To The Boy Who Never Loved Me Back

Flickr / Nicola Romagna
Flickr / Nicola Romagna

Dear Boy,

You shall forever be known as boy to me because we met in our sophomore year of high school. Though your hairline is higher, the corners of your light brown eyes lined and your stomach softer you will always be a boy to me.  If I close my eyes while listening to your laugh I can see still us driving around our hometown, with nowhere to be other than with each other. 

I always knew I liked you. Despite a years long relationship with a great man, I knew deep down that I had lingering feelings, unresolved feelings towards the boy who calls me his best friend.  

I shoved them deep inside though. I crushed them down with every ounce of my being, trying my best to stomp out the flame and ignore the burning ache in the pit of my stomach every time my Facebook dinged.  

Our conversations always flowed naturally. Like the waves lapping the shore I was drawn to you again and again despite my resistance. This I knew. This I chalked up it to “best friendship,” trying to live in the same world as you where those hours that felt like minutes meant nothing. 

It wasn’t until today that I realized the horrifying truth. After a week together I simply couldn’t fight it any longer. The blazing feeling in my stomach was too much and I succumbed, charred and burnt and defeated. I love you. 

I love you in that sad, heartbreaking place where only unrequited love can exist. I love you in the way where I can see us growing old together, when that small patch of gray starting at your temple would someday steal your chestnut locks and I would love you even more. I would love you in the way a small child loves the night sky, finding new and interesting ways to be amazed every day, never tiring of experiencing all it has to offer. I would love you in the way you always say you’re looking for but don’t want to see in me.

And so I try really hard not to love you this way because I love you enough to know you can’t have me in your life as more than a friend. Despite all my wanting and desiring you won’t see me any other way. As you said the other night while we laid in bed together,  high off the energy of traveling for fourteen hours and still somehow having more to say, “Attractive girls don’t get friendzoned.”

Did you realize the irony of your words? Did you realize how they cut me to core, like knife upon my heart dragging a slow and deep rift?

I want to think you didn’t.  I want to think that perhaps you are too dumb to even realize what you do to me, although you are definitely not blind enough to realize the fault in our stars. Simply put my thighs are too wide, the tags of my jeans have too many digits and once again my stomach betrays me, this time in its size. 

So when you dropped me off at the airport today and I felt that familiar prick of sadness behind my eyes my soft stomach plummeted. I realized in the most bitter way that I loved you. I didn’t just like you anymore. This was the kind of love where I knew I would miss you so much I was going to cry. After an unbelievable amount of time together I still wasn’t ready to be without you.

I thought perhaps this week would be good for me, that being together this long would surely wear on my feelings and corrode them back into safer water, the friendship zone.  It was the opposite. The more time we spent together, the more perfectly we clicked and the more I found myself clinging to some deluded hope of something more.

I don’t want to do this to you, not after all we’ve been through but I’m not sure there’s any other way. While it’ll hurt me, I’m more sorry that it’ll hurt you and I’m most sorry that I’m too much of a coward to give you an explanation.  I suppose I don’t want to ruin your fantasy that you had found a girl who was funny and great and who got you like no one else, a girl who you could spill your secrets to and have adventures with and the best part was you’d never have to deal with the hard parts like holding her chubby hand in public. There was someone else for that. Like a vulture picking at a carcass, you could choose the best parts and leave the rest to some poor schmuck who she could never give her whole self to as a result.

Along with the realization that I love you comes another painful truth; I can’t do this anymore. I won’t ruin your fantasy world and tell you that our friendship has always been a lie but the thought of going on like this for infinity makes my ample stomach churn. I can’t be half yours and half his. I have to make a choice and since someday you will meet a girl you’ll want to show off to the world and I won’t even be an afterthought, I can’t pick you.  

An equally bitter pill to swallow is the knowledge that you wouldn’t want me to. You don’t secretly love me.  You don’t want to fight for me in any way. You just want to keep me as a placeholder until the real winner comes along. I used to think this was malicious. I used to think of you as cruel but I’m finally at a place when I know you can’t help it. You can’t make yourself fall in love with me any more than I can make myself stop loving you. 

And it’s ok. You won’t get it but you have to let me go. I’m sorry for doing this and I’m sorry for loving you. I wish I couldn’t and I wish you could. So I’m breaking up with you today in the only way it applies, as I sit in the airport and head back to the man who loves me and never wanted to be my friend.  We can’t talk anymore. We can’t hang out anymore. We can’t have anymore blurry-lined adventures where your hand gently grazes my knee as you reach for fourth gear and you throw your arm around me in the rain. My poor, battered heart can’t take it. I’m too old and too tired to live in your world anymore. We have to end now so maybe I can leave boys behind once and for all. 

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