It was a known fact that he was in love with her. The day she had finally given in and drunkenly hooked up with him was the best day of his life and we all knew it. The short time they spent hanging out was something he had wished for basically forever. Then she went away for a few months after, making it very clear that she wasn’t interested in a future with him. And then we happened.
I’d like to say it started out innocently, but it didn’t. It really started out in a dark bar in our college town. That’s where we started out, at least. And it was messy and complicated from the very beginning. He had hooked up with my best friend who was quite smitten with him. I had hooked up with his best friend who also felt strongly about me. We got drunk and finally confessed that we each had a thing for each other. The first time we kissed was right after that confession, in that dark bar.
We mutually decided, after getting the blessing from our best friends who were less than thrilled, that we would give us a shot. I knew from the beginning that I would get screwed in the end if I let myself get involved with him but I let it happen anyway. And for a few months, I was thrilled with my decision. It made the end of my college career better than I could have ever expected. I don’t remember a time that I felt so happy in my life. I was going to bed with him at night and waking up to him in the morning and spending all my extra time laughing with him and telling him stupid jokes and watching Netflix together. It was disgustingly cute in a way you hate to love. People just kept asking me when we were going to “make it official” and if he would ever be my boyfriend, but labels feel insignificant when you’re happy.
The night before graduation we discussed “us,” because we had become an “us” at this point, whether we meant to or not. We were both headed to our respective homes and decided that because of the distance, we would give ourselves a grace period to decide whether it was worth the work or not to stay together. If after this grace period we still felt the same way, we would slap a label on us and finally make it “official,” which meant that we would do everything exactly the same except I could use the word “boyfriend.” For the first time I felt like I could tell someone how I honestly felt, and those feelings were that I just wanted to be with him.
Graduation hit me like a ton of bricks. The week after graduation was the hardest week I’ve ever personally experienced. But he was there on the other end of my texts and snapchats, trying to pick me up and tell me that things really were going to be okay, I would find a job and our group of friends would all see each other. Everything was fine, he visited me once and nothing had changed, we were still just as happy.
It is now a month after the end of school, and she’s home from her trip. The nightmares have started. I am keeping myself up at night and waking myself up early from these anxiety-ridden dreams. I can’t even remember what happened in them, just that I’m waking up angry and nervous and whenever I think about them those feelings come back and I could easily throw up. I do admit that I did much of this to myself, but still it’s awful.
I still feel like I’m in second place, and that I could never compete with her and all I want is for him to feel about me the way he feels about her. Now is the time past the genuine happiness where I wish I would have paid a little bit more attention to the label, because he is not my boyfriend. If she wants him she can easily have him, and I’ll be left with nothing but memories and an inaccurate snapchat top 3.