I packed my bag with a heavy heart.
The time came for me to get ready for another semester at University, but also for me to face you again. So much happened in our time apart, I had done a lot of soul searching, thinking about my self worth and everything I was doing wrong with my life. I’m sorry but you were included in the list of mistakes. Why? Because as much as I hated to admit that I had fallen for you, as much as I wanted to pretend I was still capable of being casual with you, as much as I wanted to convince myself that my pursuing a man in a relationship wasn’t wrong because I had fallen in love with him… I knew deep down that everything about it was wrong, and because of all that had happened, we would no longer be able to have a real friendship. If we had both wanted our friendship to continue, we should have resisted each other, but we weren’t completely to blame. We were two very lonely people who desperately wanted companionship and love, and despite how wrong it was for both of us to have a secret love affair, we should have done it the right way. I guess we both didn’t really know what a functional healthy relationship meant, we put together a difficult and impossible, doomed from the start relationship, and we didn’t care because at the start we didn’t really think it was going to go beyond, pillow talk and sex.
It did go further than that though… didn’t it Billy?
Or was it just me?
Just before I left my sister reminded me of the promise I had made to put myself first, and that if you hadn’t broken up with your girlfriend by the time we had gotten back to University, I should no longer continue our fling, and even consider breaking off our friendship. I told her I understood but my heart felt so heavy that I half meant what I said.
I got back before you, and it made me so nervous. I had pictured myself getting out of my car and for you to by at the kitchen window watching me arrive, as I had done weeks ago, watching you leave.
When you left I bet you didn’t know just how different things would be when you returned.
Those next few days of waiting for you made me so nervous. I felt sick constantly; jumping every time I heard the door open or close, scared that I would bump into you unprepared. I was scared because I knew you would disappoint me, I knew the moment you uttered those words… I miss you but I’m still with her…I knew it would be over for us, and as much as I wanted to value myself, I didn’t want you to say it, I didn’t want it to be over.
The problem is, I had really fallen for you Billy, but I was in limbo because I felt like it was a one sided thing. I couldn’t stop thinking about the night that you, Mya and I had sat on your bed, smoking pot and allowing our high to take us into deep conversations that we wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t been under the influence. At one point you told us how you couldn’t respect girls who had had multiple sexual partners. In anger we asked you why and you had responded simply by saying “A promiscuous girls have no respect for themselves so I don’t have respect for them. Promiscuous girls aren’t wife material, you couldn’t take one home to your parents.” Well ouch. I have to say of all the things I’ve ever heard in my life that had to be the one that hurt the most. Because Mya heard one thing, but I felt you had somehow directed that to me. You knew who I was, you knew my past, I had told you all of those things, but despite all of that, you knew me, who I was then, and I thought that you would have overlooked my flaws to see I was in ‘recovery’. Later that night you told us you were only attracted to traditional girls from the same culture/background as you, strike 2 for me. I couldn’t be more different from you or where you had come from. Thanks Billy! What does a girl have to do to get a little appreciation? I felt stupid, stupid because to you I must have been a naïve and easy prey. A girl who would put out for you anytime but never deserved any respect from you. But still I persisted, still I excused the insensitive things you said, I ignored the fact that you only called me when you were high or drunk. Don’t get me wrong; sober we had the most wonderful friendship. Sober we had a lot of fun; sometimes we even had heart to hearts that would feel like we were dating, but I knew the only time I could really get your attention was when we were intoxicated and we could be whatever to each other without worrying about each others feelings. Or at least that’s what you thought, but the harder I fell the more I over thought everything. I broke a rule we had for each other, not to take things seriously. I never got upset with you when you continued with our rules whilst I backed off from them. I never got jealous when you flirted with other girls, I was secretly smug because I knew it was me you would go to bed with, but still, I was just a fling, your girlfriend was who really had your heart. Despite us agreeing from the start that if we went out and met someone we could go home with them, but if we didn’t then we could go home together, I eased off on meeting anyone because I just wanted to go home with you. God, I was whipped and I didn’t even know it. I was so dumb.
