2 – The First to Fall [a short story]

It started with an instant risk: you being the first to fall. At first, I didn’t even realise you were doing so because it was a turbulent sky in a dark May and so was my heart, in its normality failing to navigate through the confused labyrinth of thoughts my brain failed to control. But noticing you fall startled me – it didn’t freak me out nor scare me, but it did feed my curiosity. Although I did not know where we would end up, I still wanted to join you. So I closed my eyes and leapt into your atmosphere. I squeezed your hand as we descended through June, through the forces of exam stress, work load and last-minute studying coming our way – yet somehow, we didn’t let each other blur out of sight.

We spent our time making up inside jokes that strangers would never get, and we bonded over common joys, bad puns and food – doing spontaneous and unusual things which felt so right. However, the most surprising part of it all was that free-falling felt different to what my physics teachers taught me at school, because nothing – not even one sabotaging thought – was acting upon me. So we shared; we laughed; we held each other; we kissed, not allowing an ounce of gravity seep into the ambience we moulded together. Being someone who experiences constant adrenaline rushes, free-falling with you was the epitome of serenity! It wasn’t an intense roller-coaster ride, nor was it a perfect dream, but I did not faint from anxiety. Instead I floated from cloud one to cloud nine in awe of you, and for the first time I felt safe within danger – I felt calm within mayhem.

July came in a flash and even though we had to be apart for a while, I kept in touch with you amidst the distance. For the next 19 days, I was prepared to send paragraphs to you through satellite connections across approximately 1151 miles. And in doing so, I suddenly flew up above the stratosphere thinking of you. I sketched blueprints of what life could be with you, petrified that my feelings for you were shifting but still craving to see you again and dive into the ocean with you in hopes to sink into the beauty of your underworld. Finally the time had come to latch on to you again – but you were unresponsive. I found out that you invited gravity to part our ways. You were the first to land on the ground, and seeing your feelings drift away, I lost my balance.

A few hours later I woke up to the sound of reality, finding myself below a rocky landslide. There was no one around but my own bruised heart questioning what went wrong with us. Why did such an adventure together end so soon? Why did I draw too many constellations of hope for us every night before tucking myself to sleep? Why did you leave, when you were the first person I refused myself to hold back from? When you were the one to see beyond my frizzy hair tooth-crooked goofy self and call me beautiful, the first to finally succeed in making a very neurotic me feel calm in spite of the chaos I thought I had stirring up in my life!  Why did you decide to land first, when you the first to fall – for me?!

I’d be lying if I said that none of this mattered to me. I’d also be lying if I stated it was the easiest thing to let go of what we had because it surely wasn’t:  it still isn’t – it still matters to me! However, in the presence of tears and anger and hopelessness, I can’t stop being grateful for you! Being mad at you or bitter for your decisions is futile, for what you’ve left me with is more precious and life changing than words could describe. The time we spent together is now a reminder that sharing is beautiful and something which one should never be afraid of. I use the care you gave me to love myself more and spread the wings I didn’t know I have. I’m still weary to take flight but when I do, I’ll soar higher than any other eagle and break through every rainfall, every hailstorm and every hurricane coming my way.

Every now and then I think about the last time I held you: my head being cradled in your chest, your heart making music to my ears, the same moment a rush of glee inhaled my lungs and painted a smile on my face. Do know that it was your beating heart which helped me breathe again after years on end feeling suffocated in my cynical worry. Furthermore, you are still wrapped up in my thoughts, even after having to lose all that you meant to me. It’s because you are the first boy I allowed myself to truly fall for, and you’ve pushed me to rise into someone I never thought I’d be.

A girl who had been locked up in my dreams since forever is now living freely since you’ve bailed her out of that wishful prison cell. And yes, she sometimes still struggles not to listen to the thoughts echoing disruption in the walls of her mind, but she now peeks out as I glance at my own reflection, her eyes gleaming faithfully for what the future has up its sleeves for me. She is now learning how to move forward without letting all of this weigh on her shoulders, so instead she uses it as a pedestal to stand taller, to show everyone her strength and beauty!

I had no idea that such an instant risk could unfold itself into a bitter-sweet melody, but it doesn’t make it any less worthwhile to listen to. This has been the first one I’ve composed, and you couldn’t have been a better person to create this beautiful short lived harmony with. You were the boon I had been anticipating my whole life – thank you for finally coming true!