It feels good / by Kiran Umapathy

The following is an original story I read at the Hearts & Crafts Valentine’s Market in Oakland:

I didn’t think it would ever happen again.

I thought maybe I was too old, or more likely just jaded from the bullshit, even when a lot of it was my fault.

After all, I’m not the type of person who learns from a mistake and quickly moves on. I have to make it at least a few times to be sure it’s a mistake at all.

But then… you came along. It wasn’t love at first sight or anything — you didn’t even register on my radar until my friends were gushing about you. Now it seems ridiculous that I ever could’ve ignored you.

The more I learned about you, the more I looked forward to discovering you.

Yeah, that included every inch of your body, but also how you saw the world and what mattered to you.

It felt so fucking good to be this excited, because again, I didn’t think I had it in me. I liked how you made me feel human.

I felt all these emotions that came back to me, as if I’d be reunited with my world after being held captive in a distant galaxy.

I started to care about shit again and really believed that it’s the little things that ARE the big things.

It was the sound you made when you got excited about something, probably a remnant from your childhood, but something I found absolutely darling.

It was how swept up you got telling me a story about your favorite meal your family makes. And how cute it was when you asked me to read to you in bed, even though you totally grossed me out by sticking your feet in my face just to see me squirm.

You told me that you had no idea how you found someone like me. That was all I needed to hear to feel special.

But mostly, I couldn’t get over that when I was with you, anything was possible. I still don’t believe our encounter where we took the last hippie deli sandwich from an upset member of the Beach Boys in Big Sur would have happened with anyone else.

For whatever reason, the world always opened up to us.

So that’s why, when it ended, it really got to me. I knew what we had.

You taught me so much about what’s needed to make a relationship work.

How to listen like someone is the most important person on the planet. How much I wanted to get vulnerable with someone, but hadn’t afforded myself that freedom in the past. How everyone needs a little flirtation that feels more like date three than three years down the line.

I could only remain bitter though if I bought into what pop culture says relationships are supposed to be. You find that one person, breathe some over-the-top sigh of relief, and live happily ever after.

Besides, that’s actually pretty fucking boring.

The truth is that relationships are diverse and we shouldn’t kill ourselves with comparisons. Don’t be fazed when yours don’t match up with those of a bygone era.

Their quality has little to do with time. People move in and out of our lives all the time and a two month fling can be more meaningful than a lot of marriages that are based on nothing but being practical.

So yeah, that’s why I still have hope. It’s why I trust that everything is working out exactly the way it’s supposed to, and that there really will be someone that moves me in the way you did, or should I say still do.

You don’t live here anymore, and we don’t talk very much, nor will you probably ever hear this story.

But thank you for all of the work you put in. It meant a lot to me and hopefully someone else will reap the benefits.