I played this scene in my head, over and over again.
I went over the different endings, knowing which ones were reality and which ones were fantasies. And here I was, finally able to accept reality. I did everything I could to scare him away, hoping that he would leave. Him leaving would mean I would not fall in love with him. Him leaving meant I did not have to be vulnerable. But here he was.
I stood there, getting ready to test him for the last time.
“I am in love with you.”
I could see the wheels turning in his head, I knew what would come next.
“I am not ready for a relationship.”
There it was.
It hurt less than I imagined. I probably softened the blow by playing this scene over and over again in my head. I felt the tears start to form. I closed my eyes hoping that he wouldn’t see. I felt his eyes look over my face realizing I was holding back tears. I could feel his demeanor drop as he knelt on the side of the bed. I knew he felt pain knowing he was the cause of my tears. I was hoping he wouldn’t notice, I didn’t want to cause him any pain. He wrapped his arms around my waist as I sat at the edge of my bed, my eyes still closed focusing on holding back my tears. His head rested on my chest in uncertainty, not knowing what would happen next.
I felt his worry, he understands he might lose me tonight.
I pushed him away, told him I needed my space so I could fall out of love with him, told him that we could be friends but not now, not while I was in love with him. Instead, I sat there, focusing on holding back my tears. But, there was no way to avoid the inevitable. A tear streamed down my face. I quickly wiped it away hoping I would catch it before he could see it. But as I lifted my hand to my face, I knew he knew what I was doing.
I wiped up the last of my tears and smiled. We did it. I was finally able to tell him how I feel and he was finally able to do the same.
Now I had to decide. Stay or leave? As logical as it felt for me to end the story here, tell him to leave and start the process of falling out of love with him, there was something about the way he held me; the way he looked at me while knowing I was in pain.
He cared about me, as more than just a friend. More than he was expecting to. I was just as much of a surprise in his life as he was in mine. Neither of us were planning to fall for each other. I took a slow deep breathe in as if the extra oxygen would help me make the best decision.
As we sat there, I knew he was sad that he was not ready for anything more. Not now at least. I finally exhaled, letting the sound of my breathe linger in the air.
What do I want? This was the question I had to answer. I finally opened my eyes, another tear ran down my face, but this time, I let it be. He lifted his head from my chest as if knowing I had finally opened my eyes. I could feel the hurt he felt as he realized a few more tears had left my eyes. We stared at each other, wondering what was to come next.