People sometimes ask me if I knew, if I knew that I had met the man that would turn my life upside down, inside out. The single most surprising person in my life, the one to change me in every possible way.
No, I didn't know. I knew I had met an enigma, a perpetual motion machine, a mad man. "Mad, bad and dangerous to know", to quote. Because he was all that and, as I would learn over time, so much more.
I could tell you about the times he drove me mad, made me angry or almost made my cry.
But I prefer to remember the times he made me laugh out loud.
Or shocked me with insights so clear and precise the world seemed to have a new angle.
The times he made see that there was so much more to the world than most people will ever see.
And the mornings, where the world was hazy, and the sunlight filtered. Where he was warm and inviting. Where the cutting remarks turned into whispers and hard angles became soft and languid. With soft eyes and softened touches.
Those are the things I could tell you about. But I won't.
Because the world wouldn't believe it. They rather believe the lies, the facade. Because he did too.
These stolen moments are not a true representation. Only to me, they are.
Because getting there, to those soft and quiet mornings, was my reward. For looking through the layers of disguises.
He made me brave. And curious.
Curious about all the hidden emotions. I needed to be braver than I had ever been if I wanted to see them. Brave for the both of us.
Every journey's first step is the hardest. And it is the hardest because you leave behind everything you know. Everything you recognize.
And you know you can never go back. Because some things change you, beyond what you thought possible. You'll never fit into your old mould again, your shape has changed.
And there is always a turning point. The step you take at that point is, and will always be, the most courageous thing you do in your life. Devastating and constructive. Tearing down walls to build bridges with the same stones.
And when two people meet, in the middle of that bridge, you will be a different person.
You may not look any different, but you will feel it. You will feel it in the air that flows through your lungs and in the way your hand curls around itself. In how you see the other person. Because they will have changed too. You will gain new insights into them, learn to read the minute changes of life on their skin. And in their eyes.
Your whole world will rearrange itself, to make space for them in the nooks and crannies of your mind. Like a bookshelf, that, to all intents and purposes full, will always yield space for the books you love.
It's not hard, to love. Loving is the easiest thing in the world to do. The road to it may be hard, but the reward is endless.
It doesn't stop, you never stop loving someone. Not when they disappear, not when they die. Love turns into something desperate, something that hurts. But it never stops. It stays with you.
In the mornings, when they are no longer warm. In the voices of people. In the flash of movement that you catch from the corner of your eye. You look for those traces of them because they are all you have left.
You long to find proof, that your lover was there. And if you let it, it will drive you insane.
Because the only thing you have left are the memories. The memories of golden morning light on the hair of your beloved. Of the smell of their skin. Their fingers tracing patterns on your belly. The tone of their voice when they whispered your name.
And you don't want to remember because it hurts.
And you don't want to forget because it hurts.