When you meet a boy with deep-set eyes and stubbly cheeks, don’t ask him if he has a girlfriend. There’s a girl in his phone with hearts next to her name, and you know better than to misunderstand what those hearts mean. Don’t ask him, just understand. He will never be yours.
When he tries to get to know you, don’t think for a second that your walls will keep him out. Go ahead, tell him that you “don’t like talking about yourself.” See how long that lasts. But when he’s the first person to ever ask you if you felt safe when you lost your virginity, don’t pretend you don’t want to pour your whole soul out into his soft hands in an achy, and overdue “no.”
When he makes jokes about how you look, don’t flinch. Sometimes they’ll be nice and sometimes they’ll be mean. You know that even the mean ones are nice deep down. Don’t tell him that all you want is for him to think you’re beautiful. You deserve to want more than that.
When he takes you home to his family, you’ll be proud that his mom loves you. You’ll wonder if she says that the mysterious girl in his phone is “absolutely precious” too. You have a feeling she doesn’t. Don’t let yourself believe that feeling matters. It doesn’t matter now and it won’t matter four months from now when your head is on his chest, and the soft touch of his fingerprints are making circles on your hip.
He’s drunk. You’re not. Don’t let yourself forget this.
Meet his girlfriend. Officially call her his girlfriend. Friend her on facebook.
When he starts meeting you for breakfast every morning, try not to remember his favorite foods. Try not to notice the way he sips his tea, and don’t even think about going home to write down his favorite things. One night you’ll wake up from a dream about the two of you. Know that you will never be the one bringing him a cup of white peach with one pack of sugar in the morning, and you will never be the delicate bird of a wife he pulls against his naked chest. You won’t ever belong in his sheets. It was just a dream.
Don’t shake when his hands start thinking they belong on you. Don’t let your breaths get caught in your diaphragm. Don’t breathe when you’re around him.
It will start when he’s drunk, but it won’t end there. It will be gentle touches on the small of your back when he doesn’t want to lose you in a crowd and then it will be words that he thinks you can decipher on your spine. You’ll want him to touch you. Remember that he can’t.
Wonder why that doesn’t stop him.
Be in love with someone else. Neglect to mention that you’ve been in love with someone else this whole time. Don’t bother to write out that your special someone is his best friend. Don’t stop to wonder whether you mean more to him than his best friend does. Don’t ask yourself whether you love him more than you love the boy who you’ve been fucking when you’re sad. That boy’s got promise and he’s got his sights set on marrying you. Don’t ruin something good for someone you can’t have.
When he casually tells you that he doesn’t love his parents and that the first time he had sex he didn’t mean to over bowls of cinnamon oatmeal, resist every urge in your body to hold him. He’s not yours to hold. When he tells you that girls are cruel and that his feelings scare him, don’t tell him you won’t hurt him. You’re an idiot. You’ve already hurt him so irreparably that the shots you’ve sent firing into him will reverberate in the hollows of his bones for a long time after you’re gone. Remember that one day you’ll be gone, and he’ll be gone too. He will not be yours to miss.
Don’t waste your time going through his girlfriend’s facebook page, and don’t compare yourself to her. You already know you’re prettier than her, you don’t need to tear her apart. It’s mean and it’s not helping anyone. It won’t make him love you. It won’t make him not love her. Ask yourself why it matters. Realize that it doesn’t. Love her on some sick level for making him happy because that’s what you want after all. Even when you hate her, love her. Love her because she makes him feel less alone. Love her because he deserves that.
And when you wake up in the middle of the night in someone else’s armss and realize that you need him, don’t cry. You’ll ache, and you’ll wonder why this is happening to you. You’ll wonder why you’re not enough, and why you do this to yourself.
Shake it off, hold yourself together, and don’t think that you’re in love.
You deserve better than that.