A knowing glance
By Correspondent Matthew Warburton in Manchester, United Kingdom.
Perhaps, for some people, love happens like it does in the movies; a knowing glance across a busy room, love at first sight, a sophisticated, but subtle courting process, a romantic film and table for two, then marriage. But not for us.
We followed the movie script only up until the knowing glance, and for us the knowing glance was on a busy city street near the university we were studying at. Deep down we somehow both knew the strength and significance of this first, second-long interaction, like we had met before in another life. Somehow, we also knew it wasn’t our time yet.
A few weeks later we settled into a great friendship. We cooked, talked, danced, and studied together. Occasionally passion erupted. Some time passed and we discussed moving into a shared house together with some other friends, a choice that everyone had to make, coming out of the prescribed halls, for their second year of university.
But their existed a common knowledge among students, a strong universally held value that must have been derived from generations of experience; “don’t sleep with your housemates… it only ever ends in tears.” Thoughts began to creep into my mind. “It would be weird. It could only get too serious, or too messy.” Logic won over. I ended our sexual encounters so that we could move forward with a healthy housemate relationship. It was no big deal. Not like we were in love or anything.
During these first years we had always maintained other relations, and during the time we lived together we both had our separate lovers. We witnessed each other’s highs and lows, whilst on the surface remaining uninvolved. Occasionally we would slip and passion would erupt again. Underneath our masks we felt guilty and confused. We didn’t want to be with each other, but we couldn’t seem to stay apart. Our friendship gradually deteriorated as did our relationships with our partners at the time.
That summer she broke down. Taking a year out to work on herself, we lost contact. Still my mind insisted that I didn’t care. I was young and free, and having a good time just like always.
When she came back a year later we began to see more of each other, and I began to feel something I had never felt before; a genuine and strong respect and admiration for someone, that I could not hide. The way she floated and whirled into a room, her smile, her optimism. The admiration grew into love. I loved her child-like intrigue, her thirst for knowledge, and her selfless nature.
The love became too powerful to contain. One night, feeling particularly open, I said it. Those three words that had always been too sickly to say. “I love you too!” she grinned.
Matthew is from Manchester, United Kingdom.