The One Who Changes You

The first time you notice him you won’t really notice him at all. He’s a little bit too short, a little bit too soft in the middle. You’ll feel him watching you when you’re dancing with your boyfriend at a party before you turn around and catch his eye. He’s leaning against a wall, smoking; he looks like Ryan from the OC and he’s ready to be whoever you want him to be (for just long enough that it will break your heart when he goes back to being himself), and he’ll smile at you.

You’ll flick your hair and ignore him, but the whole time you can feel his eyes on the nape of your neck, your tits and ass too, probably. You’ll kiss your boyfriend because you’re into him right now, throw your arms around his neck and forget about the stranger lurking in the shadows. When you finally look back in his direction he’ll be gone, only a blank space of exposed brick where he was, just moments before.

You’ll go back to dancing. You’ll forget about him. You won’t think about him again, not even when your boyfriend leaves you in tears one Sunday morning months later. But he’s still in there somewhere; still leaning against that wall, staring at you like you’re everything.

The next time you see him you won’t remember that it was him against the wall with his eyes all over you, but you’ll think the same of him; a little bit too short, a little bit too soft in the middle. This time is different though, because you’ll get to thinking, maybe I can do short, maybe I can do a little soft in the middle.

You’ll speak to him, be drunk with him, feel his pinky finger edge over from his flattened palm on the bench between you, sneaking towards your own resting hand until they’re touching. He’ll look at you, then, with these eyes. These eyes that are only looking at you, like you’re the only person in the bar, not your friends sitting across from you, not the bartender, not the casually swaying bodies of the strangers around you.

These eyes, his eyes, they’re focused on you and you alone, and you get to thinking these eyes are yours when you see yourself reflected in them so clearly. What you don’t know is that he’s just trying not to lose his balance; he’s just focusing on something, anything, to keep from falling over. He’s matched every drink of yours with two, or was it three? But you are so consumed by this these eyes that mean so much and so little you haven’t even noticed.

The thing of it is, you want this. You’re looking for this. You want someone to look at you and only you like the ground is opening up around you and the only way to survive is to stand on your safe, firm little piece of ground. You created the import of his drunken stare yourself; you selfishly molded it to your hopes, your dreams, your ridiculous romanticism.

What follows is predictable enough. He continues to look at you with those eyes, and you fall in love with the sober hologram you’ve superimposed on him. Never mind the drinking, the smoking, the drugs. You see what you want to see, even though he’s showing you, every day, that all he’s really trying to do is stop from falling over. You’ll continue to think he’s the most beautiful thing in the world, even when you’re undressing him and putting him to bed because he’s too drunk to do it himself.

Eventually, he’ll leave you, probably because he’s smarter than you (at least he’ll fool you into believing he is, but he’s not; too many dead brain cells). He knows what you are capable of giving, and he knows what he can’t. You’ll believe him when he leaves you “to become a better man,” but really, he’s just sticking his dick elsewhere, and it’s too hard for him to say, so you’ll just find out from someone else, weeks later when he’s parading her around in front of your friends.

You’ll be changed by this person; this person who you love so unequivocally, but who is so undeserving of your love. You probably will never be the same again. Now you’re suspicious, sometimes hateful. You’ll think about stabbing him in his too soft middle, of taking a bat to his too short knees. For first time you’ll realize that loving someone doesn’t necessarily make them a good person, and that being a good person isn’t always a prerequisite for your love.

For the first time in your life you’ll start doubting; start thinking that perhaps love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. At least not the way you want it to. TC mark

image – Scinern

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  • MsF

    thank you for this. it’s a timely thought provoking one, for me at least.

  • Sara

    i cried the shit out of me. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/jemmehlee JAMIE (//∇//)

    I’m always THIS person for people. It sucks. 

  • Bigbrowneyes

    If someone could capture everything I feel right now, you’ve got it. Thank you, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

  • Whoop

    With a couple of changes, this story reminds me of my ex boyfriend.

