When we last left of I had just finished retelling the story of that fateful night. I’d made my decision but I was still so torn and part of me thought, “just give him one more chance” and even though my head told me not to, my heart kept a secret… I was going to give you plenty more chances to prove how you felt about me, and the first one began the day after that night. When I woke up in the morning, I was unsure of how we were going to move forward in terms of our friendship. I didn’t know if I owed you an apology or if you owed me one, I just didn’t know what the protocol would be… This is the problem with having a fling with your friend, it’s not the case of just getting up, getting dressed and walking out of their life forever, and those awkward occasions that can happen from accidentally bumping into that fling randomly will occur regularly because you see your friend so often. In all the confusion, poor Peter* got left behind to try and figure out where he fit in all of this and thinking about the early period of our relationship makes me so mad at myself because Peter* deserved better than that. I felt like I could justify my actions and feelings to myself by saying “what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him” but that’s beside the point, I know that now. All I wanted was for you and I to discuss what had happened, none of it made sense to me and I was still trying to process your emotional outburst, I wanted you to explain it to me, I knew you’d be embarrassed, I knew you would find it difficult to talk about, but I hadn’t counted on you completely denying it.
So I had been avoiding you for pretty much a good part of the week. It’s not like you had tried any extreme and dramatic methods to get me to talk to you (like I had hoped you would – that’s something to talk about later… Someday, women’s unrealistic expectations and men’s unwillingness to try to meet them).
The whole thing was very high school, you had spoken to my friend and asked her what was wrong with me, whenever you’d come into a room, I would make an excuse to leave, and if ever I saw you coming in my direction I would run away before you saw me. I don’t actually know what I was trying to accomplish but I wasn’t getting anywhere. We were still avoiding each other, probably me more than you, but you didn’t seem to mind. I had a lot of things I wanted to talk to you about but as time went by I didn’t think it was on your list of priorities. You spoke with my girlfriend and tried to find out why I was avoiding you, and it wasn’t until she convinced me to write out how I was feeling that anything changed. So I did. I wrote what happened and I toyed with whether or not I was actually going to give it to you. Part of me was uncertain that you’d even care about what I had to say, but I knew the only way I could allow myself to move forward was to just write it all out, the pure and innocent truth that I had been keeping to myself.
I loved you.
I meant that in the past tense because after everything that had happened I was unsure of whether I could even use such strong words. If truth be told, I was so confused and my heart was just a mess, and my life was a bigger mess, and you weren’t helping.
I kept thinking of myself as this kind of victim, wondering when someone would actually ask me what I wanted, once upon a time, you were my answer, but now? After that night? I just didn’t know.
I gave you my letter, and with a heavy heart I decided that I would put our future in the hands of fate. I decided that what I wanted was to give this a try and see what could happen, if anything. I didn’t want to lead Peter* on and I didn’t want to treat him like a consolation prize if it turned out you didn’t really feel the same way about me. I’d been going back and forth on my decision for so long, today as I write this down, talking about how heart breaking it was that I had two potential lovers and woe is me, woe is me, I’m annoyed at how dumb I was being. What you’ve got to understand is at that time, I just felt so overwhelmed with this love I felt for you, and how slowly it was fading and I was starting to get to know this other person who was becoming a big part of my life. At the time I was ready to give it up for you that was until I spoke to people back home, those who weren’t involved in this situation, and those who didn’t know you from Adam.
There I was on the phone talking to my girlfriend and sister, we talked about you, and about Peter* both were finding it hard to understand where I was having difficulty in trying to decide.
A: Billy sounds like an asshole!
M: I just don’t understand why he’s still a viable option when he hasn’t even said he liked you!
Me: Well he sort of did.
A: Did he or didn’t he, he can’t kind of tell you he likes you.
Me: Well he told me when he was drunk that he liked ‘her’.
A: And who is her? Are you her? How can you know?
Me: I just do.
M: You’ve got to think, why is it that you let these jerks hurt you over and over and you keep giving them a chance, and then FINALLY a good guy comes along who just wants a chance with you and you’re so hesitant to do that?
A: Why do you seem to be way more attracted to the horrible guys?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t mean to.
M: Don’t you think it’s time you went with a guy who treats you nicely? One who buys you flowers just because and not just because he upset you?
A: Peter* seems to be ready to give things a go with you and you seem to be more interested in seeing where it could go with Billy who has had far longer to go nowhere with you.
And then it hit me… first of all how important having a girl posse is, for talks like this because really it could save every woman a lot of heart ache and bad mistakes/decisions, but also that they were right… I was fantasizing over a reality that just didn’t exist. I was convinced that the unknown with you was way better than the loving truth I had with Peter* and yet Peter had done more to prove himself than you had. In fact the harder I worked at showing how I felt for you, the further away you pulled from me, and only when I went to pull away did you say anything remotely close to telling me how you felt.
I just couldn’t wait around like that anymore because I wouldn’t know how long I would be waiting for and to be honest, I had a lot of love to give someone, if you didn’t want it then someone else would. It was time to find happiness for myself.
