When I think of you, I think of coffee shops with cozy chairs and wooden tables. I think of the smell of espresso, quirky baristas, and lattes with just enough sweetness. I think of kisses on the comfiest couch in the shop, and sitting as close as possible without looking like one of those couples. I know that people would glance, but I imagine laying my head on your broad shoulder to give them something more to look at. A part of me would hate every bit of becoming that couple who constantly shows how much they’re into each other, but I feel I’d love every bit of it because it’s you. I think of spoons clanging against mugs and fingers poking at laptops being the background to the way the smoothness of your voice tells me, for the very first time, that you love me. I think of that being the only way I’d want to hear it.

When I think of you, I think of fireflies on a humid summer’s night. I see warm lights and I feel comforting heat, surrounding me and singing softly into my ear about everything being alright. I imagine us singing along, harmonizing and creating something beautiful with only breath passing between our lips. I picture your arms around me, the glow from the fireflies against our faces, the blue in your eyes disappearing against the orange beams, but the beauty in them never fading. I’d tell you that I want to feel like this for as long as I could, and I think of you holding me even closer. I think of not knowing if that made you smile, but feeling that you did.

When I think of you, I think of coming home during a snowstorm. I picture myself brushing the snow off my coat, slide my boots off of my feet, and hearing the soothing sound of your voice as you offer to warm me up with a cup of cocoa. I think of blushing, how you’d know I would prefer tea, and how you would believe that tea couldn’t warm your soul the way a cup of cocoa could. You would make yours with all of the works: whipped cream, marshmallows, and a dash of cinnamon, because you wouldn’t believe in too much comfort. I think of you getting some of that whipped cream in your dark-colored beard on purpose. I imagine you’d do this just to make me laugh, not because I may have had a bad day, or because you would think it was required of you, but simply because of your natural impulse to spread happiness.

I think of you in situations where thinking of you doesn’t seem logical. I think of you bringing home flowers when I’m taking my dog outside. I think of making you a spaghetti dinner when I’m folding laundry. I think of us sampling hummus, cheese, and locally roasted coffee at farmer’s markets when I’m driving to work. I think of sending you songs I know you’ll love when I’m washing dishes. I think of all the ways you could propose to me when the time feels right, how often we’d make midnight ice cream runs in our pajamas, and all the ways you’d turn sadness into smiles when I’m simply staring at an off-white wall in my bedroom.  

But I don’t just think of hot cocoa, fireflies, and farmer’s markets when I think of you. I think of text messages that you don’t reply to. I think of waiting in my chair at work, or while sitting on my bed at home, even just hoping to see you typing a message, simply so I would know that the intention was there. I feel that the emotional gravity would pull at my stomach, twisting and tearing it down with debilitating force. I imagine the gut wrenching would spiral into days, maybe even weeks, before I draft a message asking if I’m still worth while, without actually using those words. I think of you ignoring that text, too.

I think of a canyon between us when we’re sitting on the same couch. I think of you making more eye contact with your phone than you make with me, as if the entire scope of your vision could only handle a web page. I imagine hearing one-worded answers when I ask about your day, and I picture me spewing long-winded rants to my dog after you leave about how I just knew that I felt the foundation of our relationship crumbling from the moment it started. I’d punish myself for not trusting my gut, for keeping it quiet when I knew it should be the most important voice to trust. I think of picking up my dog, burying my face in his black and white fur, and sobbing after I hear your car pull out of the driveway.

When I think of you, I think of getting caught in rain storms that flood streets and drown plants. I feel it soaking my clothes and filling my shoes, making every movement feel heavy. I imagine how crippling it would be to want to rip those clothes off and wring them dry, but knowing I’d have to wait until no one was watching. I imagine the water rushing out of my shirt and scattering across my bathtub, some staying stagnant against the white base, and some slipping into a dark unknown. I think of how wrinkled and darkened the clothes would look after all the trauma, and wonder how I became pathetic enough to sympathize with pieces of fabric.

Thinking of you is fragile hope in a pool of chaos; it’s knowing that the train is on its way to a broken bridge, but thinking just a few more seconds of looking into your eyes will make the brakes work faster. It’s feeling that we’d still have time to redirect the whole damn thing, despite all of the noise. It’s realizing we bought the wrong ticket halfway into our journey.

When I think of you, at the end of all of the clashing chaos, I think of trying to unlock the front door during a snowstorm with frostbitten fingers. I think of hot cocoa that tastes like salt, and I think of drinking it in silence. I think of fireflies that sting, and harmonies that clash. I think of the perfect latte spilling onto the white sweater I wore on our first date, and you being too distant to care. I think of roses dying, spaghetti dinners with mushy pasta and watery sauce, and getting your taste in music entirely wrong. I think of how many pieces a heart can shatter into when you hope for forever, but end up with a box full of your stuff, and a good-bye that only one of you prepared for. I begin wondering if the shattering started way before that moment.

Thinking of you makes me feel whole, but also like the wholeness evaporating, forcing itself out of my pores and clutching onto some hope on the way. I feel complete, like pessimism in the midst of getting your heart broken. I feel new: sometimes like a star forming in the sky, but more often like a newborn baby feeling the world’s cold embrace for the first time. I feel the most fragile sense of bliss, knowing it could slip through my fingers and explode into thousands of small fragments across the kitchen tile. I feel that you wouldn’t be there to see how the pieces broke, yet, I think of you scooping them up with your hands, trying to make them whole, again.

5 responses to “Thinking of You (Creative Nonfiction)”

  1. Wow. Just wow. I felt this Jeff. Amazing.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! <3 glad to hear that it resonates with others.

  2. That took me on a roller coaster of emotions. Very good!

    1. Thank you!

  3. I finally decided to read this and its beautifully written; it was one hell of a rollercoaster ride of feels. You’re very talented, Jeff. Sincerely Dylan

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