I was just thinking about how Zayn and Niall’s sense of security in each other is equal parts joyful and equal parts melancholic. There’s love there - a lot of love. Bright love and sweet love, like candied fruit and pressed flowers. But there’s also… space. It’s not longing, per se. It’s like a feeling of mortality, an awareness of the end, a vital appreciation of what you have in the present, so that you can have memories to look back on when it’s over.
But love like that is also difficult, because it’s so fearful. The fear of holding on too tight, but also the fear of letting go too quickly. The fear of pushing them away, and the fear of staying. There’s the fear of regret, of all the things you didn’t say, and didn’t do, all the moments that passed by and all the time you let go to waste. Also the fear of hope, of letting the idea of forever spring up inside you where it’s not welcome, of not recognizing when you’re the cage that the bird’s song laments of.
But you tell yourself that your love is like candied fruit and pressed flowers. There’s no bitterness here, even when the fruit has rotted and the flowers have been crushed to dust. Even when the memories go ashen at the edges, and they don’t fill your belly with honey and lemon like reality used to. Even when the regret sicks to your throat, like all the “I love you”s and “Let me come with you”s that you crushed back down. Even when you feel like you don’t deserve the hope anymore, like you never deserved it, never earned it, never made yourself worthy of it.
“I think I loved you - I know I did. But sometimes think I don’t know what love feels like. I wish I could have asked you to show me.”
It’s not longing, per se. It’s like the taste of inevitability in the air, when the wind whispers “Soon” and your heart beats a little faster, and you kiss them harder, but not too hard, and you tell yourself that the looser you hold on, the easier it is to let go.
You were wrong.