So with this new sense of awakening, I found myself alone with you, we were sat getting high in your room acting like nothing had happened; we were normal again, well, at least as normal as we were ever going to be again.
We chatted and it wasn’t awkward, it felt comfortable but I also felt this complete change in our relationship, I couldn’t help notice that you felt it too.
Then you apologized, so genuinely so purely, you seemed to mean it and I felt for you, but I knew it just wasn’t enough anymore. You said sorry for what you did, what you said, but then you finished this apology with…
“I don’t even remember what happened that night”
Womp, womp, woooomp… how absolutely humiliating. I knew I had accepted that we were over, whatever us being over meant, but to hear you say that what I believed to have been your proclamation of your love for me was nothing but drunken babble and actually meant nothing made me feel so embarrassed. I had over analyzed over thought and deeply believed that our love story was just too difficult but really it was non-existent. I felt like you had slapped me in the face and I just looked at your unemotional face, high as hell and completely oblivious to just how much you had hurt me with your one sentence.
I took a deep breath, smiled and told you it was okay and that I didn’t really care because I knew it was because you were drunk, silently praying for the walls to swallow me up because I no longer wanted to have this conversation with you, the conversation that I had planned in my head for almost a week and never had I anticipated what you had said… out of all the scenarios I thought it could go, never did I once think you would say those words to me.
Stupid me right? Thinking you felt the same way about me? I beat myself up over this, how absolutely idiotic of me, but really, now we both know that you knew what happened that night was the truth, you just didn’t want to admit it. In fact you’d have rather I felt ashamed and stupid than to admit how you really felt about me, and I guess that makes you sort of evil. Evil heart at least, either that or you just never believed that I would be the one to say goodbye. I didn’t think I would be either. But there we go, I surprised us both. Go me. It was a hollow victory.
Really romantically nothing much happened between us after that night, we carried on with our lives and continued to be friends, perhaps not as close as before, and I felt a little less apprehensive when I saw you making reckless decisions.
We had one fun and memorable night when it snowed and as a house we all decided to play in the snow together. The 4 of us put on our wet weather gear, ran to the field at the back of our building, and made some shameless attempts at making an igloo. We played for hours and when I was getting cold you would wrap your arms around me, I thought nothing of it but I knew it took a lot for you to make that kind of gesture. We took it in turns to pull each other around on a makeshift sledge (basically a bin bag) and we even wrestled each other to the ground during our snowball fight. You would make an excuse to touch me somehow and I would affectionately but innocently (not so innocently) reciprocate your touch. It was a magical evening and somehow I got the feeling like we would be okay. I really hoped we would be okay again.
So that University year ended and we’d gone back to being friends, and yes, that was okay. We seemed to move past our difficult will they, won’t they situation. I’m not sure if it was because we really were healed of our previous break, or if it was because we felt like we had to because we were going to live together for a year.
Fast forward to when we finally moved to our house in our second year of University and in the beginning we were all living harmoniously, then one argument between housemates turned into a huge row between you and I.
During our huge blow out, I couldn’t help but wonder whether we were actually arguing about what had sparked this fight. Part of my anger stemmed from the hurt that I had so apparently carried since the previous year.
There we were fighting and slamming doors, acting like the thing we were arguing about was far bigger than it was. The next few months were awkward as hell and we did all we could to avoid each other.
I pretty much moved out before the year was up and I had all but written you out of my life.
I didn’t think you would ever matter again.
Once the third year was up, I had officially moved in with Peter* we’d been together for over a year at this point. I was innocently walking down the street towards the lecture hall when I saw you across the road. It was the first time I’d seen you in so long and our eyes met for a second then we looked away as if neither of us had noticed the other. I felt sick at the sight of you, but not in a disgusted way, but more of a, I wasn’t expecting to see you and I was completely unprepared.
A few weeks went by when I decided to finally approach you, not in person I wasn’t that brave. I sent you a message on Facebook telling you that I had seen you the other day, I wasn’t expecting you to reply but you did, you acted nonchalant, acting like you hadn’t seen me. Just like that we seemed on the mend again, almost like we hadn’t had a huge fight and stopped talking for a better part of a year.
As part of my dissertation, it involved me travelling to Wales to go camping in the ‘haunted woods’ I need a group of people to go ghost hunting with me, and one of our old housemates offered to come, at the last minute he asked if you could come along and after discussing it with Peter, he assured me it would be great if you could come along too so I agreed.
The next day we packed the car, as we were the two shortest people we were given the pleasure of sitting in the back together. We had packed the car so tight that we were basically sharing a seat and the only comfortable position was for you to sit with your arm slightly around me.
So we endured several hours of sitting in an awkward position trying to make light of the situation….
What was that… did I feel you brush my hand? No, it couldn’t be, you didn’t feel that way about me, you never did….why would you be touching my hand?
That weekend we had some pretty wacky adventures, hiking and exploring by day and ghost hunting by night. One particularly bad night, the storm approaching our patch of land was getting increasingly threatening, I wasn’t feeling well but Peter* and our old housemate had decided to go out to explore some old bunkers that we had come across during our hike that afternoon.
