You never think about that at the beginning, when every word they say makes you smile and just the sight of their name on the screen of your phone makes your heart beat twice as fast. There is something in the way that they hold your hand and trace little circles on your palm. But you know you can’t hold on forever. You’re prone to getting swept up in romantic notions sometimes, despite how much you try to come off as a hardass. The way that some people just click is a miracle — it’s something that makes you believe in magic just a little bit.
There’s no logical reason why some people can make you feel so much when so many other great people have made you feel nothing at all.
You will notice that things are falling apart when you start to cling to them. It happens little by little, but suddenly you find yourself tip-toeing around where you used to play freely. You’ll notice it when you start to carefully craft your texts again, neat little quips taking the place of the stream of consciousness messages that you used to send them throughout the day. There is no particular reason, no big moment that you can look back and say “that was it!” That makes it worse, really, because if you don’t know what’s wrong, it could be a hundred little things. Maybe you use too many emojis. Maybe you shouldn’t have called them six times when you were drunk in the city that one night. Maybe your jokes aren’t that funny. Maybe you’re too standoffish when you should be more affectionate — maybe he doesn’t even know that there is a thing that is crumbling around you.
In the in-between stage, you can change their minds. You can be pretty and charming and funny and you can remind them what they liked about you in the first place. This is where things get really bad, because the doubt will cripple you. Every conversation with your friends becomes double-speak, venting about everything they’ve said and done and what they really meant. You can’t commit to leaving them behind when you still have one foot in the door, shaky as it is.
It will dawn on you that you cannot change a mind and, furthermore, that you shouldn’t have to.
And just like that, it changes again. You can know, intellectually, that you deserve to be treated well and that there are plenty of fish in the sea and blah blah blah, but that doesn’t mean anything until it settles in under your skin.
You can talk to them without that grasping, yearning feeling, because there’s a part of you that has finally realized it’s grabbing at nothing. If it’s over. It’s over. It frees you up to a world of possibilities, of full weekend plans because there’s no one to leave your schedule clear for just-in-case, of interesting and attractive people that maybe you will date but maybe you won’t, of stories that you can write because you don’t have to worry about what they would say or how they would make them feel. It’s not liberation, per se — there’s still a part of you that might wish things were different — but it’s peace. You can rest easy, because you did what you could.
You were faithful to the sparks that you felt, and maybe the real miracle wasn’t clicking, but that you could feel that way about someone and then gracefully let it go, holding out hope that you’ll feel that way again.