The Hardest Part Was Being Friends When I Still Wanted More

woman and man sitting on wheat field
Michael Easterling / Unsplash

You were Mr. Popular. I was, well, me. It was a chance encounter. A brief introduction. A friend of a friend. A quick hello. That was it. Imagine the shock when, shortly after, I heard some people say that you told them you were interested. In me. In me!!! Wait, in me??? Wait, what?

You did not make it difficult for me to fall in love with you. It just happened so fast. I feared it was all too good to be true but I really didn’t care. Each morning I woke up wondering if it was all just a dream. Every day remind me everything was real. And for a while there that was all that mattered.

You were a rollercoaster ride and soon enough the train that took me all the way up quickly dragged me down. Some days I was walking on clouds, some, I was bawling my eyes out. You gave me the feeling something was wrong even when all the words seemed right.

I was always on edge. I never got used to the hate stares. The whispers. The raised eyebrows. Random people coming up to me or talking to me interrogating me as is being liked by you was some crime. But because you said they don’t matter, I believed.

Until that day. The tipping point, the last straw. That day I saw you holding her hand. The day I decided, I am leaving some for myself. I told myself walking away was what was best for me. But the truth was I didn’t have much of a choice then, did I? A part of me had hoped you would realize what you lost and that you would run back to me. And although my pride said no, I knew my heart would say yes.

The next several months were hell. Picking up the pieces, moving on. Crying upon waking up, crying as soon as I got home from school. Crying myself to sleep.

The harder part was seeing you every day. Faking a smile when all I wanted was to cry. Being polite even when I had the right to curse. Trying not to run at the sight of you. Not showing any emotion at every mention of your name.

The hardest? The hardest was being friends with you when I still wanted more. Acting like we did not have a past. Saying hello when every hello reminded me of our goodbye. Feeling happy whenever I catch you looking at me, getting my hopes up and then being hit with that painful reality that, yes, you chose her. You are with her. Not me.

What’s not funny is that despite everything, I couldn’t get myself to hate you even if I had all the reasons to. I couldn’t get myself to stop crossing that line. I couldn’t stop being your friend. I told myself if I focused on the bad memories, I’d probably hate you enough to not want you in my life. But no matter how hard I tried, the good memories were all I could think about.

In the end, I realized it was easier to move on with love in my heart. I just had to continue living my life and let the love fade away on its own. Took a while but it eventually did. If I had tried moving on with anger and hatred, it probably would’ve taken longer because there would have been more emotions to get rid of.

In the end, I was thankful for the broken heart. For my first broken heart. Because despite the pain, I know my heart broke because I truly loved. And that love, it showed me how beautiful it can be. TC mark

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