I had finally done it. I had gotten you to make plans with me after trying for weeks on end to spend merely but a couple hours with you. All the pathetic attempts of putting myself on your radar had worked. Not that I wasn’t on your radar, I mean, we talked everyday. It was only a matter of time before you came back to my door. We were to spend an evening watching the newest highly rated Rotten Tomatoes film that was released. Like me, you enjoy films that most others haven’t heard of.
We had come a long way from seeing each other every day. I knew you didn’t want to be with me, and I had always appreciated that honesty. You had your issues and I was left fighting my own demons in my now lonely apartment. I accepted it. I was determined to stay busy living a life that did not include you in it. Sure, you had become one of my best friends, which we could’ve predicted to end badly. We had become vulnerable with one another for a period of time that I only wish everyone could experience in their life. And it was fine. I told myself it was fine, I was fine.
Although you were no longer staying over or putting me to sleep with your kisses, I’d still see you. The distance between our elbows on my couch became further apart as we would continue to binge watch our favorite Netflix originals. We were friends even though I longed for your playful touch that led to us staying up until 2am. Other times we’d interrupt the shows by our conversations. I missed those nights, but here you still were insisting on staying in my life in some way. We were further apart, but you were still there. And I allowed it.
We made our way to the theatre down the street from my house. We talked about our recent adventures from the day that led us to where we were in that moment. You proceeded to get us snacks to indulge in as we were taking in the astonishingly perfect soundtrack-led movie that would be fit for any road trip across the country. Ironically, that is what the two love birds in our choice of film had planned to do at some point. Run away and never look back. It is a plot fit only for a movie. This is real life.
You didn’t reach for my hand as I hoped, but I knew we were just friends and could never expect you to do that. We both knew we shouldn’t blur any lines. The walls that you built became frail, however, they remained between you and I like ruins of a time long before us.
It was a lengthy movie that was soon over before it started. As we made our way toward the exit, we discussed the clever take on lyrics that were placed throughout the introduction of the title that blended in with the surroundings while our main character had his headphones in dancing through the city. We recalled moments that were at times inappropriate, yet, continued to laugh ironically. Distracted by talk of the ending that we wish wouldn’t have happened in a way that it did, you left your keys in the empty theatre. Not a single employee was to be found. We waited for a fellow patron to exit in order to make our way back in and proceed to find your lanyard that would get us out of the parking lot.
It was a scene suitable for an unexpected kiss to transpire. Searching through a blacked out theatre guided with the flashlights on our phones, we made our way through the rows of seats that we believed we were sitting in not long ago. A kiss didn’t happen. You didn’t pull me into your arms as you might have previously done. Perhaps you would have if circumstances didn’t leave an awkward tension filling the room that you could slice with our unspoken vow of friendship. It’s ok though, we were just friends now.
I exited the theatre making my way into the neighboring one where the lights remained on. There were your keys hanging on the armrest in a fashion that I would only have imagined you doing. I picked them up and headed out to where you were so we could make our way back to my home. It was late for both of us, yet we sat talking in your car in my parking lot. We talked about amusing things that had been happening in our lives or about my recent trip that I had made to California. It was fine. We were fine. But then it happened.
Not the long awaited kiss that I had wanted to happen as unexpectedly as it did the first time; you kissed me while I was in the middle of a sentence. Instead, you talked about her. The girl that you love. I had heard her name before. You spoke about her long before I ever had visions of you and I sharing a future. Her name was spoken less and less as we were on a path that I believed would lead to an actual “us”. I no longer thought she would be a topic of discussion.
You talked about your recent trip to a music festival that you had also attended another year with this same girl. This girl that you had gotten matching tattoos with. The girl that had a boyfriend yet continued to lead you to believe that there was a chance. I didn’t want to, but I was your friend. I should listen. I was surprised that blood did not begin to trickle down the sides of my neck at the mention of her name out of my ears. Each time it was said was piercingly worst than the last.
You spoke about how the festival was terrible. It was terrible because she spoke about her boyfriend and all the ways that he didn’t deserve her love. It was terrible because you told her how you didn’t want to hear about the negative ways that she felt about her current relationship. It was terrible because you had a real conversation with her that led to the realization that you would never be together. The girl you love wouldn’t love you.
I wanted to tell you that I was you in that moment. Here I was sitting with a man that I had imagined myself being with talking about a girl who he loved. I wanted to say the exact words that you did to her. Tell you how I don’t want to hear you talk about her. I wanted to say how fucked up it was that I was listening to you saying these things and shouldn’t have to hear another word. Instead, I kept quiet and took in the information as if it didn’t bother me. I could have gotten an Oscar nomination for that performance. Pretending as if I didn’t care that you were hurting me, again.
I suppose I had put myself in this situation. I knew I did it to myself. It’s why I didn’t say anything. I wanted to hope for love. It was the hopeless romantic ingrained in me. A little fool that often blinds my sense of reality. You and I had gotten uncomfortably comfortable with each other. We had conversations with sometimes too much substance translated into vulnerability. I didn’t walk away when you didn’t choose me. I stayed a friend that became hurt because you were pursuing someone else who was out of your reach all along. You didn’t choose me, so why did I continue to choose you?
Relationships are all too complicated. They seem easy enough when it starts out. You take interest in each other, so you go on dates. You do things together. You make plans to take day trips to another state. You think about how their best friend wants to meet you. You are delighted by the fact that his parents know who you are. Or spend nights in drinking beer and making each other laugh until the sun rises. You want to be with that person because even though the thought of liking someone is absolutely terrifying, you let yourself fall. The thought of not being with them is worse than the potential of getting hurt when landing at the bottom of the cliff that you began overlooking the moment they became a part of your life.
We don’t always want to let go of the hypothetical happiness that is created in our minds. It tends to be much easier said than done. In my case, it still is easier said than done. But let’s not kid ourselves. We shouldn’t attempt to be with someone that didn’t take the same chance on you that you were willing to take on them. Maybe we tell ourselves that they are refusing to accept something great. And that’s just it. Wouldn’t it be the person that didn’t chose us who is losing?
We are all, simply put, great. If someone decides not to take that chance on you, you deserve someone who will. We deserve someone who will recognize our greatness when it slaps them in the face. Why settle for anything less than that?