Some loves have a way of grabbing ahold of you like no other. An unstoppable force of beauty, like staring into a bursting orange sunset even though it hurts your eyes. Mine wasn’t a schoolyard crush, but rather a thirteen year love triangle. I knew it would inevitably end badly, but couldn’t let him go. I used to call him “ the one who got away” before I finally came to understand that this doesn’t exist.
There is always a reason when it comes to love and matters of the heart.
Some people come into your life and for unexplainable reasons, you instantly click. The connection is like a magnetic force pulling you together when it doesn’t make any sense. The chemistry is so strong that you can sense when they enter a room without having to turn around. Your heart races and stomach flips with even their slightest touch. And the sex will be your gold standard haunting your for the rest of your fucking life with any new partner.
At first it was infatuation, but then we started to grow up. Silly arguments while drunk in bars turned into deeper conversations about relationships, always tiptoeing around the truth if we had significant others. Sometimes, in the middle of night when I laid next to him, he would ask why we couldn’t be together. As much as I loved him, I knew that we would be a dating disaster. He was the male version of me. I liked having the comfort of having him at arm’s reach, usually when I was fighting with my boyfriend and he was there without judgement, always appreciating me for being myself, and the feeling was reciprocal. I treaded lightly, careful not to ruin the good we had going, however you wanted to define it.
For a few years we went our separate ways, and I was genuinely happy to see him moving on in a serious relationship. I was doing the same. Although we never said it, the unconditional love was still there, just buried down deeper, as adults have to do at times. Everyone told me that you can’t be friends with someone of the opposite sex that you’ve slept with. I begged to differ. For a long time, we respected boundaries while still being present in each other’s lives.
He was the first person I dialed when driving myself to the hospital after I had an awful fight with my boyfriend. It must have been a flashback to the night in college when he was by my side in the ER on New Year’s eve after a drunken fall on ice. But I quickly hung up after realizing this was my own mess. We weren’t in college anymore, and there was no sense dragging him in it while sound asleep next to her.
A month later we met up for a drink to catch up. When he walked me to my car, he grabbed my waist and pulled me close for a kiss. I remember it was the first time I pushed away from him, even when I didn’t want to. He was engaged now, and when I asked what he was doing, he replied: “but it’s you.” Cheating never counted when it was between us. It was some rule that once we started, it no longer felt wrong. But in that moment, I finally wanted more.
I thought, how heartbreakingly beautiful that dickhead is as I drove away; emotions scattered everywhere. And shame on me for allowing it to escalate.
Maybe, just maybe, I pondered for a short while that this was our chance.
Instead, he married her. I was angry at him for leading me on for a long time and wished his marriage would fail as revenge for breaking my already fragile heart. As time passed, I let go.
And so, “the one who got away” was officially gone. As time passed, I realized when someone isn’t truly yours from the start, then you really have nothing to lose. But what you will gain is even better, and that is standing strong, grounded in the fact that when love truly comes along, it will finally be easy for once, the timing fits into your life effortlessly, and it will always…always choose you.