I remember how sad his eyes were.
I remember that his eyes were always downcast as if lost in thought, or more likely hiding the melancholy in them. I remember how much I wanted to ask him if he was okay – an idea I immediately dismissed. Why would he want to bare his soul to someone he had barely spoken with?
I knew the story behind his sad eyes. Everybody did. Just like everybody else, I pretended not to know. Everybody knew that he just had his heart broken when the girl he fell in love with did not choose him. Everybody knew that he had to see her every single day since, and be constantly reminded that he was not her first choice.
Up to this day, I could never understand why fate decided to allow a friendship to blossom between us. It was so unlikely. A proof once again of fate’s penchant for unpredictability. It had started with him telling me a story. Then, we discovered a world that we shared with each other and no one else – a world of timeless music that we both loved, of conversations that no one else understood. I was happy. I had found someone who often looked at me like I had two heads, but somehow liked my company anyway.
I was beginning to enjoy our little world. I had already become accustomed to that world that I had been lured into believing in its permanency. I should have known better. And just like that, he was gone. To say I was miserable was an understatement.
I was more than just sad. I was broken.
It was as if there was a gray cloud that hovered above me: never quite raining, yet never sunny either.
And then you came along. You, with your loud laugh, and your uncanny ability to befriend anyone, and make everybody laugh.
I was immediately drawn to you. You brought so much light to the darkness that I had become accustomed to.
Then one day, it hit me. It hit me how I was becoming attached to you. So soon after the boy who used to read my stories. So soon after the boy who left me broken.
I wish it could have been one of those inane but swoon-worthy stories that we keep seeing on TV or movies or read in books. That a broken person meets someone. This someone picks up the pieces. And poof, happy ending. I wish it was like that. I wished it was just that easy to pick up the pieces. But it wasn’t.
The fear got to me, you see. I was so scared.
There was this constant battle between the part of myself that longed to be free from pain, and the part that still feared having my heart trampled on so easily. In the end, fear won.
I am not proud of it. But it’s the truth. I was so afraid. So afraid of how easy it was to look forward to seeing you every day. Of how natural it was to spend a lot of time with you. I was so afraid that if I truly let you in, I would fall so much more in love than I already was. Most of all, I was so scared that you would eventually just leave. And I didn’t think I could handle that so soon after I was broken.
So I did what I thought was best. I gave you up.
It was not easy. You were so persistent. And I did love you for that. But eventually, it was over. I was miserable. I missed you so much. How badly I wanted to explain everything. I told myself it was for the best. That I had first to pick up the pieces, and hopefully, you’d still be there when I’m no longer broken. It was selfish of me to think you would wait. But I hoped anyway.
It took me three years. Three years to write about the boy who read my stories. To finally accept that it was time to let go. A lot of things have changed. I’m no longer the same person I was years ago. And I know you are not too.
I still think of you, you know. I remember how happy I was with you. You were just so easy to be with. It would always be my biggest regret letting fear win. Of cutting you off from my life because of it.
To you, the boy I met when I was broken, I’m sorry for being a coward. For letting fear destroy a beautiful friendship.
I know that it’s already too late. But I just want to let you know how much you mean to me. And that I truly hope that you are happy. That you have met someone who would never let fear win. That you have someone who would always appreciate and love you. Because you deserve it.
To the boy I met when I was broken, I’ll always remember you: you with your coffee and cigarettes, with your loud laughter and big heart. I’ll always remember you because to this day, you are still one of the best things that ever happened to me.