a love letter from quarantine

Does anyone else ever develop a crush on a stranger? You lock eyes with the person making your coffee and there is suddenly an unspoken exchange of feelings. Just a flicker, the mere possibility of chemistry. The exchange is over as quickly as it began and you feel as though you lost something you never had. Maybe I’ve just been romanticizing social interactions due to their chronic lack of frequency. For those of us who have been living in complete quarantine, even a small spark with another human can feel exhilarating. I had one of these interactions recently, at the local coffee shop I frequent. The barista recognized me and remembered my name after a sole interaction. Even with a mask on I could feel him smiling at me, and I caught him looking me over as I stood and waited for my cold brew. Is this chemistry? Attraction maybe? I have to wonder if it’s only exciting because I know it’s unrealistic. I will never have the courage to act on this attraction, and judging by his demeanor nor will the barista. Forever trapped in the world between possibilities and realities. It’s almost comforting to know that I will always be an attractive stranger in his eyes. He will never see me as vulnerable, or find out that I’m a notorious over-thinker. I have power over how he perceives me.

Well what if I wanted more? More than that one spark and more than that one moment. Is that even an option right now? How could I possibly get to know someone when I have to stay home all day? I go on a daily walk, sometimes walking 3 miles or more just so I can listen to music and try to feel something. There’s the grocery store, but I like to put my air-pods in and shut out the world in order to combat possible anxiety. So that leaves coffee shops, but I typically make a pour-over coffee in the morning in order to resist spending $5 every day. Aside from my bi-weekly coffee shop run. Then there’s dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, and I’ve heard good things about Hinge. What I don’t like about this option is that I have to put all my cards on the table too soon. Everyone knows these apps are meant for hooking up and the very occasional relationship. I prefer to get to know someone and feel out our chemistry before revealing my intentions. Isn’t that the point? Not knowing where you stand, developing a burning crush that consumes your body and mind from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep. Finding out they feel the same way and finally being able to act on it. I don’t care if that’s an idealization of love or if I’m romanticizing things again. I suppose for now I will daydream of my slow-burn love story, my person. I hope they’re out there somewhere, daydreaming of me.

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