Somewhere between the first kiss and the first time you say goodbye to someone whose taste lingers on your tongue, you fall in love, or at least start falling without the capacity to stop (even if you wanted to). And you wonder if this time it will be different, this will be the one love affair that — finally! — justifies your fanciful belief in fairy tales and romance novels and being swept off of your feet, or if it will be the latest in a string of missed opportunities, dashed hopes, and hurt feelings (or worse).
Meanwhile, you linger on snippets of conversations — “we kiss like people in a novel,” he says, accurately — and remember the vast pleasure of being held closely and wonder at the deep comfort of opening yourself up to someone so completely that fears float away like a whisper. You know there is a tendency to minimize problems for the sake of momentary good, allow yourself to be whisked into a life neither planned nor particularly wanted. This time seems different, though saying so feels like dangerous, a harbinger so many times of a lie, because everything was exactly the same after all.
And so it remains an exercise in sitting softly in the moment, resting carefully in a space filled with promise and possibility and comfort and joy, a place where hope is expected and not scorned, intimacy blossoms without a hitch, and two lovers, still new to each other, kiss as though they are situated, quite perfectly, in a romance novel.