I’ll be the first to admit I was rather naive. Barely brushing 20 years of age with a crushing fear of even talking to the opposite sex. I hadn’t really been the type of girl to approach guys. So as a result, I didn’t have much experience in romantic matters. I wasn’t the girl who you would always see wearing her heart on her sleeve.
A friend had convinced me to join Tinder. “It’s easy this way” she insisted. I hesitated, at first. But quickly resolved that nothing more would come out of this than a few good laughs. I distinctly remember your picture. You came up on a few different days of my binge swiping, wearing purple. First impression: why is he pouting at the camera? Does he know how to smile? I swiped right, as I did with most others to see if they matched.
I messaged you with the intent of making a joke of it all. I didn’t realize how far we would go. Turned out, the joke was on me.
The joke was on me because I slowly began to fall for you. Before I had even realized it, I had begun to imagine what we could become. You fit a spot in my life that I never knew was empty. But you never really kept a true place for me in your heart. Because it was never vacant. The addict in you couldn’t resist the chance to forget the pain she left you with by landing in my arms. That’s
when I discovered the addict in me too.
Never had I experienced such a devastating blow to my gut like when you talked about her. Like she was the last breath of air in your lungs. You would swing back and forth between painting her as an angel or scorning her as the devil.
I was so busy falling that I didn’t acknowledge the warning signs. The nearly instantaneous interest. The excessive attention. The insecure ramblings about success. The long, almost too intimate talks. The casual, and not so casual, references about your epic love with your “abusive” ex. Her remnants still littered through your apartment. The blatant statement “I’m not looking for anything serious”.
For a while, I fed myself lies. That I didn’t care, that you left her because you didn’t see a future with her. That you were giving something new a chance. Only, you weren’t. You were using me to lose her. You had a way of making me feel euphoric. A rush of high that no one had given me yet. A feeling I will
always come to treasure. But that’s the thing about the highs- they’re great until you remember there is no safe way to come back down. And when I listened to you pine for her, whisper about her in my ear with you still beside me, I knew I was only an accessory in someone else’s love story. An intruder, a foreigner; a body, not a person.
My recklessness toward myself and your carelessness toward others were the only parts of us that fit together. So one day, I wised up. I turned away and never looked back. That was the day I discovered how loud silence could be. I became my own best friend because I nurtured my own heartbreak. I never needed you for that. I never needed you at all.
I learned I could break my own heart and put it back together again without hurting or belittling or breaking others in the process. To love despite disappointment is a remarkable feat of the human spirit. Thanks to you, I discovered the difference between love and respect- that one cannot exist without the other. I learned how to pay better attention, be honest about my feelings, and always put myself first.
Even though the experience hurt like hell, I don’t regret you. I don’t regret caring about you; letting my feelings exist despite their unwelcome fate was one of the most beautiful and selfless acts I’ve ever done. Truthfully, I have only one thought left. I hope you found everything you were looking for.