I’ve only ever fallen in love twice: with big city and small town.
I met big city at a bar (of course), and he offered to buy me a drink (of course), and then I didn’t see him for three whole months. That’s just how big city works. But when he called, I was young enough to think the nervous pit in my stomach meant something good. Big city was older than me, and richer than me, and had a white collar job with a personal assistant. He liked to talk about important things like finances and politics and himself. But that was ok because big city was cool. He showed me all about the world, like smoking and fucking and staying out too late. Before I met him, I was small and shy. I had bangs. Big city liked that about me, he said. Liked that I was so much more than I seemed. And then, five weeks later, he told me he loved me, and I believed him.
But big city was also fast and sharp and full of dark alleys where men in trench coats auctioned off black magic. Full of prettier people and power. I was only 19 at the time, just a kid, and big city took everything I had, chewed it up, and spat me back out on the concrete. He smiled with all of his teeth and told me we’d had a fun run. I went to therapy for weeks, and big city was engaged six months later to a woman with a loud mouth and no bangs.
But I’ve fallen in love twice.
And small town came along just like big city, only many years later. He asked for my number at a bar and laughed too loud when I said no. I thought it was because he was cocky, but I found out later that he always laughs too loud when he's nervous. And God was he nervous. But I said no, and he laughed too loud, and then I didn’t see him for three whole months. Until his friend and my friend got engaged and we had to moonwalk down the isle at their wedding. He offered to buy me a drink, and I said yes, but only because it was an open bar. One drink, two drinks, three, four fivesixseveen. We talked about our families, and did the YMCA, and passed out in my hotel room.
And small town held me when I cried and owned a little cafe that did well enough to pay the bills, and small town smiled. He let me tell him about the world. He liked holding hands and Harry Potter. Small town talked dirty and shut down the cafe some days so we could spend all afternoon naked in bed. And we held each other just as tight. Small town met my parents before saying I love you and when he said it, he really meant it. He smelled like warm bread and pine trees, and when small town talked, it was about important things like good books and insecurities and the future.
And here’s the thing, being with him wasn’t anything like being with anyone else. It was like coming home after traveling the world. Knowing all the rooms by heart. Laying in your childhood bed and thinking, this is it, kiddo. You fucking did it. And maybe for you it’s big city or small town or someone else entirely. I think maybe we fall in love everyday, but sometimes it's different. Sometimes it’s everything. Just trust that it’s out there. Please, please. Just wait for your homecoming.