I was not expecting to fall in love as soon as I got back. Perth was only a quiet stop-over on the way home after the intensity of Bali. But love found me anyway.
The very first moment I saw him something came over me. I felt like I was only a single star in a galaxy of him. Right away I knew there was something about us, something I couldn’t explain. A feeling I couldn’t shake long after he’d left. I did what I always do, I wore my heart on my sleeve and I told him. He said he felt it too.
He saved me tickets to a big show he was organising a few days later. I had butterflies all day long. I danced, ran a bath, drank homemade mulled wine and braided my hair as time crawled by. Then it was night and I was there with my friend Claire and my heart was in my throat as we walked down a dark hallway caught in a rush of excited people.
We rounded the corner and there he was. Burning like a sun. I was overwhelmed again, so little and insignificant beside him. Then he saw me and his embrace lifted me into the air and I closed my eyes and I wished I could stretch out that moment to last forever.
I only saw him fleetingly through the night, he was constantly surrounded by people but every time our paths crossed his hands found mine and his eyes lit up. “Do you think he likes me?” I asked Claire. “Yes,” she said, and I skipped around like I was a thirteen year old with a crush. I couldn’t believe it.
He was doing some interviews the next day and he asked if I wanted to join him. I kept my cool but inside I was delighted. He picked me up in his car the next morning. During the interviews he answered questions about his passions with an excitement I recognised in myself. His hand found my knee while he spoke, like we’d been lovers all our lives. And when he was driving back he kept my hand under his on the gearstick so our hands wouldn’t have to be apart.
Late one night we were walking the city streets after an exhibition. It was cold and I was shivering so he wrapped me in his warm jacket. He pulled me into a cinema, buying us tickets to whatever was playing. We sat near the back so I joked “is this the part where we make out?” And for the first time he kissed me, fully, spectacularly. My mind was all explosions and confetti and him, all him.
For the brief time we shared together we were almost inseparable. The knowledge that I was leaving in a few days gave weight to every moment. There was so much joy in the littlest things; the dimple that appeared from nowhere when he smiled or the way he reached for my hand as we walked down the street. We lay wide-awake in bed until almost morning, laughing and cuddling and fighting off the sleep that’d bring another day to a close.
Together we’d spontaneously improvise scenes in movies that didn’t exist and tell jokes that went on forever. We were ridiculously silly, both of us still children deep down. In other ways we were very different, I was an open book and he was guarded. I was strong-spirited and he was gentle-spirited. But there was fire with us. I’d never met anyone like him. When he and Alba met they played and laughed like they’d always known each other and it made me warm all over.
I was kind of flitting between two lives. Half of the time I was Mama. Staying with my family, taking Alba and my cousins to the park, cooking Alba’s favourite foods, reading bedtime stories and kissing her sore spots better. Then she was with her Papa and I was going on adventures and sleeping in late.
On our last night together everything was lucid. He took me out for dinner with one of my best friends. I looked at his hand holding mine on the table and then I looked at him smiling at me, so goddamn fucking beautiful and I thought, dear god, I know I’ve resolved to not be with anyone for a long time but this is almost enough to make me rethink it all.
I had to leave, like I always do. Me, the disappearing act. It felt like one moment I was falling in love as he was kissing me goodbye and the next I was falling asleep with Alba on the opposite side of the country.
I really missed him when I got back. All the energy I had put into loving him couldn’t just disappear, it had to be redirected. And so I wrote every free moment I had and every story seemed to contain pieces of him. I held onto our memories like souvenirs. It all felt so precious to my romantic mind.
I’ve learnt many times over that the duration of things doesn’t equal their importance. Single moments can influence lifetimes. He left an imprint on me. A reminder to keep on playing and never grow up.
That first night he kissed me I wrote this in my journal.
“This is how I see it. As an artist it is my responsibility to not have a boring life. To feel deeply. To listen to the stories of strangers. To try new things and go new places. To say yes. To question everything. To find beauty in the commonplace. And to fall in love. Over and over. Because through the highs of love and the lows of heartbreak I truly know what it is to feel. “