  • TN

    Well done. Definitely felt like that foolish girl at a party, falling for the seemingly sensual glances and touches from some prick.

  • guest

    So true. Thank you.

  • Sophia

    “You’ll be changed by this person; this person who you love so unequivocally, but who is so undeserving of your love.” You are clearly in my brain. Amazing.

  • http://wordwhorls.wordpress.com/ :)

    A younger me would have found this sick-to-the-stomach true. But the older me’s half-smiling, saying, “You let it happen. You had to.”

    You’ll find something in your heart to forgive this person. Eventually. Hate takes too much. And you’ll eventually not want to grudge this person *that* much credit.

    What this person will show you, is surprise. You will surprise yourself that you could give, and give, with so little to get. And you knew it all along. :)

    • Guest

      I was just about to ask, after reading all of these comments about how it still bothers people years later, whether the torment and just flat-out “wtf WAS that?” ever goes away. Good there’s some hope! The last thing I want is to be left with the baggage forever.

  • Domino

    amazing how some articles come with such perfect timing… it’s like all the signs are there for us to see, they’re all red flags, and we somehow choose to miss them, or to look by them, thinking it will get better.

    it doesn’t get better and you end up with a broken heart, but maybe you won’t make the same stupid mistake again.

  • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

    Been there, done that, still trying to figure out wtf it all meant.

  • http://twitter.com/QueerKnowledge Jamie QueerKnowledge

    Yup. GPOY. I stopped believing in love after that one.

  • guest

    Definitely had one of those. Ended over a year ago… absolutely in love with another person now…but I can’t say that the one who changed me doesn’t gnaw at me in the back of my mind and pit of my stomach. And to be perfectly honest, THAT is the change that happened in me. The change that lives inside my mind every.single.day.

  • http://twitter.com/veebloom vee bloom

    I was single for 4 years because of THAT person. People still ask me what I was thinking. Why him. I still ask myself the same question. 

    • http://twitter.com/jyu07 Jill Yu

      I feel for you. Just change 4 to 6. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephbrillantes Joseph Brillantes

    “For first time you’ll realize that loving someone doesn’t necessarily
    make them a good person, and that being a good person isn’t always a
    prerequisite for your love.”–So true.

  • Natalie

    This hurt. Well done.

  • Pinion

    “How I Turned Into a Bitter Old Man-Hating Shrew with the Balloon Knot Lips of a Chain-Smoking Streetwalker” ? 

  • i love too easily

    For first time you’ll realize that loving someone doesn’t necessarily make them a good person, and that being a good person isn’t always a prerequisite for your love.
    So true. I loved this.

  • AB

    Thank you for writing this and bringing these feelings to the surface. I won’t ever see love like it should be seen because of this person who changed me. I’m still 18 and full of love when I see him call, but 6 years older and colder when I can’t answer. There’s nothing else to say. I’m not able to stop thinking about him leaning against that wall, no one I would have ever paid attention to. I’m not able to stop thinking about how we failed each other. Not able to stop remembering “this person who you love so unequivocally.”  I always told him he was my heart, I’m waiting for the day I can reclaim it. Thank you for saying what I couldn’t.

  • evrgrnjaye

    very beautiful, so poignant ~ thank you so much! <3

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    “The first time you notice him you won’t really notice him at all.”
    Yep.

  • Anonymous

    on the T!! 

  • http://twitter.com/alisonwisneski alisonwisneski

    Listen. I’m a lesbian and all, but Ryan Atwood is NOT soft in the middle, nor is he too short. He is a handsome angel. Take it back.

  • Mamajamerson


     love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. At least not the way you want it to.” 
     How very sad that it takes some of us (actually, just me) a couple decades to arrive here. I suspect I will never dive headfirst into that fairy tale again, and I’m cool with that knowledge.

  • http://twitter.com/mungofrench kdub

    thanks, sari.  this pretty much  nails it. 

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