I was so cool, that first afternoon.

She told me she loved me that afternoon, while we sipped creamed cappucinos and I toyed with the empty sugar packets. She told me she loved me, and I just carried on playing, piling paper after paper into a crush of flattened butterflies.

She told me she loved me, and through some dint of superhuman effort, I managed to look surprised. Of course, I thought, of course she loves you. You are so cool. You can just sit and wave her words away, pretending that you have not been dripping honey into her ears for months, pretending that whatever it is that makes you pour your heart into her small, silver hands, could in no way be love. She told me she loved me, and I was so cool that I dared to look her full in the face and ask for time. Time. As if we have so much. Me so cool, and her so in love, and together, us, just slightly disjointed, out of phase; her with narcolepsy of the heart and me with a blue sweater that matched the egg-shell of my nails that I painted on the way back from band practice each Sunday.

So look, now, at these goddamn cool hands, that for some reason felt that they had the right to reach out and cup her chin like she was some goddamn child, pinch her arm, touch her breasts. The audacity! The solemn heresy in breaking something as fragile as love with something as robust as skin.

I was so cool. So very very cool.

A brief glance upwards, I remember making. To look away, as if I felt some deep shard of emotion? I was ever the actor, ever the scribe, ever the poet. But that glance? Maybe, I think now, it was a second for breath. A second where, had I not been so cool, I would have turned my head back to hers, and told her i love youso veryvery much veryverymuch very i love you i don'tknowwhy, i dontknow why iloveyouilove you but i love you i do i dont know why pleaseplease i love you dont go.

I was so cool.

And the years pass, and my nails grow longer, and I no longer go to band practice, and I am still in love, and she has long since fallen asleep in her own bed, with her own love, so very far away, so very very far, so very very cool.

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