How to Fall in Love
Take an eight o’clock class, the kind that you always feel bleary-eyed and foggy, no matter how many hours of sleep you got the night before. Make sure it’s a something that actually interests you; it’ll be easier to meet your soul mate if you share the same interests. Especially that early in the morning.
It won’t be love at first sight. You’ll hardly notice him on the first day of the new semester, when the professor insists everyone go around and introduce themselves. You’ll file his name and face away for future reference, but note, also, that he isn’t your type.
Wait a week. Realize you don’t have a type. Start to notice his eyes, the fall of his hair, the way he reads his writing aloud for the class. Wrap yourself up in the sound of his voice. Don’t you dare throw away that note he wrote you on your short story, the one that tells you how ballsy you were to write it and how much he enjoyed it. He enjoyed it. Don’t let that thought go for the rest of the semester. Remember that as the moment you felt your stomach drop and your heart beat fast – remember that as the moment you fell in love with the guy who wasn’t your type. He’s your only type now; deal with it.
Dress to impress, because that’s seems to be the unspoken rule at your college of choice. You won’t feel truly pretty until you look at yourself in the mirror around three in the afternoon, when you’re riding high on caffeine and the end of classes for the day, but you'll appreciate the effort. You’ll hope he does, too. One day, he’ll sit across from you. You’ll feel like a stalker, but keep your eyes on him as often as possible. Try to speak up during workshop, to catch his attention with your glittering wit and charm. No regrets.
Don’t decide wearing a baggy sweatshirt and no makeup to class one morning is okay, just because it’s a little too chilly and gray outside. It’s early, but you should still try. Don’t think everything will be okay – it won’t be. Because this is the day he’ll sit next to you. You’ll quietly celebrate and berate yourself the entire class period. Don’t expect to learn anything that day. Look back at your notes later and wonder how you managed to get anything down at all. Write an angst-ridden poem about your appearance and true love. Edit for a more humorous tone. When you post it on your blog, you don’t want one of your fourteen followers to think you were being serious.
Fantasize all you want. You’ll try not to in the beginning, to avoid the heartache, because you’ve been through this – how many times has it been now? – before and it’s never ended well. You make too much of your love life; you build mountains from mole hills. Well, fuck old adages and daydream away. You don’t want anyone else. You want him. He’s stolen your heart with his eloquence. Picture the scene in class when he writes a story and makes it clear that he wants you to be his one and only. Let your heart race whenever he raises his hand to share. Any moment could be the moment.
Picture your first kiss, your first date, doing something stupid together and leaning against each other in class. You’ll be inseparable. This is all you’ve ever wanted, this perfection. You’ll wonder why life can’t really be this way for you. Then you’ll demand your answers. “Why can’t anything ever work out?” It’s not because of your looks, or your height, or your weight, or your clothes, or your writing. It’s nothing you can control. You’re making all the right moves – for you. Once you accept that, you can allow yourself to fall in love and just wait until he loves you right back. Just don’t mention any of this to him if and when you start dating. Also, remember to never let him near your blog. It’ll just be embarrassing for everyone.
You’ll wake up one morning near the end of the semester and head to class, same as any other day. Be one of the first there to get your favorite seat, two from the head of the conference table on the left. There will be a few seats empty when he arrives. One will be next to you. He’ll sit there. Analyze away.
Don’t breath for the rest of class. Breathing is a sign of weakness; it will betray your infatuation. Laugh at his jokes (he really is clever – you like a guy with a sense of humor). Hang on his every word (he has a way of making you listen). At the end of class, when he turns to you curiously, don’t naturally assume that he’s about to profess his undying love to you. Try not to look too let down when he just asks what the homework was on Monday, when he missed class and you tried not to cry when you picture him getting hit by a bus, or something as equally unrealistic and tragic.
Notice his height. He’s taller than you. You’re six-foot-one; that’s quite a feat. Quietly rejoice. Offer him the short story you wrote, for him to read and critique for next class. Try to think of a reason to linger, to smile, to laugh, to make a clever quip. Keep thinking of ways to stay behind and talk to the professor – he always seems to do that. Maybe he’ll notice if you ask something particularly insightful. Think of nothing and run away. Write a how-to guide to make it easier on your fellow lovelorn souls in this world.