You hadn’t come back to University yet when Mya and I had a heart to heart about you. She sympathised with me, not that I deserved it, but hesitantly she admitted something to me. Something that really changed the way I saw you. Mya admitted she had heard a rumour that a few days before we had both left to go home for Christmas, you had drunkenly wandered into the room of one of my flatmates where you both…well…had relations. I felt sick. I felt cold; I just sat there in silence and disbelief. Mya tried to reassure me that it might have just been a rumour. I felt like crying because of how dumb I was being. Why was I upset that a guy who was cheating on his girlfriend, had in a way, cheated on me? Upset, I excused myself to my room. I will admit right now, I cried, for a solid few hours I cried until my eyes hurt and my chest heaved so heavily, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I kept telling myself how stupid and ugly I was. God Billy, do you realise how crazy you were making me? How I beat myself up so much for not being your ideal girl? For not being from the same culture as you? For not being perfect enough for you? I beat myself over every detail about myself that you didn’t like, that I couldn’t change. Later in the evening, a barely audible and hesitant knock came at my door. I answered it and there stood ‘Amber’ the second fling of yours. I let her in, she seemed afraid and for a few minutes we sat in silence. She cleared her throat, turned to me and whispered, “I’m sorry Jessy…” I looked up at her and tried to play stupid. “What for?” I asked. She looked at me confused “If I’d known something was going on with you and Billy I would never have…” she stammered as I shook my head. I laughed out loud; I felt genuinely taken aback “We were just fucking Amber!” I told her a little too loudly, she looked unconvinced and shook her head back at me “It doesn’t matter, things happened between you, he knew that, it’s not right. But I promise nothing will happen between me and him again.” With that Amber got up from my bed and left my room. I sat there for a while until I realised how stupid everything about the situation was. Here were two friends, who had been messed around by the same guy, but only one of us was seeing it for how it was, and it wasn’t me.
After discovering that new information, I decided that I would not even consider a friendship with you if you didn’t tell me the truth yourself.
One day I heard a knocking on our front door, so I answered it. It was you. We were both obviously surprised to see each other, though I have no idea why you were so surprised seeing as I lived there. I remember mumbling something about having to go out and do something and I ran off before you could even say hi. I ran outside and texted Mya to meet me, and off we went for a walk to prepare myself for meeting you properly again.
As it so happened, we didn’t see each other again for another few days and at that point you knew I was avoiding you. You had texted me a few times but I figured if you really wanted to talk to me you would have come to my room and knocked for me, you knew where I lived, I mean you only lived downstairs. But you never did, and to be honest during this time, I was still so hurt by you that part of me just didn’t care anymore. Correction, part of me didn’t want to care anymore.
Finally the dreaded regular nights out began again. I avoided parties I knew you would be at, I avoided going to places I knew you’d be, and I was so damn successful, for a week at least, but when you go out every night and barely sleep, a week can actually be a lifetime. Then one fateful night, I had come home very drunk, I was sat in our kitchen smoking like the rebel I was. From a distance I saw you stagger home, I tried to pretend I didn’t see you, I even ducked from view, but I think it was too late. You had already seen me. A few minutes later I heard a knock on our door. I answered it and it was you. We went into the kitchen to talk. I remember this so clearly. I said it again “I think our friendship is a lie” again you returned my statement with a look of hurt and confusion. I told you I knew what you had done and that you had broken our number one rule and in doing so you had hurt me, but what was worse than you breaking it was that you had broken it knowing that if it came back to me that it would hurt me, and also that you then continued to act like nothing had happened. Do you know what sucked about me showing you my vulnerability was Billy? The fact that you continued to lie to me, the fact that you continued to act dumb and completely oblivious to the fact that I knew what you had done with Amber. Do you know what I was most angry about that night? The fact that even though I knew you were lying to me, to my face for what I want to believe was the first time, I still allowed you to come to my bed with me. I let you despite all of this.
After that night, I acted like nothing had happened and continued to ignore you. I was playing the mind games like you, only I don’t think you quite realised that I was sick of our toying with each other’s emotions. Having the same group of friends meant that we had to hang out like normal, and to be honest it felt nice, to be around you as a friend. I realised I missed that familiarity much more than being romantic with you. Don’t get me wrong, I missed being with you, I missed being able to kiss you, but far more than that I missed having fun with you. After a great night with friends, you and I felt like normal again, we even shared a few jokes with each other. That night I texted you, something I was so afraid to ask, in typical woman fashion I skirted around the real question. I asked how you and your girlfriend was, you told me you had broken up with her because it didn’t feel right anymore. I went to bed that night feeling so happy. There was nothing that could take my smile away.
After that revelation we started to bond again, we had a laugh or two, we even agreed to live together a long with two of our other friends. It seemed perfect, almost like it was meant to be. Just like normal, you, Mya and I were back in your room, joint in one hand, scary movie on TV, discussing ‘life’ at some point Mya had excused herself and we were left alone. You kissed me, this was our first kiss with us both being single. I asked you to tell me the truth about Amber. You admitted something had happened. I asked you why you had broken up with your girlfriend, you told me because it wasn’t right anymore and that you knew you’d be happier without her. I took that as you saying you wanted to be single and live a single life. Wrong answer Billy. Your answer was meant to be me. I gave you the opportunity to tell me how you felt but instead you wanted to show your feelings through physical intimacy and I was no longer willing to play. We spent our last night together, my heart felt broken. For so long I wanted to hear you tell me how you felt about me, in so many words, I had told you how I felt, I had hinted that all I needed to hear was a slight hope, and I could no longer play the friends with benefits because I was in too deep. You didn’t know it but that would be our last night together Billy. I never commemorated it as being that, because I didn’t believe I had the strength to do so.
