The phone lights up again and I try hard not to be disappointed when I see that it’s just another text from a friend confirming the time to meet up the next day. All I can think of is why the bloody hell aren’t you going to ask me out again? But I already know why. Because I told you not to.
I remember when you first texted me. A friendly hello, or so I thought. I welcomed the break from whatever I was doing to talk to someone else. It started getting more frequent, and we would text past sleeping hours – talking about god knows what. You asked me about my life, random questions and my opinions about what I liked and didn’t like. I thought it was typical of any conversation with someone new.
Back then I didn’t see the niggling feeling that was already creeping under my skin.
I don’t remember how we got to the point where I felt you had something for me; and out of this intense fear of whatever this was, I quickly shut myself off and in the process, caused you hurt. You said we were doing fine, so why was I keeping the sudden distance? I told you I didn’t see you that way. And I really thought I didn’t. Because I couldn’t fathom anyone ever liking me. Nobody had done it before – so why would it be any different now?
You then confirmed it by saying that you hadn’t gotten to that point yet, and now that I made it clear you wouldn’t bother trying. To be honest, I felt embarrassed for thinking way too much in advance; and also a little hurt that I’d reaffirmed my suspicions about how people saw me. Someone they wouldn’t want to date. So I did what anyone could do about the situation – I laughed it off. I told you it was fine. That I was fine.
But I wasn’t fine.
You’d hurt my pride, even though it wasn’t intentional. I brushed it off though, and we still talked as though nothing happened. But I couldn’t help feeling that what you said wasn’t true. Was I being too full of myself? Your explanations just didn’t add up, after reading and re-reading them. It wasn’t until I asked for advice from people around me that they then pointed out that it was you who was doing the back-pedaling. I hadn’t seen it at that time, but when they said it, it started making more sense. I guessed I then reclaimed the upper hand of being aware of your feelings whilst not yet grasping a bit of mine at all.
Something triggered your confession, finally, and now that everything was clear; you said that I was really hard to get to know – but that we could take it slowly. On hindsight, I am sorry for what I said, because I told you no. Again. In a way that I’m sure would break anyone’s resolution. I shouldn’t have done it that way. But it was instinctive – I didn’t think twice about it at the moment.
I was too caught up in trying to push you away as far as I could.
I should have said, give me some time to think about it. Instead, I vehemently rejected any idea of getting together – and told you to shove off. This time, you got my message loud and clear, even though you said you thought I felt the same way as you did. After all, nobody can take that many rejections.
Time passed, and you stopped texting as much. And in those gaps I started to think about you, about us.
About why I was feeling so empty and why the days felt so long. I found myself wishing you would just strike up a random conversation again. I couldn’t understand why, and thought it was just me getting into the habit of expecting that you would initiate contact. In a way, maybe that’s what I missed. Having to be prod, rather than to do the prodding. Was I the one who secretly liked getting your attention? If so, then giving you a chance would put you in an unfair situation. I would feel like I was just stringing you along, wouldn’t it?
I admit that I was guarded. But that wasn’t the reason why I didn’t let you in.
I’ve never had anyone come so close. And being as perceptive as you are, I felt so vulnerable when you pointed out certain things that even I refused to admit to myself that I was thinking.
I don’t know how you do that. And it scares me to hell. How could anyone know me better than I know myself?
Now I’m sitting here, glancing at my phone periodically in the hopes that it will light up – and that I will see it is you. Because my pride is getting in the way of texting you first. My goddamn pride.
And I go from “yes I should just text you”, to “no I don’t want the mess that will come after”. I ask myself if I’m going crazy, because I’m chalking up these sleepless nights, and wondering about whether I made the right decision. And if I’m still thinking about it, does this mean I actually like you? I don’t want to say it. Maybe because once I do, it becomes real. And real is scary. Real is unknown to be and I don’t know if I can handle it. I wish I could just tell you what I’m feeling now, so that you can tell me whether it was the same for you back then. This nail-biting anxiety.
Because every day that I’m wasting sitting on the fence, it means one more day that goes by where you don’t know that I’m hesitating.
One more day where you pack more of those emotions up into a box and push it into a dark corner of your heart, where all feelings go to die. It’s a really hard decision, but I’ve got to stop being this indecisive wreck, and put my pride aside – and let myself free fall into this unknown. Stop thinking about what I think your answer might be, and let you answer it for me.
The phone will light up tomorrow. But it won’t be mine. It will be yours.
And I hope I won’t be disappointed.