I think most people have that person that made them feel like, maybe they were everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. I did. On paper, we were nothing, but in between the lines, we could have been everything. For the longest time, I couldn’t shake him. I romanticised him when in truth there was nothing romantic between us except the story I made out of our failures. He will never know how many times my mind wandered to him and I will never know if I ever crossed his.
We were never anything serious, just passing ships that occasionally bumped into one another time and time again. To be honest, I don’t even know if we were friends, but I like to think we were, and hopefully still are.
I’ll never be able to describe the way he made me feel, all he had to do was look at me, and I would crumble. I hated that. I hated that he could do absolutely nothing, and I would feel fifteen again, helpless and desperate for his approval. I hated the effect he had on me, especially when he shouldn’t have had one at all. The truth is, we could never be anything, even if we wanted to. We both made choices that kept our past just that, the past.
I don’t know if I ever meant anything to him, but it felt like he always knew he could have me whenever he wanted until all of a sudden, he couldn’t. Not because I grew a backbone or anything but because I slept and proceeded to fall in love with his best friend, and he proceeded to sleep with nearly everyone, including a few of my best friends. We never actually started, so did we ever end? We never had a chance. There was no conclusion to anything, just a sad collection of “what if’s.” Then out of nowhere, there would be those moments, in the spaces only we saw, when he made me think maybe it wasn’t just me wondering about what could have been.
If we were never really friends, and we were never anything more, what were we? A pair of maybes that wondered about one another in the dark? Maybe we exist in an alternate universe, one where we let ourselves have a chance. One where we were brave enough to say how we felt, even if we felt nothing at all. Not knowing is always worse than knowing. Certainty defies dreaming, and he defied all logic for me, for a lot longer than he should have.
And then he broke. He said something I never expected but always wanted to hear, and our entire history of almosts and maybes felt vindicated. Maybe it wasn’t all for nothing, and maybe I wasn’t alone in this twisted feeling. I had practically waited ten years for a slither of validation, and once I had it, I realised I didn’t want him. It was the certainty that I never had, and then, just like that, everything became apparent.
We played games with one another, in the dark when no one else could see because we were still children that knew whatever we had or whatever we wanted with one another, could and would never see the light of day. We knew our time had passed but it as if we were linked, not only to each other but to this point in time before we made choices that defined us, before we grew up and grew apart.
I think we romanticise our heartache to feel validation. But the cruel reality is, we want validation from those who will never know how much they truly mean to the ones they break. He broke my heart, and he has no idea, I wonder if I ever had the slightest effect on his.
Old habits die hard, and yes, I will probably continue to make excuses for him when I shouldn’t, and I will always have a very soft, albeit small spot reserved for him. But, I no longer have that burning wonder of what could have been. It’s not only a relief but an opening that maybe we can actually be friends this time around and get it right. I like to hope so.
Take care, and be kind.