I was playing a drinking game the other night. We were sitting outside the main house on uncomfortable wooden benches, the tropical evening air floating around us with just a slight bite of an ocean breeze occasionally making me shiver. We had dimmed the lights, because there is something about darkness that makes it feel safer for the truth to be said out loud.
It wasn’t the kind of drinking game where everyone ends up in fits of laughter. It started out that way, the questions taking their natural turn from innocent to raunchy with every new beer opened, every new mixer poured. Some people left eventually, but a few of us stayed and the questions turned somber, honest, raw.
It was my turn to answer. A guy whose name I can’t remember asked me the question. He was the kind of guy that gives off a frat boy vibe, but under the stars late at night you could see that wasn’t all he was.
“If you were drunk in a room with everyone you’ve ever loved, whose arms would you run into?”
My first thought was the guy who broke my heart just last year. His cheeky smile still haunts my thoughts sometimes. Just the other day I was walking down the street and for just a split second my breath and heart stopped because I thought I saw him rounding the corner. But it was just someone in a similar shirt; those damn checkered button-ups are everywhere.
My second thought was the one with whom the timing was never quite right. We would have been great together, but we never got the chance to see just how great. Timing was never our strong suit, and wrapped up in each other’s arms late at night, we’d whisper that eventually we would figure it out, that eventually it would be our time. It never was.
Then I thought about the girl I used to call my best friend. How we went from not liking each other to sharing laughter, adventures, secrets… At the end of the day, no secret is enough to keep two people together when they aren’t meant to be. Though I must admit, I really thought we were. It wasn’t a romantic love, but when our friendship crumbled, so did a piece of me.
My mind sifted through everyone I know and love and the ones I knew and loved. Some faces were easy to picture, others not so much. I wasn’t sure which ones hurt more: the ones I couldn’t remember or the ones I couldn’t forget. People who I still think about and wonder if I cross their minds too. A heart can break in so many ways.
If I were drunk in a room with everyone I’ve ever loved, whose arms would I run into? It still haunts me. Out loud, I went with option one, the guy from last year. It was easy, a simple explanation, an obvious one, even. But on the inside? I’m still wondering. Does it come down to which person I still love? Or whom I loved the most? Who I haven’t seen in the longest? It’s a question I’m going to be thinking about for a while.
I guess what really keeps me up at night, though, what haunts me most, isn’t whose arms I’d want to run into. Because what I can’t help but wonder, what nags at me, is this: In a room full of people I’ve loved, who would hold their arms wide open for me?