People talk about love all the time, but every destination began with a journey. What does it mean to fall in love? To feel a million different emotions all at once, to try to decipher them like a code? To finally realize what’s happening to you and knowing it’s too late to turn back; to face the future with a kind of fear you’ve never felt before — fear mixed with hope, a craving for what’s to come? This is a poem about that journey.
When you fall for someone, it happens gradually, in stages. I’ve always believed the small things are so much more precious than the big things. It starts out with the smile he uses to greet you that somehow means everything. A smile you can’t erase from memory; a smile that drives you to get through the day and make it to the next. It’s the accidental bump of shoulders, a touch so fleeting and gentle that somehow sets your whole body on fire. A touch that leaves you dazed for a moment before you’re inevitably forced back down to reality.
It’s how he carries himself, with such grace and humility that somehow makes him stand out in a crowd as if the angels themselves follow him around with their light. It’s how he listens to you speak, so intently, hanging on to your every word as though they matter to him more than his whole being. It’s how his laughter reaches his eyes; how you long to hear that sound again and again and again as though it’s your favorite song playing on the radio. It’s how he looks at you when you’re not paying attention to him: like a mystery he’s yearning to solve. It’s how closely you pay attention to him: the sun highlighting his features as he taps his fingers on the steering wheel, the clench of his jaw as he looks toward the window, the way he occasionally glances in the rearview mirror to shoot you that breathtaking smile.
It all comes full circle. It all comes back to that smile, to that first hello. And in that smile you see a thousand possibilities, each more wonderful and exhilarating than the next. And suddenly it makes sense to you: why they call it “falling in love.” Because it’s free falling through space and time with no sense of direction — it’s your heartbeat mixing in time with the gushing of the wind in your ears as you race toward the ground with no way of knowing whether you’ll survive. And when you go home that night, he’s everywhere, a secret you notice you can’t even hide from yourself. That’s when you realize: I love him. I love him. I love him.