"The Defect of Our Love" by Klara Kurti ('17)

            I never understood why people compared feelings to seasons. Someone will casually tell you “feelings change like seasons” as an excuse to break your heart. I always felt that feelings were too complex to be compared to something as simple as nature. Nature is predictable; you always know which season will come next. Feelings, on the other hand, can’t be trusted; you never know what’s coming next until it arrives. It's like walking outside on a summer evening and feeling the chill of a winter night. Another thing that puzzles me is how someone can compare the beauty of nature to toxic feelings. That was the last thing Jennifer said to me, before she broke up with me. I guess it wasn't a coincidence that her feelings had changed when the season was shifting from fall to winter. Ever since then, I can't get her off my mind. I've thought about the break up 550 times since then. I try to imagine the way she was standing and the way her eyes looked down at her suede shoes when she spoke. Everyday since then, I've tried to relive the exact moment, just so I don't forget her.

            I remember the first time I met her. I had a moment of rest for the first time in five years. For somebody with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I felt like she was my cure. Just looking at her took away every single worry I had in my mind. I walked up to her six times before asking her out. Then when I finally spoke to her, I asked her out ten times until it was exactly perfect. I will never forget the way her eyes shined in the sun, and the small dimple she had on her cheek when I repeated myself for the fourth time. She finally said yes after the fourth time, but I kept asking.

            I'm positive that on our first date I spent more time organizing my food than talking to her. I spent more time in the bathroom washing my hands than actually sitting with her trying to get to know her. Not to mention, I kissed her twenty times, until I felt like it was just right. You can imagine my shock when she told me she loved how precise I was and that she wanted to see me again. We spent the next two weeks cleaning out her closet, exactly six times an hour; until I was pleased. Then when I finally asked her to move in with me, it didn't bother her that I had to turn on and off the lights twenty times or lock and unlock the door thirty times until my mind was at peace. Every morning, before she went to work, I kissed her exactly twelve times on the lips and eight times on the forehead. She told me everything I did made her feel protected. I remember the way her eyes would squint when she laughed and how she would giggle when she was shy. There were many nights when she washed her hands with me, ten to twenty times, just because she wanted to show me she understood. For the first time in forever, I felt I belonged.

            When she told me to meet her parents, I automatically told her no ten times, because I knew they would tell her that I was damaged. I woke up the next morning speechless when she told me her parents had arrived. I tried my best not to repeat myself or wash my hands too many times; I wanted to impress them. It wasn't a surprise to me when a few days later, her mother left a voice mail on our machine. “Jennifer” she said, “he is not the type of man you should spend the rest of your life with.” I knew she was too good for me, but the way she loved me gave me hope that someday I could change. I was even more surprised when she told me she wasn't going to listen to her mother, that she loved me.

            As time passed, she started getting tired of me flicking the lights on and off because it didn't let her sleep. She stopped kissing me twelve times on the lips every morning because I was making her late for work. Her eyes no longer squinted when she laughed; they seemed weary. She told me I was wasting her time and that I shouldn't have gotten so attached to her because she was different now. She told me that her feelings had changed like the season and that the whole relationship was a huge mistake.

            How could it be a mistake when she was the only one that I could kiss without worrying about germs? Usually people with OCD obsess over germs or petty things, but I obsessed over something so breathtaking and innocent, something so pure. Since she moved out I haven’t washed the sheets, just so I can smell her scent on my pillows. I don't even wash my hands anymore because I'm afraid if I scrub too hard, her DNA will eventually fade. I even leave the door open, hoping she'll return home one night and love me. I can't stop thinking about her. Her green eyes. I can't stop imagining the man that's kissing her, not worrying about doing everything perfectly. I keep waiting for the seasons to change, hoping that her feelings will change again too.