What do I miss the most about you and me? It’s not the conversation, or the laughter, or the sex. If I close my eyes, I can still picture it: us in bed, clothes strewn all over the floor, the tv on, but the volume low, the occasional bump or footsteps of your brothers moving around upstairs. The thing I miss the most is when we were lying in your bed, half awake and half dreaming, when the alcohol is just starting to pull us into a deep sleep. When we were barely touching but our breathing was in sync and your arm was casually draped over me, your fingers tracing mindless and random circles all over my body. In a relationship that was purely sex, it’s ironic that of all the things I could miss about being with you, it is one of our most intimate and innocent moments. I never appreciated the closeness or intimacy we would sometimes share because I was so determined to keep what we were doing void of emotion. In fact, I know I often pushed you away, reminding you that I hated cuddling, which would only cause you to grab me and trap me next to you…until you started kissing me, and I was secretly relieved that things could stay strictly sex. I was the one who set the precedent for our relationship, and yet, here I am, missing your touch–in the most innocent ways possible. What is this hold that you have over me, and why can’t I escape it, even months later?
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.
The worst feeling in the world is watching someone you love struggle, and not being able to do anything to help them. Not because you don’t want to, but because you can’t. They are facing a situation where they need to help themselves. You just want to run over and pick them up off the ground, brush off their knees, and wipe away their tears and frustrations with a kiss on the cheek.
But if only it were that simple.
Watching you struggle as I have the past few months is slowly taking its toll, on both you and me. You are growing more frustrated and angry that things aren’t working out the way they should. And I, in return, am frustrated that I can’t fix you, that I can’t make you feel better. I have been reduced to sitting on the sidelines, saying comforting words that I don’t think quite reach you anymore. And it’s killing me. It’s killing me to see you so miserable, to hear the heartbreaking things you’re saying and wonder if there is even an ounce of truth to them. I just want to make you feel better. And I can’t do that. This time, I can’t pick you up–you’re going to have to do it yourself.
But when you do–and I know you will–I’ll be here with open arms, just as I always have, just as I’ll always be.