This time, right now, is the best we could possibly have. I can’t pick up the phone and call you, I can’t make a solid date, with a time and a place and an assigned activity, because if I did, I’d be that one step closer to meeting the reality of what we are or will be, and I don’t think I’ll like you as much then as I do now. You will never be as perfect as you are now, with phone conversations and the ideas of you in my head, the ideas of us in my head.


Right now, today, you know that I think you are interesting, interesting enough to talk to at least and that’s something,  and that I find you not unpleasant to look at. I know that you must not find me revolting, as you seemed in no great rush to stop talking to me, and, already knowing what I think of you, you agreed that drinking coffee in the same place at the same time was, in fact, a better idea than not doing so. But we know so little past that, and I can build us better on that nothing foundation better than we will be built on our something. 


I’ve heard that people often make the mistake of falling in love with a person’s potential, what they could be but probably never will because no one is ever quite as good as we think they could be. That’s true, I don’t imagine people are just making that up to have something they can hold responsible for their inability to choose a good mate, although that’s plausible too, actually. We all want an explanation for our failures, and an explanation that makes us look hopeful and trusting as opposed to crazy and delusional is obviously preferable.


This is not that. I am not falling in love with your potential, as I don’t even know you well enough to know what you might be capable of if you truly exerted yourself. Rather, I am falling in love with our potential. I am falling in love with the idea of us in a café, passionately discussing whatever it is we might feel passionate about that day, with us on a beach walking in the rain, with us making people uneasy in the most wonderful ways, with the way you’d push back your hair and I’d smile because it gave me an excuse to look at your hands, your perfect hands, with the way you’d use the hands to hold mine in public, as if to tell me and everyone else that I was with you and not anyone else. These are the ways I picture us, and if and when we do go to get that coffee, it’s not even remotely likely that we’ll live up to that. I won’t fall in love with you, you won’t think I’m beautiful in the morning with no make up on, and we’ll quickly enough become an obscure memory I’m able to dredge up from time to time.  We’ll be forgettable sex and a wasted week.

And even if, even if I do fall in love with you and you do fall in love with me and we don’t sink into our respective anonymous holes in each other’s minds, it won’t be the way I see it in my head. You won’t bring me flowers and I’ll find your hair in your eyes annoying instead of endearing and the holding of hands in public will be just one more thing we can have a petty disagreement about, and in the middle of all of that there will be beautiful things between us, but they won’t ever be as unmarred as they are where I’m standing right now.