“There’s just one thing I want to clear up, though,” he said with a grave tone, “I am not interested in a serious relationship.”
“Neither am I,” she proudly replied. The best part about it was that she was being completely honest. The guy’s face couldn’t conceal his surprise, though he didn’t look disappointed. Yeah, she thought, I have way more important things to focus on than on starting a relationship.
It was the first time any guy had ever said something of that nature to her, yet somehow it didn’t hurt her feelings. Instead, she felt glad. For once, she wouldn’t have to decipher signs trying to figure out exactly what a guy wanted. See, some women have an annoying tendency to overanalyze every little detail, the girl included. With the cards laid out on the table, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
In her mind, relationships were distractions which inevitably led to heartbreak. She was about as interested in breaking her own heart or someone else’s as she was in calculus. Her heart had already been broken once, and it was an experience she was not willing to repeat. Ever. Someone else’s heart had also suffered in her hands, and the guilt plagued her for months. Both ends of the heartbreak spectrum sucked, in her opinion. What was worse is that we are all, at one point in our lives, either the heartbreaker or the heartbreakee.
This arrangement was mutual and clear. No feelings would be involved on either side, and she could just quit whenever she wanted, which was probable considering the plans she had for herself in the upcoming months. A boyfriend just did not fit in her life, nor was she willing to make room for one.
Weeks passed, and this guy and girl continued hanging out. Together, they did things she had never done with another guy. The two shared an interest in culture and a passion for food, so they visited the city’s best museums and indulged in decadent dishes. It seemed as if they never ran out of good conversation. With him, she laughed at her own foolishness disregarding what he thought because it didn’t matter. She could be herself with him, for she knew they weren’t heading towards a relationship. The knowledge of this led her to unveil all of her virtues and defects one by one to him.
As it often happens in these types of stories, all it took was one instant to completely change everything.
“Hope you’re having a great first day of school! ☺,” he texted. Her heart inadvertently sped up. This isn’t part of our arrangement, she thought in a panicked frenzy. Casual daters were not supposed to care how each other’s days went, or were they?
Suddenly, she was her old, overanalyzing self again. Everything he said or did was up for analysis in her mind. What did he mean, ‘Today was fun’? Why did he open the car door for me? Why did he just smile? The poor guy was under constant scrutiny, and she felt herself losing her cool.
It was as if that simple text message had turned on a switch inside her head. No matter how hard she tried, she just could not turn it off.
And then she was scared.
Scared of how his gaze made her knees buckle. Scared of how she found herself wanting to share stories about her day with him. Scared of how her lips deliciously burned with each of his kisses.
Yet the scariest part of all was also the simplest: he made her laugh.
Whether they were out or she was driving by herself, all she had to do was think of their times together and she would laugh. This, above all else, scared her.
One night, they had an honest conversation about what each wanted for their individual futures. With no hesitation, she told him her dreams. Inviting him to share her dreams was as mindless as penning them on a piece of paper only she could read.
“You gave my life direction,” he said after a long pause.
It was then she realized he had unveiled his virtues and defects to her just as she had done to him. They were both vulnerable to each other. Yet somehow, she was no longer scared. In his eyes, she saw everything she needed to know, as cheesy as that may sound. For once, she did not overanalyze. She did not think about how long it would last or if it would hurt once it ended. Instead, she enjoyed that moment with him while all her doubts vanished. Right then and there, they were both happy. Nothing else mattered.
What they both learned from each other is that it takes more bravery to risk getting hurt than it does to hide your heart behind barriers. It didn’t matter which title they had given their relationship; from the beginning they had bared themselves to each other. Just because they had been in denial about their status, it didn’t make them any less serious. We fail only ourselves when we refuse to take risks once in a while.
Society has taught us to guard ourselves from possible heartbreaks. While we should always be careful with our hearts, we shouldn’t keep ourselves from the immense gratification opening up to someone can bring. Just the thought of sharing your days, your thoughts, and your emotions with another human being who understands what you are going through can make the turmoil of life easier to handle.
Life has a funny way of proving to us we want something we didn’t know we wanted in the first place. We just have to make sure we listen to what it has to say, for it often knows more than we do.