There are moments in every relationship that define when two people start to fall in love.A first glanceA first smileA first kissA first fall…(I remove the Darth Vader house shoes from my satchel and look down at them.)You were wearing these during one of those moments.One of the moments I first started to fall in love with you.The way you gave me butterflies that morningHad absolutely nothing to do with anyone else,and everything to do with you.I was falling in love with you that morningbecause of you.(I take the next item out of the satchel. When I pull it out and look up, she brings her hands to her mouth in shock.)This ugly little gnomeWith his smug little grin…He's the reason I had an excuse to invite you into my house.Into my life.You took a lot of aggression out on him over those next few months.I would watch from my window as you would kick him over every time you walked by him.Poor little guy.You were so tenacious.That feisty, aggressive, strong-willed side of you….The side of you that refused to take crap from this concrete gnome?The side of you that refused to take crap from me?I fell in love with that side of youbecause of you.(I set the gnome down on the stage and grab the CD)This is your favorite CD‘Layken’s shit.’Although now I know you intended for shit to be possessive, rather than descriptive.The banjo started playing through the speakers of your carand I immediately recognized my favorite band.Then when I realized it was your favorite band, too?The fact that these same lyrics inspired both of us?I fell in love with that about you.That had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.I fell in love with that about youbecause of you.(I take a slip of paper out of the satchel and hold it up. When I look at her, I see Eddie slide her a napkin. I can’t tell from up here, but that can only mean she’s crying.)This is a receipt I kept.Only because the item I purchased that night was on the verge of ridiculous.Chocolate milk on the rocks? Who orders that?You were different, and you didn’t care.You were being you.A piece of me fell in love with you at that moment,because of you.This? (I hold up another sheet of paper.)This I didn’t really like so much.It’s the poem you wrote about me.The one you titled 'mean?'I don’t think I ever told you…but you made a zero.And then I kept itto remind myself of all the things I never want to be to you.(I pull her shirt from my bag. When I hold it into the light, I sigh into the microphone.)This is that ugly shirt you wear.It doesn’t really have anything to do with why I fell in love with you.I just saw it at your house and thought I’d steal it.

~ Colleen Hoover