It begins the moment you open up to me. Sort of. It’s a build-up to that moment, all that friendly banter between us, that realization that we’re so alike in our humor, in our thoughts, in our philosophies. We keep up this back-and-forth, updating each other with the mundane details of our day-to-day lives and conversing like we’ve known each other all our lives. But for me, the moment I can pinpoint is the one where you suddenly bare your soul to me, where you tell me about the demons that have been haunting you, your torn family life, the fact that your little sister’s pregnant and getting an abortion and you’ve spent the last few hours after hearing the news crying by yourself.
This is where I begin to care.
I begin to fall in love with you because you’re flawed, and I find beauty in this realness, reassurance in the notion that you, like me, are markedly human. I begin to fall in love because you’ve just revealed to me the most intimate, dark details of yourself, tucked away behind that charming smile and the witty comebacks, a side of you you’ve shown very few people—if any at all—besides me. I begin to fall in love because I want to hold you in my arms. I want to protect you. I want to be a safe haven for you, a light in the darkness that tells you, everything’s going to be okay. I’m here. I begin to fall in love because I think you need me. I begin to fall in love because love is what you’re missing right now, and I have so, so much love to give.
And you know this. You know, and maybe there’s a moment, even fleeting, where you genuinely want this concern from me. You pull me closer and bury your head in my chest and you thank me for being there. What would you do without me? But, without my knowing, this changes. And one day, we’re not on the same page anymore. And I’m still in love with you but you, you don’t seem to be in love with me. You crave the warmth of skin against yours, the touch of fingertips grazing your back, the pressing of soft lips on your own. But you don’t necessarily want me.
You grow cold. You pull away. I convince myself that it’s a result of the sadness, a result of all your problems. Of course you love me; I’ve been there for you. You just don’t know how to react right now. You need time. You need space. That’s okay. I understand. I’ll wait patiently for you, arms open, right where you left me. I’ll take care of you when you return. I still love you, okay? I still do.
Then you come back. But you’re still distant. I try to pick up with the witty banter we used to have, but you don’t answer. I try to comfort you in my arms but you wrench away. I let you go again, with the promise that I’ll still wait. I wonder if I’m being selfish somehow, if there’s something about you I’m failing to consider. I don’t understand what’s going on.
Time goes on. It seems like everything’s normal now, but there’s something… off. You’re barely there anymore. I ask if you want to talk about it but you tell me you’d rather fuck me. That’s what you need right now. My body will do. And I consent. Anything to make you happy. It used to be my words that soothed you, my embrace, but now you want neither. That’s okay. This isn’t exactly what I wanted, but I’ll take it. You can fuck me. And you do. But there’s something hollow about it. You’re not the same. The love between us is gone. Even the friendship, it seems, has ended. I still care about you, I still want to be the one that’s there for you, but you… you seem to want the opposite. You want me silent, far away, unless we’re naked in your bed together. That’s the only way you’ll take me.
You start to fall in love with someone else and you tell me so. And it’s a stab to the chest. Do you want me to leave? I ask. You say no. You’re not sure yet. You want me to stay for the time being, even though you’ve made it clear that we’re done. I feel used. I wonder if you ever did love me. I wonder if you took advantage of me. You knew that I loved you. Did you exploit that for a free serotonin boost? Did that make you feel better at least? Because if it didn’t, well fuck, wasn’t that a waste on both ends? I spiral out of control. Now I’m the one clinging on to you, wondering what I did wrong, feeling like I want to die because my hurt, my anger, my confusion is too overwhelming to handle. I loved you, I loved you. How was that not enough for you?
They say love is being selfless but I start to wonder if I went in too hard. If I ended up forsaking my own well-being for yours instead. You seem better now. Happy, even. I guess I ended up fixing you after all, but what happened to me? I’m the one in shambles now, and despite my quiet pleas, it seems you don’t want to save me from sinking.
I realize that this is who I am. This is what I do. I care too much. I love, and I love hard. All I want to do is make you better, but I’m starting to wonder if killing myself in the process is worth it. If you’re worth it.
This is who I am. But this doesn’t have to happen anymore.
You call me and you ask me to come over. You miss me. You miss my warmth in your bed. You say I’m the one you want in this moment. Please, I can’t leave you hanging.
No. I have to say no. It’s hard, but I can’t keep doing this anymore. I know you don’t love me. I know you’re not going to love me again. I have to let go. And I’m going to miss you. And I’m sorry. And I love you. I still love you. But this has to end.
This has to end.