I coughed on her wishy-washy ideals while trying not to stare directly at her as our steps separated us from the herd. It was a field trip that we shared little interest in, and yet nevertheless were excited about. I guess, when push comes to shove the whole relationship was kind of like that as well. It was the anticipation of finding a seat on the back of the bus, followed by the occasional bump along the road that kept us alive enough to deal when we were seventeen. Our eventual arrival at the museum as well as anywhere else was meant to be disappointing, and yet I was content to be let down more often than I thought possible.
I think I was this way simply because she could always handle herself better when we were forced into some highly awkward or falsely educational situation. In class our notes would be cryptic, hers full of penetrating sketches of landlocked lovers and fornicating mutants after the freefall. I held onto every single one as if they were invitations into her subconscious, and yet now as I occasionally open the folder appropriately labeled 2001 not many feelings wash over me other than disgust.
I try to think about how I could possibly be the person so young and naive and in love with a girl that sketched out her insecurities on lined college-ruled notebook paper. The questions of whether or not I was in love at all then seems to come into focus as I'm taken back to the maroon carpets and bone structures behind thick portions of glass smudged by chocolate covered fingers. The young and impressionable are claiming that they understand why one portion of rock is connected to another, and how they all worked together in perfect and utterly doomed harmony once.
I remember how her hand felt in mine, as we ditched our chaperones and searched for the luxuries that the stars and space had to offer. We named our own constellations and eventually searched the sparkles of each other's retinas for a return to the earth's atmosphere. The ride home was a hand job and a shared nap. I was seventeen once, and now it's like I'm watching everything on display, waiting in line with the rest of the assholes holding overpriced souvenirs.