I can still remember the night he broke my heart. I can still hear him whisper in my best friend’s ear that he needed to talk to her the moment he spotted us by the bar. I can still feel the lump in my throat as she disappeared with him, and the actual pain in my chest when she came back and said, “He wanted me to tell you that he’s seeing someone else…but it’s not true.” I remember smiling back tears and agreeing when everyone called him a complete and utter idiot. A few drinks and a couple shots later, my friends could see that I was on the verge of tears, and decided it was time for us to go.
I remember the tears that were streaming down my face the as I struggled to open the door to my dorm room–my suitemate in the lounge asking me what was wrong. I pulled open the bathroom door and slammed it shut, and as the lock clicked to keep me in and my roommates out, I began to fall apart. I turned on the sink, then slowly slid down the wall and pulled out my phone. It was 9pm back in SF, where my [other] best friend was going to school. She picked up after two rings and immediately asked, “What happened?”. And that’s when I started sobbing. The ugly, gasping, desperate for air kind of wailing that only comes with a broken heart. But I didn’t care. As someone who hates crying in front of people, I was just glad she couldn’t see me. In my distressed state, I tried my best to explain what happened, and she seemed filled in the blanks (she knew enough about our relationship to figure it out). I can still feel the dull pain from when I pounded the back of my head against the wall and asked her, “How could I be so stupid? Why am I never enough?”. Like any good friend would, she assured me it wasn’t me, that he was clearly the one with the problem. Then she told me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten to this day: “Pick yourself up off the bathroom floor and pull yourself together. You deserve so much more than this.” Slowly, the tears stopped, my breathing slowed, and I began to calm down. I knew she was right, it just didn’t feel like it at the time. Looking back now, I was more bothered by the actual break-up than by the end of the relationship.
I remember waking up in my best friend’s room because she had invited me there as soon as I hung up the phone. The next few days were a complete blur. Anytime I wasn’t in class, I was in my room, cuddled under the blankets, pretending to be asleep, the occasional tear silently falling down my face. Anytime I was walking between the two, my headphones were in, and the rest of the world was tuned out. The same playlist was on repeat. And I know he saw me–but I kept my head down, focused on my phone, forcing a small smirk onto my face just so he’d think I had better things to do than mope and listen to sad songs because I was torn up over him.
Eventually with the help of time, my friends, my new sisters, and a new
distraction boy, I moved on. But the animosity toward him remained. Until summer, that is. He reached out. We began talking like we used to. I was cautious, of course, but I had forgotten how much I missed him. When we returned to school, I had planned on keeping my distance, but he, evidently, did not. We began talking and hanging out more and more, and we were closer than ever before. Maybe because we were actually friends this time around, although, we surely didn’t act like “just friends” because everyone seemed to think we were together. Even his brothers referred to me as “[his] girl”. At this point, however, we hadn’t even talked about hooking up again. Soon, I found myself trusting him again and even my best friends agreed that he was different, more mature, somehow. All it took was him saying he was sorry and that he wanted a second chance. And just like that, I (foolishly) allowed myself to fall again, but I wouldn’t take back that night. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
More time has passed since the Second Fall, and I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much we like each other, no matter how much I want him, we can’t be together. The timing just isn’t right. We are still in completely different places–closer together than before, but not close enough to be together. And so that’s where we are now. Just friends. But I don’t know how long that will last. I don’t know how long I can last. Clearly there is something about him that keeps me coming back and that scares me. With him, the rules and boundaries I set up for myself and my relationships cease to exist. He scares me just as much as he enthralls me–but I’m starting to think that’s why I stick around.
But he still broke my heart once. I had labeled him a mistake, and yet, I keep repeating that same mistake. Is it a matter of time before I get burned again? Or will the mistake eventually correct itself, as some mistakes (however few) seem to sometimes do? Right now, we’re in calm waters, but I keep thinking that it’s only a matter of time before another storm comes. The problem is, if we survive it, I don’t think I’d be able to give him up–not again, not like before. And that frightens me more than anything because if he is willing to give me up, it’ll be for good this time–because I don’t think I’ll be able to recover from a second heartbreak.