A scene that popped into my mind during acting class, while watching two very opposite students pretend to be in love.
It had always been my dream, ever since I first fell in love with the poetry of artists like Poe, Bukowski, and Dickinson, to sit, eyes closed and heart swelling, and listen to the love of my life read poetry he'd written for me.
I remember every detail clearly. We were sitting on a hard, rather uncomfortable wooden floor, surrounded by empty folding chairs in the middle of a classroom. There was nothing particularly glorious about that day. Outside, the sky was overcast, and inside, the atmosphere was drear. Yet on that morning, even though we weren't in any sort of glamorous setting, my battered heart was both more joyous and more crestfallen than I could have ever dreamed.
Sitting opposite me was Robin, his dark brown eyes scanning the page in front of him. "Hold up," he muttered to himself, tousling his ginger hair with that fine hand of his. "Not the right one." He turned the page over, read the writing on the back, and shook his head. "Sorry, wrong poem," he turned to me, before reaching over and rummaging through his satchel. "Here we go," he exclaimed, pulling another page from one of the side pockets and tossing a quick grin at me. "This is the right one. You ready?"
I smiled encouragingly and gave him a thumbs-up. "Ready."
Robin cleared his throat, cast one more smile in my direction, then focused on the words in front of him. His eyes became passionate as he formed every syllable with the purest clarity, his voice conveying every single emotion the words had to offer. Just watching him, I could tell he was pouring his soul into the poetry, and I was the lucky listener.
My heart was fluttering sporadically, as the words flowed from Robin's lips. Leaning in, I studied the emotions on his face. This was his love. This was his calling. The endless reserves of passion within him drew me closer, and I hesitated for just one moment, before reaching across and resting my hand on his knee. I saw a flicker of recognition in his eye, that yes, his mind had registered our physical contact. I wondered if the space between us was driving him crazy, too.
As he reached the end of the poem, Robin glanced up at me, eyes begging me to validate his talent. I laughed and replied, "That's the best poem I've ever heard you recite. Did you write it?"
Robin smiled and rested his hand on mine. "For you, Dear," he said, and though the words would have sounded strained and overly sentimental had they come from anyone else, they seemed to fit the scene just perfectly.
"It's always been my dream to have someone write poetry for me."
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...you are immeasurably beautiful to me, Robin.
"How could I not? You inspire me."
There were several beats of silence, before Robin clapped his hands. "That sounded great. I think we almost have this scene down. Maybe, though, instead of putting your hand on my knee and leaning in, you could lean back and close your eyes and pretend to be completely enraptured by the poem my character wrote for you."
To him, that was all it was. A play. A scene to be rehearsed. The poetry was not from Robin to me; it was from his character to mine. Heart breaking, I nodded cheerfully and smiled. "Sounds great."
Robin laughed and nudged me playfully. "Weird how good we are at pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend," he teased.
"Yeah," I agreed, and then, being the traitor I am, I added, "Who'd have ever thought I'd fall in love with you?"