Describe the colour red without using the word red.

It is the sound of his heart beating as he staggers back home to me from a night out with his friends. It is him shouting outside my window and singing out my name because he promised that’s how he would wake me up from my pile of books. It is me opening the window and telling him to keep quiet because the housemate is in the middle of making love to his girlfriend. It is him nights before breaking before me and telling me how he wishes he could go out into the world and just be himself and not what the social network knows him as. It is him telling me about his family right before I break down and tell him of how mine is a ticking time bomb where as his is a once exploded now dormant volcano.

It is him telling me how filthy my house is and getting on his knees to scrub my floor. It is me standing there looking helpless and feeling embarrassed as my house becomes as clean as it was the day I moved in. It is me making him dinner and him telling me I’m a good cook. It is him disappearing the day before I catch my flight and appearing just as I’m about to leave. It is him trying to talk to me and apologising as I close the door in his face. It is me driving off and wishing I had hugged him one last time, kissed him one last time, called him “thunder” one last time. It is him calling me and telling me he is sorry, promising to buy me Bukowski, telling me he loves me.

It is me a month later knowing I’m not returning and failing to find the words to shape into a goodbye. It is me finally finding the words and saying “goodbye”. It is him saying “I know I’ll see you. This isn’t goodbye”. It is him telling me he will always love me. It is him calling me two days from my birthday, on my mother’s phone to say he misses me and he still loves me. It is my mother asking me who it is and me failing to find the words to tell her who you are because how does one describe love? I do not know.

It is you calling me on my birthday and wishing me happy birthday. It is me who reminded you because I know you forgot. Just like I forgot yours. But if love was a colour dates are irrelevant, yes?

It is me sitting here on my birthday having had maybe one too many glasses of wine by the sea. It is me writing this and building futures with you. Maybe some people were really meant to fall in love and not be together. I guess this is ok. Maybe I have already made peace with this. With loving you from a distance. With knowing that my heart skips a beat every time you say you love me. And maybe that is the description of the colour i cannot mention. Maybe it is actually my heart pausing to hold on to that moment. It may also be me hoping that you are not saying those words to anyone else and meaning them.

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