Like it was yesterday.

amorDo you believe in love at first sight? And do you believe in soulmates? I do, or at least I want to, in both. Spoiled and ruined by romantic movies, tragedies and Disney ass I am, I have a fantasy in my head about an all-destroying, all-overcoming and all-confusing love, that, when you encounter it, grabs you by the throat and doesn’t ever let go. That, when you meet this person, you are absolutely certain it is right, that you want to grow old like Noah and Allie in The Notebook, and that you want to take your last breath while laying in each other’s arms. Cheesy, I know. But I like the thought nevertheless.

In the first case, love at first sight, I am able to say I am lucky enough to have experienced it, on multiple occasions. I vividly remember the first time it happened to me. I was 12 years old, had just started secondary school, and I was attending the school play that celebrated the start of our Christmas break. The gym, which doubled as a theater, was pitch black, as was the stage, and the sounds of people chatting were dying out. It was time for the play to start. The crowd seemed uneasy in the dark, not sure what was about to happen next. All of a sudden, as one spot went on, I was struck by lightning. The face of the most beautiful young man that I had ever seen in my life up until then was lit up. As he was casually lying on a wooden block, he started reciting his lines. I sat through the whole thing completely stunned, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. During the weeks, months, even years that followed, my feelings developed into the young love that is common in teenage girls. I discovered more and more about my crush, like his name, age, class. When he was near, I felt it flawlessly so I could swoon with my friends over how cute and nice he was, but how stupid it was that he smoked (although that came in handy too, because you could be dead sure he could be spotted in the cool-kid place during breaks).

Of course I realized that it wasn’t realistic to think that anything was ever going to happen between this boy and me; when I had finally turned into something remotely interesting for a 4 year older boy, he had already left school, but that didn’t keep me from quasi-nonchalantly trying to talk to him about his acting. What a stammering idiot I must have been. In the meantime, I started noticing other boys as well, of course all in higher years. Most of them I adored from afar (because who would notice a younger girl in school, like me?), some I got closer to, partly because I grew more balls to talk to boys, partly because the age difference between me and boys in higher years started to shrink as I progressed in my school career. Even though I had other, temporary infatuations, mister Thunderbolt-from-the-blue remained in my thoughts and in my dreams. He had been the first to move me in such a powerful manner, of course. It may have also been the fact that he was so unreachable that made that my feelings for this boy remained so strong for such a long time. His looks grew better by the day, and the scarce contact I had with him were sufficient to inspire intricate fantasies in my mind but not enough to make me dislike him for any bad character traits he might have had.

As for soul mates… Sometimes I get the eerie feeling that for every person on earth there is only one perfect match. That there is only one person that makes love seem effortless, because you can be yourself completely. The ancient Greeks had a cool myth about soul mates. Aside from the god on Mount Olympos, ball shaped creatures with 2 heads, 4 arms and 4 legs existed. Because the Gods only had half of the amount of limbs these creatures had, they were scared that one day these creatures would try to kick them off their throne at Olympos. Zeus decided to split the creatures in half, thus breaking their power, and creating beings that would remain in search for their other half forever. I think this is a beautiful, but incomplete explanation of the concept of soul mate. Have you ever made a puzzle with a thousand pieces? When you lay the pieces out with the image visible, only one solution is possible. But if you flip all the pieces over with the grey cardboard on top, putting it together is not so easy and straightforward anymore. Sometimes two pieces seem to fit together perfectly – they’ll have the same shape and size – only to come to the conclusion they make up two entirely different part of the final image when flipped over. This is how I think – and hope, because let’s face it; only one shot at true love is pretty limited and depressing at that – the concept of soul mates should be explained. There are multiple puzzle pieces on this earth for each and every one of us that fit just fine, as long as you don’t look at the image on the back side. People you can be happy with for a life time. But it also means that there should also be one, ultimate match, right?

On several occasions in my relatively short lifetime I have had the feeling that I met another piece of my puzzle. That, from the moment our eyes met, I knew we’d be great together. On almost just as many occasions, time has proven me wrong. Or, should I say, has the other person failed to recognize his me as his matching piece. It makes me question myself a lot. Should I still rely on that thunderbolt-and-lightning feeling, or should I, looking at the colored image on the puzzle piece, accept that people sometimes don’t fit perfectly but work out anyway?

But then this one man walks back into your life, after two years of not being in touch. The man that looks at you like you’re the only one in the room. The man that tells you all you ever wanted and needed to hear with just one look. The man that tries to fathom you, tries to find out what you are thinking, tries too look right into your heart with the blink of an eye. A look that conveys longing, hope, wonder. The man that makes you hear nothing but blood rushing in your ears, the man that makes your sight go blurry, the man that leaves your mouth parched. The man that makes you shut down, that leaves you unable to keep your cool, not knowing where to look. The man that has always looked at you this way, from the moment you first met. Why the uncertainty? Because he pays for all of the dinners you share, drives you home in the middle of the night, plans to take salsa lessons with you. Because he kissed you and then said it was a drunk, spur-of-the-moment kind of thing with no meaning. That you are too young for him. The man that, in spite of the way he keeps looking at you, has knocked the floor from underneath your feet with these words, made you doubt everything and anything you thought you knew about love and how to recognize it.

‘They’ sometimes say that a kiss is an imprint of an impression that intently calls for a reprint. If that’s true, our mouths could have written history by now. Love at first, second, third sight… I think he needs to grab the box of the puzzle, to see what the image looks like. What the image could look like.

Whether love at first sight exists or not, whether we humans are eternally looking for our mythological other half, I don’t know. I do know that there is nothing greater, and nothing more confusing than the surprise you feel when a special someone looks you in the eyes and makes you forget everything around you. That the floor disappears from underneath you when you least expect it. And whether it’s at first, second or a hundredth sight, doesn’t really matter. I hope I may experience that feeling a lot more times.

PS: when I had just moved out of my moms house into my own little palace, I was riding my bike from the hardwarestore on my way home. I passed by a couple of houses that Mitros that looked similar to those Mitros had put up for sale. I had been at a few of them, so that’s why I recognized the style straight away. I hadn’t particularly noticed these houses before, up until that day. There it stood, on one of the balconies, a director’s chair with the name of my first flame printed on it. My stomach screwed up, like I was struck by lightning all over again. I complete forgot to continue moving the pedals of my bike and I barely averted a fall while I put my feet to the ground. I looked up at the balcony again to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, but it really read his name. The combination of his unusual name and the type of chair made me sure it was him that lived there. My first flame lived right around the corner from me, at not even two minutes by bike. What are the odds…

PPS: After coming back from Turkey, I met with the salsaguy again. He came over for dinner. I expected to get the same tingly sensation all over again, but I felt quite blank, to be honest. The effect he once had on me had been completely eviscerated by what I was now feeling for someone else since Turkey…

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