Once upon a time, there was a girl who met a boy. Their eyes met across the room, past the crowd of people, and there was an instant realization of, “This is going to be something.” Cue the fireworks of passion and chemistry and laughter and charm. For a moment, it was ripped straight out of the pages of a fairytale. They slow danced around his bedroom to imaginary songs and fed each other french fries at a diner joint and for a brief second in time, it could have been an image of young love.
But you’ve heard this story before. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love and live happily ever after. No one ever talks about the story of boy meets girl, girl meets boy, and they almost fall in love, only to fall apart in the most casual way.
They don’t write enough songs about the ones that you almost loved. I wished that we had been the beginning of a future instead of just moments of the past. I wished that when you looked at me, you didn’t just see the gaps of your vision. But more than anything, I wished that there was more to you to love than the person I so desperately wanted you to be. We never loved each other for who we were, but we hated each other for who weren’t.
The proud parts of us, more dominant than we’d ever admit, wanted us to work out of sheer desperation. It should have. It could have. It didn’t.
In the end, I think we always knew that this was just more of a stop than a destination. I believed in the concept of true love at any cost, and you wanted the image of rosy domesticity in the easiest ways. I wanted a career of travel and adventure and change, where you ever wanted to settle for comfortable familiarity and control. We loved the parts of each other that matched up like jigsaw puzzles and torn up the edges that drove us apart. I loved your confidence and ambition; I hated your manipulation and expectations. You took my energy and thoughts, but wanted to discard my ideals and independence. I wasn’t enough for you and you were too much for me — we were a constant back and forth of maybe someday, but not today.
You weren’t the one for me, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering what if you had been.
If I had been wholly in love with — like the way that you wanted — would I still have been able to walk away?
Where we would be now, if we looked past the surface? Would our first kiss had been more than a drunken peck followed by a murmur of, “I think you’re going to be special.” Six months later, would we have been something more than the possibility of something instead of fizzling apart like we did? Even now, I never understood how two people could try so hard to find middle ground and still end up falling on thin ice.
Even now, I’ll wonder what it might have been like if I had jumped off the proverbial ledge with you. What would life had been like if I had found in it myself to love all the bits and pieces of you, rather than just the chunks that caught my eye? Where would we be now if there had been more to us than what we wanted to see?
In the end, our falling apart wasn’t a break through my heart. The world kept on spinning, even if we didn’t. How do you mend what’s not truly broken in the first place?
You nurse the paper cut wounds and think of the battles that you almost fought, thanking your lucky stars that this wasn’t the battlefield for you. You rest with the knowledge that someday, there will be someone that you’d fight all the monsters in the world for and jumping won’t be so scary after all.