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When she walks into your life, it isn't with an electric shock, a dramatic weather change, or thematic music. Rather, unlike the movies, it'll be with a whisper of the wind and a shrug of a shoulder under light brown hair in the late summer heat. It'll be silent. She'll take a seat across from you by complete accident. You'll glance her way, perhaps appreciate her natural beauty, and go about the rest of your day without any real reason to remember it thirty years later.
However, without all of the special effects and obvious clues we as a society have become accustomed, she has changed your world.
In a matter of days, you'll find yourself remembering her name without having to be reminded mid-conversation. You'll get her number. For three years, you'll text in every free moment, think about her outside of daily activities, and begin to crave her company. Love doesn't happen in the limit of a two-hour movie, or even a two-hundred page novel, but over the course of years. She'll become your best friend, the one constant in an otherwise tumultuous life, and the reason you can continue to get out of bed every morning.
Year five, things get dark. You lose the courage to ask her out as your girlfriend whether it be because of societal pressure or the simple fact that you are not the hero in a fictitious work and you have to stand back to watch her go to someone else. You still talk every day. There's still text messages sent during work breaks. She's around, she tells you about him, she becomes a constant reminder of your greatest mistake, and there is absolutely nothing you can do.
Instead, she learns about all the things that love is not. She gives up her passions, her personal desires, and does everything he wants first. From washing his laundry on a daily basis to giving him sex at four when she has important exams the next day, she learns to give more than she takes. He tells her she's fat and the woman you once saw glow under the spring sun starts to starve herself for the hope of affection. He tells her she's stupid and you stop hearing her witty jokes because the puns are lost on him. He says something and she loses another piece of herself.
Love, as we are taught, is the process of brainwashing in order to feel accepted by somebody.
The weekend before Christmas, he breaks it off. You're there by chance. Through the thin walls, you hear her voice crack, the first sniffle, and then the door slam. Hands over her face, shoes only half way on her feet, she walks out the door without giving you a second look. You, too, have been brainwashed. Thinking this is true love, a mistake, a cause worth fighting, you tell him off, try to provoke him to stop her before she gets in the car. He puts his hand through the wall and tells you to never come back. You're the reason he decided to break her heart. He can't handle the way she looks at you any longer. He thinks she's cheating. Hurt, you stand up for her. Hell, you would be the first to know if she'd been cheating.
Nothing you say matters. It's a waste of time. In the movies, this wouldn't be your chance. You're a background character in your own story. You don't go for big shows of affection, risky plans, or any thoughtless actions. You stand by and let the world move around you.
Hitting the door, you learn love is charging out of your comfort zone. It is running down the street after the white car in the distance. It's the moment your lungs start burning, when no amount of oxygen is enough to soothe the ache in your weighted limbs, that you learn love is about giving her everything you can, all of yourself in every moment. Love is being by her side no matter what.
It won't be that day, or the next. She'll still be depressed through the holidays, but as you enter the new year, you grow the courage you once lacked. You take her out for Valentine's Day, no longer as your best friend for dinner, but as a date. You see a movie, take her to fancy sushi for dinner, touch her in every available moment, and fall harder for this one single human being than ever before in your life.
You come to realize that love is the way you held the door for her only weeks after you both met. Love is the way she remembered how you take your coffee the first week of college. It is the way she looks at you when you're over explaining your latest idea for a novel and the way you give input on her dreams for the future. Love is not the dramatic flair, but the everyday action that slowly, inevitably, draws us closer together.