I got your letter. I also got your apologies and everything I could have ever wanted from you that you never gave me before. But as you said yourself, you were the girl that was too late.
I want to say that another her has come along already and taken your place. I want to say she proved to be The One, the happy ending to my story — but I’m not there yet. Since you, there have only been a series of girls who simply were not you. I’m not complaining.
But you came back. You told me I was nothing but good to you. You gave me apologies and thank yous I never expected to get. It was everything I knew I deserved, if just the least was what you were willing to give me.
I want to desperately tell you I’m different now, but it would be the biggest lie I ever told. See, I’m the nice guy. I always will be. You gave me darkness and I’m still breathing lights. Even you couldn’t change that.
I didn’t demand to be loved because I was nice. In fact, I think I loved you most when you didn’t love me at all. After all, we always want the things that never want us back. I was real and real was something you never wanted. You didn’t want this, you didn’t want that. I did. Maybe that’s why we ran back and forth on the field for so long. You never wanted to give me anything, but I never asked for anything either.
Nice guys don’t say, “You have to love me because I’m nice and do nice things for you.” Nice guys just are. I’m not saying I deserve more than the next guy does. All I’m saying is that even the nice guy is human. His feelings exist and every time you choose to leave and every time you choose to come back, you’re breaking him a little more.
I think I just wanted you to be different, outside of the inevitable human clause known as life. I think you just wanted me to be different, too. We just couldn’t be. At the end of the day, we were both humans filled with the chaos of reality and dreams. The ifs and buts, the yeses and the nos. We were no special case. We were ordinaries in constant search for the something more.
It’s funny, because you fell in love with the nice guy. I idealized chivalry. I gave you my handkerchief. I opened doors for you and you hated it, but there was a smirk on your face every time you allowed me to do so anyway. Remember that time you told me I was the only one who got you to say I love you when you couldn’t anymore? I’m glad you’re still saying it now, even though it isn’t for me.
You apologized. For the first time, you gave me the truth. I wish I were bitter for it or even remotely close to the definition of angry. But if I were, then someone else would have to go through the test of loving one who no longer wants love. I’m not god and that’s not a lesson I’m willing to try to teach. I don’t want to grow hard because hard did me dirty, nor do I want anyone else to understand the pain that comes with loving too much.
So I said thank you, and I asked for my best friend back. I didn’t and couldn’t want anything else. We knew everything about each other; life didn’t feel okay for me when we didn’t. Then you came back and suddenly I felt like the history was repeating itself. After all, I loved you. There isn’t a mountain I wouldn’t climb to make a single wish of yours come true — but that’s the problem. You know this and you always will until I make sure you don’t anymore.
People say the nice guy goes through hell and no longer is the nice guy. If I’m still standing here, can people finally admit they’re wrong? That not everyone reacts the same? You were the girl that chose anything that strolled along as an option over me and still I’m standing here telling you, anyone would be lucky to have you.
But this isn’t our story. It’s the story of Ted and Robin and its takes a whole damn 9 seasons to be told. How could I or you or anyone stand before Season two looking for the series finale?
But what if this is our story and I change the names around? We’re both still kids running around the same big city, chasing mediocre dreams with the hopes of skyscrapers taking our names.
The story doesn’t really change then, does it? I just haven’t reached my ending. I told you once that I was nice and the nice guy promises to always finish last. I’m nowhere near the finish line, and quite frankly, I no longer want to win. I want to stay the same through heartbreak and all else. I am the nice guy because I want to be. I’m okay with finishing last. Part of me wants to because I know anything before is something unattainable until then.
I’ve realized that as much as life can resemble a movie or TV show, it is and cannot be realistic. Our lives are no show. There is no predetermined script for us to work off of. We simply have the choices we make and how it is we choose to make them.
But if given the opportunity to have my life be a show in more than just a metaphor, I wouldn’t hope for the finale. But there could be a different storyline here. The story about the girl that knew the entire time, she would be foolish to ever let me go. See, Ted always gave Robin the world. Tracy was the one who gave him the world. I’d be damned to let go of that when I have it.
You were right, the nice guy will always be rooting just for you, even when the rooting won’t bring you back to him. I root for your happiness, nothing more, and nothing less. This is what makes me yours. This is what makes you mine.
So yes, I got your letter. I know you wrote it to warn future too-laters but I got it. And as you said yourself, you were the girl that was too late. I wish with everything in me the story was different, but it isn’t because you still are and always will be the girl that is too late.