I said, These weeks together – the food, the talking, the walking – it has been everything. If the rest of my life were eating pasta by your side, staring at the sea, that’d be some life.
I said, four years ago I wasn’t brave enough to tell you. Two years ago when we met again, I missed my chance. But now – I’m telling you: I love you.
He said: I want to do this properly. I want a partner, a wife. Let’s go slow. Be deliberate.
I trusted him.
He never tired of telling me how much he adored me. Respected me. That I was his pedestal girl, his reference point, the one whose opinion counted more than all others. And when somebody makes you feel like the most important cheerleader in their life, you want to step up to that. Play the part. Oh, you think this is supportive? I’ll show you how goddamn supportive I can be.
The river wept when Narcissus drowned, because in his eyes its own beauty was reflected.
In his eyes, I saw my best self.
Perhaps that is what I fell in love with.
We’ve never even kissed. I always forget to mention that part. All of this and we’ve never even kissed – but he has made me orgasm before. Once, when we first met, many years ago. There was another time when he went down on me, too, about a month ago, but I didn’t come. I was all in my head, couldn’t relax. I wanted a union of souls – not a fuck. That’s unusual for me. It was unnerving. We didn’t talk about it afterwards. I should’ve known then.
(I did know then.)
(I ignored it.)
In so many ways, I am weighed down by a nameless, heavy guilt, because I feel like I betrayed him by falling in love with him. I fought to love him – right from day one, I elbowed my way into his heart, despite his best attempts to prove that he wasn’t worth my time.
I made him worth it.
I contorted myself into the shape of confidante and adviser. Mirror. Demanded his trust and took advantage of every opportunity to prove myself to him. Look, I’d say, with my actions, because he can’t ever seem to hear words. Look. I will catch you again and again and again.
And then I told him to jump and let him fall.
Because I was tired.
Because I didn’t want to catch him any more.
Because he didn’t love me back like I wanted him to.
I suppose I imagined, after all that we’d been through, that he’d recognise that courage, that bravery, how difficult it is to swallow one’s pride and say, “I see that you don’t love me back, but I have to release this to you anyway.”
He’s not talking to me now.
That’s the biggest shattering of all – the grandest illusion broken.
I thought enough of him to fall, and enough of him to trust that I could tell him the deepest, scariest part of me.
But he didn’t rise to it how I thought he might.
How I hoped.
I’m left with radio silence.
I don’t understand how he can leave me here, stood with my heart in my open hands, and tell me that I’m the one who fucked up.
“You know he isn’t your equal, don’t you?” she said to me, gently and without judgment, over the phone. “He is lovely, such a good man, but he isn’t your equal.”
I thought about it. As his cheerleader and confidant, pillow talker and nurturer, he didn’t ever meet me halfway. I gave maybe 80%. 85%. 90%. I thought that demonstrated my Ability To Love Wholeheartedly. It never occurred to me that it was so radically unbalanced, Committed To Loving as I was.
“But then,” I said. “I meant it. I really fucking meant it. I’m ready. Now. I’m ready for my guy. If it isn’t him, the one I felt so very much for, who is it? Where is my one?”
She giggled. “Baby gurl, I don’t know where he is, but I do know this: that bastard is going to have to weather goddamn gale force winds with somebody like you, and that’s going to take somebody pretty special. It’s going to take your equal.”
It hurt to think I could have been so wrong when I felt so right, but my friend – my dear, honest, friend, was absolutely right. This man, the one I was head over heels for, he can’t withstand my hurricane.
Hell, he stumbled in the breeze.