The Way You Look Tonight

To this day, I still wonder if he was lying, or if he was just being nice, or being spiteful, or dense, or really just plain wonderful, or if for some strange reason I cannot understand, he saw something in me.

That faithful night in 2009, when after I had walked him home, I lay awake the whole evening, my reverie only broken by the futile ring of my alarm clock the next morning. I used to laugh at people who still have stuffed animals, but never again as I unknowingly hugged my stuffed dog, my laptop constantly repeating a playlist of corny Britney Spears songs.

To this day, he is my ideal and my idea. That first night as we sat on the booth of the karaoke place, awkward and bent, and he sang Buble, or of our first movie, 2012, or of our first lunch, Tokyo Tokyo, or of the first time I tried to hold his hand.

That faithful night in 2009, when he allowed me to take him out — who I was then, this stupid, immature, self-important person who hid his insecurities behind a wall of humor, and him, the one person, who despite the fact that we never lasted made me a better person than all the guys who have followed, all the people I’ve lowered myself to allow in trying to recapture that magical night. Maybe because I was such a jerk to him that I realized I sicken myself — but he never got even.

And it took that one last meeting before I left to understand how important he was — he is to me, regardless of whether we became a couple or not. He made me feel beautiful, he made me feel loved, special, true, vulnerable, he made me human.

To this day, I have our one and only picture together — the one picture I brought with me overseas. Printed on cheap bond paper by a cheap photo machine at a cheap gaming arcade, the two of us, perhaps the best picture of me (as he brings out the very best I have to offer), smiling, happy, and him immortalized just the way he looked that night.

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This is the 100 Songs Project, a 100-day writing challenge based on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. Every day, I write a short poem, prose piece, or play based on, reacting to, rejecting, accepting, or doing something related to one of the songs in the top 100 list.

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