Before I continue I want to tell you. I wanted so badly to love you Billy. I knew I could love you in a way no one else had done before. I knew I could be good for you, I knew I could be different, and I don’t think you ever gave me that chance. Maybe you didn’t want me to be different? Maybe because you had been in the wrong relationship for so long, you weren’t ready for another one that was full of risks. I was. Despite all the times I had had my heart broken, despite the fact that I had only ever known unstable relationships, I wanted to try with you. You were my soul mate, I felt your heart, and you felt mine. I let you in when I never thought I could. You shared some deep dark secrets with me. We both shared our vulnerability and we held each other through these admissions. Still I never felt good enough, maybe I was just being hard on myself, but Billy, I needed to hear you tell me it was all for something. The last few months had been based on me patiently waiting for you to give me hope, and I no longer wanted to be the dumb girl who was messed around. We had already signed our contracts with our house; we had no choice but to play nice. The only chance we had at making this new roommate situation work for our friends and us was for me to let you go and give myself time to heal and move on. But first I needed one last night with you.
So that’s when us romantically, kind of ended. I say kind of because…well you’ll understand later on.
A few weeks went by and we were basically just passing shadows. Sometimes I would catch you looking at me from across the room but my distancing myself from you was evident. You didn’t try to fight it and at first that hurt but I grew to forget it. I have no idea what was going through your mind but whatever it was you never tried to share it with me.
One night, Mya and I went out. I had sworn off men and no longer cared for filling my empty nights and loneliness with anyone else. No one was worth my time, and part of me still hoped you were holding out for us having an explosive confrontation, which would lead to you screaming that you loved me and we would live happily ever after. I’ve never admitted that to anyone before…gosh…I’m just reminiscing but that is the truth. It never happened…well not really. But god, how badly I wanted it to.
So on this night out, I met someone, Peter*. How ironic. The first night I swear off men and I meet someone. Someone different. Someone different to you, but still had the qualities I longed for in someone. After my experience with other men and my recent experience with you, I was very cautious with him. In fact, something I had learnt from our relationship was that keeping something a secret in its early stages meant that it had a chance at being able to gain some kind of stability for it to grow into something beautiful. It also meant that if the ‘relationship’ failed then at least no one would know about it.
A month or so after dating this guy, we had become inseparable. I finally wanted to introduce him to my housemates. So I decided to invite him for dinner. One of our future housemates Calum* was there too. I really wanted my new ‘boyfriend’ to meet my future housemates but of course, I did not want you to meet him, not yet anyway. As for our 4th and final housemate, Ryan* who I didn’t trust to not scare him away. So Calum* was my best bet as the first person to meet Peter*. The dinner went great until Ryan* gate crashed and accidentally met Peter*. Actually my fears were completely gone after that night. Both guys liked Peter* and Peter liked them. I could see this working out, but first we had to get through meeting you and I just could not imagine that at all.
Weeks passed and we had started hanging out again, things were normal, and you and I had even started texting again. We no longer hung out on our own but it was nice to get a friend back. When you weren’t around, Calum*, Ryan* and I hung out with Peter*, we had fun and no one ever questioned your absence. I mean Peter* didn’t even know about you so it’s not that surprising. But still, I felt a little less uneasy about you accidentally meeting Peter* like Ryan* had.
One day Peter* surprised me at our flat. I was with Mya*, Calum* and Ryan*, we all sat down for lunch and you happened to come into the kitchen as we were all talking. You looked surprised to see Peter* with his arm around me. You didn’t let the moment of surprise linger before sitting with us. I felt my stomach churn and I felt sick. I was wrong I wasn’t ready for this. I couldn’t look at you. Mya introduced Peter* to you as my boyfriend. I remember feeling your eyes burn through me, I heard you repeat boyfriend like it was a foreign word to you, I couldn’t bring myself to look at you, I couldn’t have us have a silent conversation, not in front of Peter* I hadn’t told him about you, well I had…but I never told him your name. He had no idea it was you. I felt even more nauseated that Peter* being the kind and sweet person he was, was having this animated conversation with you, and you seemed to be enjoying it too, but Peter* had no idea just who you were. As far as he was concerned you were just another guy I was going to live with next year. I just wanted the room to come crashing down on me so that this moment could end.
There were still a lot of unresolved issues between us. I wasn’t ready.
