I think I loved you from the minute I really met you. The very first instant you came up behind me and put your hand at the base of my neck and lead me through the crowd. We spent the afternoon partying and dancing not a care in the world. I had no idea that would be the beginning of almost a decade of what I’m going to simply call “us.” I had known you most of my life but never like this. Re-introduced and age was no longer a factor, I was hooked.
We left separately that afternoon but we’d soon be meeting again. Talking online and sharing when we’d be back in town, so we could meet up started the friendship. Both of us not knowing what we had really gotten into, we flew by the seat of our pants and let things happen as they may.
Soon enough we were hanging out 3 or 4 days a week. Going out, partying, eating, drinking, exploring, having fun, learning about each other, sharing secrets, sharing ourselves, we didn’t really have any limits. Little did either of us know that we wouldn’t spend more than 3 weeks apart in a 5 year period. Little did we know that those we once considered best friends were now second to each other. That despite not having labels or actually being in a relationship “together,” we were attached.
We got jealous when the other had another person come their way. We got mad when we didn’t include each other. We got energized in each others’ presence. We needed and yearned to be close and I don’t think either of us really understood why. I knew how I felt about you, but I also knew you. I knew “trapping” you wasn’t going to work and making you do something you didn’t want wasn’t going to work either. The last thing I wanted to do was change you because you were who I loved. I loved the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, I was all in. I was invested. And to a certain point so were you.
After about a year of this you told me you loved me. You told me there was no one like me. It was Christmas Eve Eve and on the steps of our favorite weekend hangout you threw your arms around me whispered “I love you” in my ear, slowly pulled away and kissed me. Standing there stunned I didn’t say it back. You said it to me three times in the next two weeks and the words hit me like a ton of bricks every time. Then I finally said it back and I think I shocked myself. I knew I had feelings for you from the beginning but I didn’t want to lose my best friend. I’m not good with emotion and I tend to be a bit frigid when it comes to matters of the heart. Truth be told, there’s no one like you either.
We went on for years hanging out and living adventures. Keeping a balance for each other so the other didn’t fly too far off the hinges. So much better together than we ever were apart. Constantly making each other crazy, but always in need of that presence. As time passed the more people noticed. Always together, always around, could always find each other in a crowd. We were attached even more than before.
After almost 5 years I cracked and told you how I felt. You asked me why I chose now to have feelings and I had no words. You asked me what I was afraid of and I said nothing. I then asked you and you said nothing as well. We both lied. Except I spilled my heart out. I told you how I felt. I had thought about that moment a million times and I was finally having it. We were both afraid to change things between us but they couldn’t stay that way any longer. I wanted to be with you as a couple, but you didn’t.
I could understand that, but neither of us could walk away from the other and now truth when it came to feelings got thrown in the mix. I gave you truth. You couldn’t tell me how you felt. Whether you didn’t know how you felt or if you were just afraid, it didn’t matter. I still didn’t want to force you to be someone you weren’t because that defeated the purpose.
Many nights we spent awake until dawn sharing our secrets and stories. Emotionally attaching ourselves to one another and learning the way the other thought, processed, hoped, dreamed and feared. Real intimacy in a way I don’t think either of us ever knew until that point. It got to the point where we couldn’t even be in a 500 foot radius and not have someone think we were together whether we were or weren’t.
Then things really turned. I got into a graduate program and I was getting ready to leave. Not long before were we sitting in your basement telling stories like always and I was admitting how I felt. Now the end was in sight. Life as we knew it was shifting.
You told all of our friends and some random acquaintances I was leaving you. You constantly asked what you were going to do without me. You shared my business as if it were your own, but you still couldn’t tell me how you felt about me.
For years people would ask me if we were together. They’d ask me where you were if I was somewhere alone. They didn’t understand how one of us was without the other. But you could never tell me your true feelings. There were nights we definitely came close. We both revealed truths we thought about the other and we never had anything bad to say. We never judged. We always cared more than we initially meant to. But for whatever reason it wasn’t enough.
We both yearned for the togetherness and still reveled in each others’ presence, but it was never enough. The week before I left a few things happened. You showed up at my going away party with someone else. You eventually cornered me and tried to talk about us. I couldn’t. You and I went for ice cream to try to talk things out. You told me we’ve always existed in the grey area and you didn’t want to change that. You told me if I weren’t leaving I could move in with you because your roommate was getting evicted. And you asked me to stay.
