Why Did You Even Text Me?

Kevin Dooley
Kevin Dooley

You text me at 2 AM. I’m already in bed with another guy. Still, the sight of your name on the screen of my phone is enough to jumpstart my heart in a way that he never could. You ask me to come over. I ask if that is a good idea. You respond that it is—that you’re single now. That has my attention. I don’t even bother to ask how recent this development is. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t been waiting for this moment since the day you started dating her. I never understood why you were with her in the first place, why you weren’t with me. We have so much in common. You get me in a way that no one else does—or at least that’s how it felt, right off the bat—and I’d like to think that I get you too.

So this news that you’re single now, coming to me on a Thursday night at 2 AM, has me creeping out of bed and putting my clothes back on, nervously checking over my shoulder that this other guy, the guy who is filling the space in my bed where you haven’t been in months, is still asleep. He is. Looking at him I feel nothing but regret now. I leave my apartment, closing the door as quietly as possible, walk down the long hallway to the front of my building and emerge into the freezing air. My hands shake from cold and nerves and excitement as I try to light my cigarette.

It’s only a short walk over to where you live, maybe 30 seconds. I’m there before my feet have time to get cold, before my cigarette is even halfway done. I walk up the stairs to your apartment and slip inside. Next thing I know I’m standing in your room and you’re undressing me, kissing me like you never have before, like I’m a huge breath of air after being underwater longer than you should. You carry me over to your bed.

It’s amazing. At least it is for me. I’d forgotten what it’s like to be with you, like my skin is on fire, like I’m finally home again, like everything in the universe is exactly where it should be. I haven’t let myself feel this way in a long, long time, so I’m not sure I remember: is this love?

Afterwards we lay there in your bed—my head on your chest, you arm around me, stroking my back—and we just talk. About anything, about everything. I’m not someone who is great at talking to people, but you make it seem easier than breathing. We talk until after 5 AM when you finally fall asleep. I have class in the morning, so I have to get up and leave, and it breaks my heart. I would stay here forever with you if I could. I try to be as quiet as possible, but part of me hopes that you’ll wake anyway, so I can get one more kiss goodbye. But you don’t wake up and before long I’m back at my apartment. I sleep on a chair in the living room because going back to my bed and sleeping next to him, this other guy, could never compare to what just happened between us.

Now it’s Saturday, two days later. It’s a beautiful day out, the best we’ve had in months, and I’m at a day party. There are maybe two hundred drunken people here, it’s chaos, but even through the sea of St. Patrick’s green I see you almost right away. I’m about to come over and say hi, but then I see her standing next you. She’s hard to miss, she really is beautiful. She walks away from you as I watch, and I think to myself that maybe she just came over to pick a fight with you. That could be possible, I tell myself. But I already know. And an hour or two later I see you walk off, holding her hand. It’s maybe the least affectionate gesture of any, but it takes all the wind out of me, because I know what it means. I want to sit down right there where I’m standing, but the party is still in full swing all around me. That’s probably the hardest part—having to put a smile on my face and pretend I’m having a great time for the next 20 minutes, until my friend finds me and says she’s ready to go.

On the walk back to our apartment I tell her what I saw, and being the good friend that she is, she immediately calls you a dick and tells me I deserve better than you. Is that true? I don’t think you’re a dick. Deep down I think maybe you’re just damaged like I am, fucked up beyond repair.  I can understand it, which is why I think we would fit so well.

But what you did was shady, there’s no denying it. Were you even broken up, or was that a lie? Why did you even text me? What did you want—what do you want—from me?  Were you thinking about her when you fucked me? When you held me? Did it make you feel anything like it did for me? Or were you just using me, because you needed to feel better about yourself, and because I was close by and you knew I would come over?  What gives you the right to treat people this way? Does she know what you did that night?

I don’t think you meant to hurt me—quite frankly I don’t think you took my feelings into account at all, which may be the worst part. You only thought about yourself. You were beyond selfish that night. And now, what am I left with? I’m mad. I’m mad at you, and madder at myself. Because you did hurt me, and I let you. I do have feelings. Feelings in the larger sense most definitely, because I’m a person just like any other, but feelings for you, too. Because I love you. I have for a long time now—more than a year, maybe more than two years. I loved you from the first time that we had sex, but I never told you. Like I said, I’m damaged. I was scared. I thought you were out of my league. But now I’m realizing, maybe I’m out of yours. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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