47.

I’m not used to saying this aloud. I have a tendency to clam up and say nothing for a while. Sometimes, I find myself watching from a glass coffin, so forgive me if you try to reach in and return empty.

I’m not used to an unwavering command of attention. Too many times when I finally formulate the words I want to speak, it’s an empty street.

I’m not used to the fact that a pair of feet remain by me, even when I have a tendency to stutter, or hide nervousness in the intricate folds of an origami crane.

I’m not used to the idea that a person would wait in unbroken silence just so that I can whisper a single passing remark, catch ephemeral laughter in the fleeting wind.

I’m not used to making this confession, but I must admit that there is a permafrost in my heart that hurts, that I fear letting it thaw. To be warm is unusual and unusual is the unknowable. Both extremes scare me, the warm and the cold, let alone braving along this spectrum.

I’m not used to considering that I might choose to change, not only for you, but for myself. Yet one day I’ll lift my chin. Take a full account of the world above with confidence. And if you’re still here, be pleasantly and timely warned that this is uncharted territory—

I’ll look at you in the eyes.

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