn't come. The pastels enter as normal, but the smile above them looks forced and strained. I catch myself staring until I recognize the hum of tension in the other's bones and frame. A new necklace is nestled in the vee of the perpetual cardigan. And today it holds a bright purple tag that reads "xe/xir." My heart swells with empathy and admiration for xir bravery, and I make sure to catch xir eyes with a warm smile as we wait for our drinks. The smile I get back is far more grateful than I deserve, but warms me more than any latte ever could.
And, sometimes, it comes on faster than I ever thought was possible.
I walk down the street, listening to some new music a friend recommended. I look down for just a moment, to check the song name, and immediately run into a warm body.
I almost trip, but my gaze from the ground up to single raised eyebrow takes in beautiful ankle boots, an asymmetrical skirt, and a crop top so short it makes me want to cry. By the time I meet the startling green eyes peering at me from behind heart-shaped sunglasses, I’m utterly speechless.
"You Gucci, babes?"
"...’m gay. I mean great!"
I fall in love with strangers’ eyes, and quirks, and smiles. It doesn’t always last - I might never even meet them properly. But why should that mean these affections and infatuations are any less real?