The night you asked me to stay echoes like a hurricane in my mind. Sitting on the bathroom floor basically on top of each other, everything came down to that moment. I don’t think there’s ever been a moment we were so close or so honest, but we both walked away without getting what we wanted. I left anyway.
We spent the next year fighting and treating each other like strangers through text and the internet. But in person, you acted like I never left. Holding hands, putting arms around each other, sharing drinks and anything else along the way. I couldn’t deal. I fought it until I couldn’t anymore. Anxiety caught up with me and that was it.
The person I had so much love for and cared so much about was a stranger I couldn’t trust. You soon used my feelings against me and made it all my fault. We no longer shared stories. We no longer spent time together, but everywhere we went there was the other person. We beat each other up mentally and emotionally. We hurt each other and shook each other to the core. The need to be in each others’ presence was now muttled by the fact that we were no longer those people.
We eventually got to the point where all we did was fight, but we still couldn’t help being next to each other. Life shifted again and I ended up moving back to NY. I watched my life fall apart. I watched my family ache. I watched you replace me and those were your words not mine. Yet anytime I was okay enough to be near you you dropped the replacement for me. We were both fighting everything we felt and everything we knew and everything around us, but everything had changed.
Me being who I am I remember down to the dates of the things we did that had an impact on me. Still hurt. Still trying to put the pieces of myself back together. There you were. We tried once or twice to “fix” things but we broke it and we didn’t know how to go back and I didn’t want to. We didn’t talk for about 6 months. The longest we had gone without speaking in 8 years. Believe me it hurt, but I still couldn’t trust you.
I couldn’t trust you not to play my heartstrings like a guitar. I couldn’t trust you not to say one thing and do another. I couldn’t trust you to tell me how you felt or really and truly be honest with me anymore. Despite trying to let it go and get over it and move on and despite dating one or two other people when I was gone and when I first got back, I was still in love with you. The problem was I wasn’t in love with the you that I had standing in front of me. I was in love with the person I had shared stories with at all hours of the night and the one I wanted to be sitting on the bathroom floor with, didn’t exist anymore. They didn’t exist anymore and the person I was didn’t either. But there we were still yearning for each others presences, without any idea of how to do it.
No one understood. We were judged for the past, present and potential. We eventually worked it out, we left the hurt behind. We learned to be near each other again. The last year changed everything, but we still weren’t those people we once were. We finally made things right again. The only problem, I was leaving again. I finally had the chance to live the dreams I’ve wanted since I was a child. I was making my dream a reality. Problem number two, I still love you. You fought with me and couldn’t say goodbye. You made it my fault again and it hurt me too. Despite everything, I still care. Despite everything I won’t ever forget our time together. Despite everything I hope you find your happiness.
I want to move forward and from the last things you said to me, that was it. I hurt you for the last time and you hurt me for the last time. That doesn’t change the past. We may not have been the right people for each other at the time. We may have dealt with a lot of things we were afraid of and a lot of things may have been caused because of us. I’m still a bit of a dreamer. I’m still a realist. I am a lot of things and I may still always love you. But I can’t do this anymore.
We broke what we had in every way and still wanted to be near each other. Right now there is no end to this story. I have a new beginning, but is it the end for us? I want to love someone that can really love me back. Or at least tell me the truth about their feelings. Being vulnerable sucks and putting yourself out there is hard.
I can’t change the past and I don’t want to, but love for the future is the next dream I hold for myself. I never knew I’d love you the way I did. I never knew I’d be sitting here caring this long after we started this game thinking about you and our memories. Call me foolish, but I know what I felt was real. I know what I lived. I know who we were apart and together. I knew we both lost us the minute we separated. Despite those around us not understanding, I only needed you to. The problem was you did, and chose another path.
We lived and experienced and loved each other, so naturally until one of us got in over our heads and tried to run for it. We always came back. We broke it more times than I can count but it was never the end. Almost 9 years later from that first day, here I sit 3000 miles from home, building a new life for myself without you. Still someone I want to walk through life with, yet it matters no longer. I don’t know how long I will love you and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop. But I’m reclaiming me and the love I have for myself in hopes of finding someone who is willing to go all in. I look back without regret. I feel no shame. I have known heartbreak and I know if I am ever to love someone again it will not be the same.
Love so beautiful in its entirety yet so destructive if handled improperly. So easily gained, so difficultly lost. It can conquer and destroy. I’m willing to see what it can bring and where my life goes from here. I want to believe.
I am not a religious person but I think this fits as an end to my new beginning.
“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”