There is an exact moment in every relationship (and meaningful non-relationship) I’ve ever been in in which things have become very serious. In a moment, in an instant—this diction chosen very deliberately because I never really have a say in the matter. It’s never a slow build up. It’s never something I can feel coming on like a cold or rainy weather.
No. This is how it happens. One day, I wake up and come to the startling realization that I’m on the precipice. And the very next second, I’m falling. Or maybe it’s not right when I wake up. Maybe it decides to sneak up on me at the most inconvenient of times, just for fun. To mix things up. Like on a first or second date with someone else, like in the middle of a sentence I can’t remember how to finish, like during sex with another guy. It never ceases to simultaneously amaze, surprise, and terrify me.
Last week, we were fighting. Nothing notably serious, nothing that lasted longer than a night of tenser-than-usual texting. It shouldn’t have mattered anyways since I had plans with someone else, a friend I had slept with many times before. He was sleeping over, and I was determined to be present as we talked and laughed and caught up and kissed. I failed miserably but managed to act adequately enough. Until the lights went out, the clothes came off, and he was doing everything—I mean everything—right. But to my absolute shock and horror, I couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t unsee the pretty pair of hazel eyes that lived across the water from me, couldn’t unfeel the feelings they set into motion weeks before, seemingly unbeknownst to me until then.
At that moment, I swore aloud. My friend asked me what was wrong, and I told him I was on the precipice. Again. How did I find my way back to a place I consciously tried to forget, a place to which I threw away the map and key, with no immediate desire to return or explore?
In the days following, I went on two very promising first dates. The types of promising first dates that a girl dreams about—free-flowing conversation, natural laughter, endless wandering through this charmingly walkable city, and a second date planned before you’ve even had the chance to stall in front of your walkup. But those hazel eyes followed me around, making it impossible to see anyone else as I fell through the dense and foggy darkness, one that I had learned early on as a likely tunnel to heartbreak.
Just like that, I was thrown off the precipice, tumbling and terrified that while we may not have been physically exclusive just yet, we sure as hell were emotionally exclusive. Just like that, it was serious. Just like that, I decided to close my eyes and hope that this time, I would stick the landing.