Inspired by The Keeper by Lang Leav.
You were like a dream,
I wish I hadn’t
Within it I fell deeper,
Than your heart would
Care to let you.
I thought you were a keeper,
I wish I could
Have kept you.
Once, when I was 15, this boy told me how my words could hurt anyone who ever read them, and I didn’t believe him. I went on writing, because of the cathartic release, and I forgot about the boy till I was 18, freshly out of a disastrous affair, broken and mending. The boy, let’s call him Fred, had just given up the love of his life to move to a new city, albiet in the vicinity, and opened his heart to me, and I wrote about his grand sadness, for the world to see, but hidden from him. I wrote about his healing heart, and made him love my broken heart in my stories, and prompted him till he let me see his wounds. The world loved our stories, and told us to be together. I laughed at them, and their silliness. Us? Together? Pfuit.
We talked and talked and talked, about love, about books, about soulmates, about heartaches, and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, unbeknownst to my broken hearted muse. He said, “I like how you are not falling for me, even though I’ve bared my soul to you,” and I said, “Ditto,” with a stomach drop, years of reading about which wasn’t a cue enough for me.
In the years we spent talking, and drinking coffee, and singing songs, I fell for him, slowly, the cut deeper than a melody, and the word “Ditto” ringing in my ears. I wanted to stop the madness, and call it all off. But he said, “I love how you’re not falling for me, even though I’ve bared all my troubles to you,” and I wanted to prove him right. And because no one else does denial as well as I do. And because the boy told me my words are sharper than the knife, getting more polished with the years, and one day, I could kill him with my words, and I don’t know if he chooses to ignore it, or he’s a fool, but he doesn’t see that I’m in love with him, and even though all he wants is a conversation over coffee and cigarettes, I’m ready for more: for hot water baths in the cold winter mornings, and holding hands on hospital beds, and fighting over vacations and flight tickets, and arguing about baby names, and solar panels. I’m ready for the plunge with him, without knowing if we’d ever come back, and not just wading through clear water spring.
He tells me, “Let’s get out of this town, and no one will ever know,” and my heart sinks knowing that it’s the smallness of humankind that he’s talking about, and not running away to the wonderland where no one would separate us. “Fred,” I tell him, “We can’t ever run away, because a screen separates us, and binds us, and we’ll post a selfie the moment we see a beautiful sunset,” and he nods along.
I see him grow to his twenties, forgotten about the love of his life, sharing stories about one night stands and propositions, and I feel like we’ve come a long way, and I tell him about my work, and my promotions, and we go out for lunches and drinks, with our friends, and pose for pictures with the latest hashtagging trends. We smile a lot at each other, and tag the other in posts we each think the other will like, and debate about politics, and society, and poetry, and music. He tells me his dreams, and I tell him mine, and we laugh at our silliness, and the stillness of our souls. And that’s when I realise that I’m just a friend, and he’s only just a dream. And maybe, maybe after all these years, I’ll never get over him, not truly.