When You Fall In Love With Someone Who Can’t Love You Back

margot pandone
margot pandone

Everything is going to hurt.


You think maybe it’s from sleeping on your Craigslist couch every night. Seriously, it’s fucking uncomfortable. You’ll consider going to your bed, but there’s something too official about it. Your bed means you’re going to try to sleep. And you know you can’t sleep these days.

Pain will radiate from your back, spreading itself like tree branches into your chest, your arms, your legs. You will turn on the TV to distract yourself and one of those fucked up “depression hurts, but you don’t have to” commercials will come on. You will want to throw your water bottle at the screen. But you hurt too much for the energy that would require. You hurt all the damn time. You think that maybe you should get a prescription for Cymbalta.

He has used the word friend towards you 10 times in one night. You are his friend. You are his buddy. You are his bro. You think you might throw up. You haven’t thrown up since you were 6 years old, but your stomach feels like it’s being repeatedly punched. You are like a rat in a psychology experiment. You are becoming conditioned to feel sick at the word friend. Friend. All you start to hear is end. There is no beginning to what you want. It’s already the end.

You sit on the bottom steps outside your apartment building as he drives away. You are holding a flower he gave you. It didn’t mean anything. None of it ever does. You think about how much you wanted to kiss him and start to silently cry alone, on those bottom steps. You must look like a college cliche. You are tipsy, crying because you like a boy so much. You hate yourself a little for how easily the tears stream down your cheeks.

Don’t convince yourself he looks at you the way you look at him. You can feel yourself inch closer in your seat and lean so hard on your elbows to be near him, that you wake up the next day with bruises on them. He goes to bed with bruises on his heart from the woman he still loves. You don’t even know her, but you kind of want to hate her. You hate that you hate a human being you’ve never met. You hate that he’s ever cried over her. And you still cry over him.

You will practice what to say to him. Maybe start with, “Hi, I think I’m falling hopelessly in love with you and the idea of just being friends actually makes my body physically hurt.”

No, that won’t work.

You try, “Heyyy, buddy! Quick thing, could you maybe actually stop calling me buddy? Because every time you do, it’s like little pieces of my heart are breaking off. Okay, greaaat, thanks!”

You want to laugh at how pathetic you seem. You are some melodramatic romantic comedy. But you can’t be promised your happy ending. You make a joke to yourself about massage parlors. “If I hurried, I could get a happy ending right now!” You don’t even laugh. You used to laugh at the quirky running monologue in your head, but your chest feels too heavy now.

Someone once told you that love is as much about timing as it is about who you fall in love with. But you hate timing. You’ve never had enough time. You run out of time with everything you love. But maybe that’s just part of life. You wonder if it would be stupid or symbolic to throw away every clock you own. You decide probably just stupid.

You look at his name in your phone and try not to see his perfect face alongside it. You hover above the delete button and wonder if it would make things easier. Would you delete him from your life with one click?

You don’t. You can’t. Instead, you re-read text message threads and think about sending him a message.

After holding your heart in your throat for about 20 minutes, your fingers break the silence for you. You’ve never really noticed how large the gaps in between them feel before. He’s closed those gaps once before with his fingers. You can’t remember what it felt like now.

You finally construct the perfect message. The one that will say everything you’re burning to tell him. The one that will lift this heaviness from your chest, this breathlessness from your lungs.

“Hey.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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