Like Candy Wrapper Airplanes

Submitted into Contest #29 in response to: Write a story about someone falling in love for the first time.... view prompt



I think that falling in love is like flying straight for the ground before miraculously being picked back up again. 

   And then you’re floating up. Rising up to the sky, through the clouds, reaching to the sun before you realize it’s too hot to touch. 

   But maybe love is like that, too. So hot it lights your heart on fire, so cold it freezes your fingertips and turns them blue. So ecstatic and so poetic that you can’t focus on anything beside it. 

   All this, of course, coming from someone who has never fallen in love before. Someone who always wonders if the highs are worth the lows, if the heartache is worth the laughter and the happy moments. 

   For me, right now, those moments feel few and far in between. 

   Today is Valentine’s Day. The day for loving and celebrating and being with each other. For impromptu meetings in the halls, smuggling treats and balloons and teddy bears down the hallways and through the classrooms. 

   Well, I suppose, for me at least. Since I’m in high school and not yet a boring adult whose fun has been sucked up by adult-ish things. 

   Today, I listen to teachers talk about mathematics and science, about language and history. Today, I listen to lovely love declarations, to people who have already found their spark and blip of happiness so that they may be whisked away in it before they forget what it is to feel like that. 

   But I’ve never felt that way. I’ve never been much of a romantic, but my heart lights and dims anyway at the people who are brave enough to try love, and learn that it flounders and dips and rises, too. 

   I walk to lunch alone after my history class. I’m hungry, but that’s something that’s easily fixable, what with all the chocolates I brought to eat by myself. 

   I sit down at the corner spot in the cafeteria, where the noise is less and I could focus on my homework if I really wanted to. But I don’t, because I’m busy thinking, and when I’m busy thinking there are few things I’d rather do. 

   “Excuse me.” I turn my head to find a boy standing behind me, lanky and tall and so out of place with the other people around us. “Is this seat taken?”

   I frown at him, watching the glasses on his face nearly slide down his nose as he looks down at me, his plaid shirt loose and comfortably worn around his thin frame. He smiles and it is crooked, and I notice how he watches me, intently, like there’s nothing else he’d rather see. 

   I feel as though I’ve met him somewhere before. 

   I almost say yes, that this seat is taken, so he'll leave me alone. I don’t know what he wants from me, but I think perhaps we are more similar than I realize. That perhaps we are both lonely on Valentine’s Day, and that we are both looking for a little camaraderie. 

   “No,” I say, and gesture openly. “It’s not taken at all.” 

And then I smile and so does he, and I think that if the stars were watching they would be envious of how we shine.

So maybe that’s all love is. Coincidence and chance, luck and a little gamble. Maybe it’s jumping blindfolded, doing a sort of serious trust fall. Maybe if it were easy it wouldn’t be so extraordinary, so untouchable. 

Maybe love would hold little meaning if it didn’t hurt so much. 

   We sit in silence, me with my chocolate hearts and him with his paper bag of a lunch. He brings out a salad and I almost laugh out loud, because I’m eating nothing but sugar while he prepares for that boring, adult life, too far ahead in the distance for me to think about. 

   “Have I met you before?” I ask him, and interrupt my thinking for the sake of this question. I suppose some things are worth crawling out of my head for. 

   He looks at me and grins, and I swear I can’t control myself as my smile grows wide enough to match his. 

   “No,” he says, and shakes his head, still beaming like the sun. “No, I don’t believe we have.”

   I close my eyes as he resumes eating, reveling in the feeling of happiness. Of all those soaring emotions and feelings that make my heart pound, that make my fingers shake just the slightest bit. 

   I wonder if, as human beings, we were made to feel the first touch of love this way. Like it’s magic and has no end to its possibilities. Like it’s some sort of phantom, unreal before it becomes a reality, unspoken before it's tangible.

   I wonder if I’m dreaming, if the universe would be cruel enough to snatch the feeling of light away before I even had it in my grasp. 

   But when I open my eyes he’s still there, and a little bit of ranch is stuck to the tip of his nose. 

   And then I’m laughing and he looks at me in a confused sort of daze, like the constellations have aligned and it isn’t quite what he expected. 

   Maybe that’s okay, though. Maybe nothing is as we expect. 

   “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I say and hold out a chocolate to him. 

   He finishes chewing and takes it, smiling as he holds it in his hand. 

   “And to you.” He sets down the chocolate and I wonder if he’s already too adult-ish to enjoy a little candy like that. 

   But then he unwraps it and eats it whole, his eyes shining as he flattens out the tin foil wrapper. He folds it into a little plane and then hands it back to me, all folded wings and the potential of flying. 

   Maybe, I think to myself, being an adult isn’t all boring. Maybe it’s made with beautiful moments mixed in with the normal. 

   Maybe falling in love is grand sometimes. And perhaps the highs are worth the lows. 

   I wonder all of this with this mystery beside me, and wonder if we could turn the world on its axis. All on our own. 

   Because truly, that’s what love allows us to do. 

   And, like candy wrapper airplanes, love was made to fly.


February 14, 2020 21:46

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