Here’s Your Instruction Manual

When he was mine, I really could have used one, so here’s yours (or at least, what progress is of it). You can either thank me or pity me later.

He is not one to show you off to his friends. So if you were looking for the guy that would pronounce your star-crossed love to the world, you won’t find a twitching breath beneath the stone cold mask. Instead, you’ll find a steady silence that has a knack for tricking you into thinking you are unloved. This feeling will pass once the ice melts when you need it to most, and you’ll soon find out that he doesn’t read his thoughts aloud because he’s saving them for your ears alone.

He is not an artist. His handwriting is what seems to be an undiscovered form of hieroglyphics no other living person can translate. His aesthetic is his lack of “proper” aesthetic, and he finds it difficult to play with words, but keep your eyes and ears on him when he thinks he’s all on his lonesome. His low voice, humming the fragments of an unfinished song like the blueprints of a building yet to be realized, may not always paint notes in harmony, but these will sing the melody of your new addiction. The bits of jumbled prose he calls poems— the ones he thinks you will never hear— will tug at your heartstrings. Savor these, each unframed and unfinished masterpiece, for they will not come in abundance.

He is not a genius. You may need to explain things once, twice, perhaps even three times. He wants to get it. He wants to get you. The intention is there but he cannot wrap his head around it. Skip the pleasantries, metaphors, and unnecessary fluff. Don’t beat around the bush. You cannot drop subtle hints hoping he will cling to them and pick every piece of them apart because he will assume you need more time. Spell things out for him. He does not like solving puzzles so just tell him the solution. He cares for time, and in his eyes, every minute you two spend arguing is sixty seconds you do not spend happy.

He is a drug within himself, but you will be the only one to feel the effects. You’ll lose your balance, have no time to sleep, and forget how to create words when you speak. Your nos will turn into maybes and your maybes will turn into yeses. A deep breath in cannot save you from this narcotic. His lips are heroin, his cuts are flowers, and his breath should be your own. If, somehow, he becomes aware of the highs and lows, and the stone wall begins to crumble, do not panic. Behind the remains of what once stood tall, you’ll find the reflection of a human beginning to self-destruct. All you have to do is let the tears dry on your sleeves because he didn’t want them to fall in front of you.

He is ticklish, but only in one place. He tells people he in fact is not, and no one scoffs in disbelief, but that is just because they never found the spot. Snake your arms around his neck and kiss him everywhere until you both lose track of time. Press your lips against his flesh, an inch or two above his collarbone, and watch him melt into your hands. He is putty. He is yours. He always has been, and always will be if you allow him to be, but right now, in this moment, he is more than ever before.

He is a kleptomaniac. If you’re suddenly missing your hair accessories or chemistry notes, they are probably in his bag. Know that he does not have ill intentions. Once you start seeing each other on days you have no classes at all, he’ll become fascinated with every aspect of you. He learns by taking and examining for himself. Fret not, for most things he’ll give back. The things he’ll never return, however, are the parts of you that’ll hurt the most when damaged or lost. Take note of your breath and memorize the beat against your rib cage. There’s a difference between a healing wound and a fading scar.

If there is anything else you need to know, planting an array questions will not reap answers from him. He will not answer, for he dislikes confrontation and has a penchant for twisting the truth. These are things I learned on my own, and if you do not have the patience to continue what I gave up, then save yourself the trouble.

Instructions always come with the self-explanatory things and are never around when we actually need them.