Today marks your 22nd birthday, and 9 years after I fell for you the first time. Nine years after I fell, period. Nine years after I wrapped myself around the concept of love, of falling, of its aftermath, of you. Nine years after I realized the vastness of oceans, the distance marring any complication and space between us.
It’s a relief that I have long forgotten your number, the only set of digits that I ever memorized aside from those important to me. I remember thumbing them on the keypad (keypad!) years ago, the 8-bit digits glowing on the yellow screen of my Nokia. But I was always just until there, too scared to hit the CALL button, even if I yearned to hear you on the other line. If I had to take something from this, it’s that you helped me forget. And for a long time, I felt detached from people I felt for, mainly because the love I had for you was something I had to forget. I remember the hurt I felt when I first told you, and how quickly you stopped acknowledging me altogether. The wound was far stale.
You sometimes forget the first time you fall, maybe because you kind of see a pattern in the succeeding ones.
But as I write this, I remember the smile that first had me. Your face was angled towards the side, and someone told a funny joke. Your lips formed into a smirk, before breaking into a genuine, kind smile and I felt like the world meant nothing, except when you looked my way. I could never understand why you had the capability of making me feel that way, or remembering that first tinge of red fill my cheeks. You were so cheeky too, and you never missed a chance to show yourself off. But it was that smile that I look for all the time, and even if I had liked so many more, no one could ever have that unique one you had when I first saw you. No one.
You always remember the first, and ever since then, I remember all too well. Happy birthday.