1. You perfect the art of fake smiling through conversations about his girlfriend. You learn to sprinkle words of encouragement while simultaneously ensuring he doesn’t realise that with every memory he makes with her, every wonderful thing he does for her; a little part of your heart chips away. You’re pretty sure soon all you’ll have left in your chest is gaping wound.
A black hole of all the times you bit your tongue till you tasted crimson to stop yourself from screaming out loud.
Stop it. God stop it. I don’t want to know how you’ve found your home in her arms. How she quiets all your demons and makes you want to be an honourable. I thought that would be me.
2. When he asks you about the dark circles under your eyes you learn to casually brush it off instead of telling him that you can’t sleep because you’re just now realising that he’ll never love you back and the clarity of this truth is spreading like wildfire through you till you can’t ignore it anymore.
Even when everything inside has burnt to the ground and your heart feels like barren land you still have hope and its pathetic aftertaste, like ashes on your tongue. It won’t let you forget him.
3. One day you see yet another picture of them together and he’s smiling. He makes happiness look so beautiful. You realise you can’t do this anymore.
4. You tell him how you feel. You tell him like a criminal confessing their crime. It feels dirty and wrong because he was never yours and you feel like a fool for thinking you stood a chance.
5. He says I never thought of you in that way. I’m sorry. He tries to change the topic like it’s not important. Something he can ignore and act like it doesn’t change your friendship. Suddenly you feel like you’re disappearing. He makes you feel so small. He makes your love feel so small. Like all the days you spent loving him, staining your pillow with tears in his name meant nothing. You are an empty space.
6. You recover slowly, now anger filling your veins. How dare you let him make you feel so insignificant?
7. Slowly you become more than just an outline. Slowly the empty spaces in your soul are filled with new adventures and new experiences.
Baby steps you tell yourself. Your heart still feels like an empty room and you learn to live with memories that haunt its walls.
8. You get better at smiling. The real kind.
9. You meet someone. He’s nothing like him. He makes terrible jokes and tickles you till you laugh. Every once in a while you catch him staring at you his eyes slightly glazed. You laugh and ask him why he’s looking at you like that.
10. He says now that I know you I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live without you. Or rather I never want to live without you. You feel like home and I love you.
For a second you can’t breathe because you realise your heart is no longer an empty room. Someone entered it and decided to fill it with sunshine.