Life has a funny way of putting people on your path. You have your friends and acquaintances, who have been with you through rough and good times, who have listened to you and every detail of your life. You have the people you’ve seen around, who know you as that person at that party or remember a random act of kindness on your behalf.
Every now and then, however, you run into a person that is nothing like the others. No matter how your relationship begins, you can feel yourself growing into something that is also a part of them.
You spend endless days and countless nights talking, from your favorite movies and ice cream flavors to the time your hearts were broken and nothing could mend them. They become your comfort, your happiness, and your every thought. Anything will remind you of them; the bakery they love downtown, their favorite drink on a TV ad, a tweet you’re sure they will find hysterical.
Although you couldn’t possibly be any closer, you know that you could. Sometimes, life works out and you end up living your dreams with them next to you. Most of the time, however, things don’t go the way you wished them to. Sometimes, people can’t love you back the way you do.
It could be that there’s already someone in their life who makes them smile with their jokes and their crinkled eyes whenever they laugh. Maybe there’s no one, but you couldn’t be the one as they don’t perceive you that way. The timing is maybe not right. For one reason or another, they can’t love you back and the whole world becomes mute as it is the only thing that is resonating in your head.
It becomes harder to love them, even when they didn’t move an inch. Your conversations are still the same and everything feels natural, which is both a blessing and a curse. Every now and then, their words will strike the nerve that you repressed in hopes that you could stop loving them, but they only make you yearn for them even more, crave them every second.
You try to brush it off as just another comment, but you stay up through the night, lying in bed and thinking about what they said, how they said it, and how a fire lights in your stomach, making it impossible to breathe without the faint scent of their cologne coming to mind, the sound of their voice whispering secrets into your ear buzzing in your head.
It becomes harder to see the things that remind you of them. You take alternate routes to places you frequent because you want to avoid that bakery, knowing that you can’t go on dates there and hold hands while you talk over coffee. You can have all that, of course, but without the formality of dating, which leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
You don’t order that drink at the bar, even though the bartender knows it as your usual and you’ve grown to consider it a personal favorite, because it feels like you’re swallowing down every word they’ve ever told you, a haze clouding your head, making you think of them, only them, and nothing but them.
You begin to seek comfort in other things or people. You hang out with other friends that aren’t in their circle, because you don’t want to hear their name and what everyone has to say, as you know you wouldn’t be able to finish talking about them if you were to start. You don’t want to think about the conversations you’ve had; the last time you did, sleep was not an option as your mind milled through every compliment they’ve ever given you.
You begin to doubt them, looking to clarify their intent in saying something that could easily be the best thing you’ve heard in your life. Slowly, you begin to doubt everything, because your hope became the only thing that was keeping you and this relationship afloat.
Eventually, you cycle out of it. You are able to appreciate the things that made you love them once again without feeling like you’re running short on air every time you think about them. It feels better like this, knowing that you still have each other and that maybe, at some other point in time, you could blossom into something bigger than yourselves, together; this time, however, you know better than to expect it.
Over time, you order that drink again, you take them out to the bakery and it’s not nerve-wracking when you’re talking over pastries and the hours seem to fly without anyone else in mind. Someone else might come around and make you feel the same way, but you’re aware of how you feel because you’ve still not finished learning from the mistake of loving them when they couldn’t love you.