Later that night everyone had gone out, Peter* and I sat by the kitchen overlooking the courtyard. We watched people come and go as most of the residents in our apartment block were getting drunk, as usual. From a distance I noticed you staggering towards our building, I knew something was wrong. I mentioned this to Peter*, he assured me you would be fine and that we would help you if anything really were wrong. You finally got within clear view of the kitchen window and just stared at us, for a few seconds you kept your eyes on me, at one point I felt like you glared at me, then you walked to the front door. Our building was old and anytime anyone walked in or out, the door would slam. After 10 minutes I had not heard the door slam, I held my breath, I felt nervous, like something may have happened to you. Peter* knew I was worried so he offered to go check on you, I told him I would go instead and that he should wait for me in my room. He tried to convince me to let him go instead but I insisted that because I knew you might be embarrassed it was better for me to go.
When I got to the front door, I noticed you hadn’t even made it in. It was freezing outside so I rushed out to help you, you reeked of Disaronno and I laughed at how strange it was that I was choosing to spend a night in instead of out with everyone else. Finally we got you into the corridor but you were in no state to get into your flat so I took your keys from you and opened the door to let you in. You could barely walk so I ended up having to put your arm around my shoulder as I helped support you up. We walked to your room where I put you on your bed. As I went to leave, you got hysterical and ran up to block the door. Under your breath you were mumbling “She just doesn’t understand” you kept repeating it until I asked who you were talking about, you looked at me and shouted “her! She doesn’t understand, she doesn’t understand me!” I asked what ‘she’ didn’t understand, still not quite getting who you were talking about. “She doesn’t understand me, she doesn’t understand how I feel about her” you repeated, each time getting louder, I tried to quieten down but you were getting progressively hysterical. You kept getting up and screaming, you grabbed your shoes and jacket and said you were leaving I tried to soothe you and sit you back down but you began to cry, you kept repeating that she didn’t understand how you felt, and it wasn’t until I had my hands around your shoulders trying to sit you back down, that you grabbed me by the hips and buried your head into my stomach. You began to cry harder and refused to let go “She doesn’t understand how I feel about her, do you know how much that hurts?” you asked me in between sobs. I ran my hand on your head trying to ease your crying. “She’s upstairs spending time with her boyfriend” you began to say, and it hit me…I was who you were talking about. “she doesn’t understand how I felt about her, it was meant to be me, but she’s upstairs with her boyfriend instead.” You said getting angrier. I whispered “That’s not fair” not realising you heard me but you did. You stood up and with a lot of force I jumped backwards. You walked towards me and I backed away until my back was pressed to the wall, you put your forehead on mine and said “she doesn’t get it, she just doesn’t get how I feel about her.” I didn’t know what to say, but as you grew closer to my lips, I didn’t move, I knew I should have but I let your lips touch mine before I pushed you away “It’s too late Billy. You waited too late.” I said, but it was the wrong thing to say, you got angry again, and started screaming at me to leave, to go back to my boyfriend and to leave you alone. So I tried to. I tried to go to the room but you stopped me again, you asked me why ‘she’ had surprised you by letting you bump into her boyfriend without her telling you first, so I played along, I told you that it was probably because she didn’t want you to meet him, I told her that you should have told her how you felt, but you got upset again, you stood up and said “I didn’t think I had to tell her I love her, she didn’t need me to tell her, she already knew that” and with all of your pent up aggression, you put your hands into a fist and punched your window over and over again, shattering the glass into pieces. I grabbed your hand and pulled it away. I tried to soothe you again and told you that it would be better in the morning. I convinced you to lie in your bed and as I tried to leave again, you got back up, in the end I lay beside you in your bed as you cried, falling asleep. I stroked you head until you fell into a deep sleep. When I knew you were asleep, I made my way back upstairs. As I came into my bedroom, Peter* stood up, he looked worried “thank god you’re okay.” He said walking up to me and taking me into his arms.
I cried to him that night, for the first time since we had met, I sobbed into his chest. He let me cry without any explanation. He waited until I was ready and I told him everything. Our story, one that began in our first semester when we were so lost, lonely and confused.
He listened patiently, he didn’t ask questions, and when I was finished, he took me in his arms again and told me he would understand whatever I decided. It was his kindness, his way of showing me his unconditional love for me despite me still being practically a stranger, his selflessness that helped me make a firm decision, it was a difficult one but Peter* helped me feel so much better about it.
Once the decision was made, came the hardest part. How you and I would move forward after that night.
Once again I was faced with confusion, heartache and the feeling of loss. Billy you broke my heart for the second night, only this time instead of crying myself to sleep, I had a wonderful man who was trying his best to understand, and wanted to stop me from hurting.
But where were you Billy? If you loved me like you seemed to claim you did, where were you the night I felt my heart break into pieces?
END OF PART 2