You said you weren’t feeling well and wanted to stay in our tent.
This is probably the part where lots of people would think we committed the ultimate sin and that I cheated on Peter* but that didn’t happen. I told you I was making a hot chocolate and you asked for one too, when we had our cups we started chatting, you in your section of the tent and me in mine. Eventually I sat in your section and we just sat there for a few hours reminiscing about the fun times in Halls, and where we were headed after University. We had one of our first real, deep chats that we hadn’t had since our friendship inexplicably ended. It felt nice to be on your level again and just have a genuine conversation with a friend, I finally felt comfortable with you again.
The rest of our trip involved a lot of getting lost and discovering new things. My relationship with Peter* had been getting progressively strained during this trip and he would often snap or get quite argumentative with me and there were times when I could feel your sympathetic eyes on me. I felt embarrassed that you were seeing this and it made things so much worse.
On our drive back to University, we were once again bundled up in the back of the car, except this time we felt more comfortable being so close once again basically sharing the same seat.
At one point during the journey I squealed my excitement over Miley Cyrus’ new song, I commented on how wonderful it was to describe your emotions for someone so beautifully in a song and how it was a huge compliment to tell someone you ‘adored them’ quoting Miley Cyrus. Peter* laughed at me, sounding far more malicious than I think he meant to. He told me I was just copying Miley Cyrus and that I should get my own opinions because I sounded stupid blindly copying someone I didn’t know. I was absolutely stunned that his insult had come from a seemingly innocent observation and that it felt so unlike him.
The car fell into an awkward silence and I felt my face burn up feeling embarrassed. I almost cried out of sheer shock at his outburst that was until I felt your hand grab mine and squeeze tightly. There was something comforting about your touch that softened the blow I felt. You just made me feel so protected even though it was such a minor incident. This felt like this was the first time you had openly comforted me, not caring what anyone else might have thought. I sort of leant against you encouraging you to continue comforting me, even though I look back on this now and realize how wrong I was to do this, at the time I think I needed you to be there and to do what you did to help me re-evaluate the situation.
After that trip we didn’t really see each other much. We had a few conversations here and there, we had one particularly memorable conversation where late at night, Peter* and I had had another huge row. I was in my designated bedroom up late just browsing the web when you sent me a message on Facebook.
Going to bed late, or up early?
Not planning to go to bed…ever.
And thus began a conversation that was a little too late but much awaited for.
We discussed our friendship and everything that had happened. We didn’t mention what had happened in the car on the way back from Wales, but I know we were both thinking about it. You asked me why I was with Peter* and I outright told you I was tired of waiting. You found it hard to talk genuinely about what could have been but you did admit that you thought that we would have continued our would be relationship once we moved in together. I felt sick at your blunt honesty. We continued to talk about what could have been and how different our paths had seemed to be going. We didn’t really leave things in a definitive place, we didn’t have a closure, it just…well? Ended.
That conversation could have potentially led to something, but it didn’t…why? Because I truly believe that we knew from day one that you and I were not ready to be that vulnerable with another person. I honestly believe that we are soul mates, and maybe that doesn’t necessarily mean we are romantic soul mates but I do feel like our lives are destined to cross paths often. If it weren’t, then we wouldn’t have maintained a friendship even after University.
Despite us not being close like we once were, we have somehow not been able to avoid each other like we could have easily done.
We shared something deep, passionate and real and even though none of us could ever outright tell each other how we felt, it didn’t mean it meant any less or didn’t exist. Can you share something so special if it was non-existent? Maybe…but I’d be damned if you said it didn’t happen.
Sometimes during quiet and lonely nights, I think about how we could have been happy together, but life has a funny way of working things out, like maybe if we were together we could have made each other miserable and all of those happy memories could have been tarnished.
I hate the thought that someone may read this and think I’m a complete fool. All I ask is for those people to understand what it is like to long for someone, to know that person longs for you too but life and focus creates a fear that beats your love for that person. I hate that people say that love is bigger than anything but it really isn’t. Fear can be stronger, and I felt fear at any thought of a future with you.
Billy I could have really loved you, you could have really loved me and even though I used to pray that some kind of miracle would lead us back to each other, I am no longer waiting for that. I have learnt to accept some things are just not meant to be.
I hope that we will still be able to have our memories, the starry sky at night and the poor attempted igloo to share between us.
Someday I hope we get the answers we were looking for, someday I hope we can have happy, healthy relationships with people who love and understand us. I hope that even if we’re no longer in each other’s lives we can still secretly cheer each other on when the other succeeds.
Though our love story may have ended, I know that nothing will take those years away.
Though I now have a man, I love, respect and cherish, I will always be grateful for all that you taught me and the memories I’ve gotten to keep.
Though you and I lead completely different lives than we did when we first met, I know that there will always be a time and a place when we can come together and share in the new adventures our lives have taken us on…
Maybe someday we will be able to finally tell each other, what the other wanted to hear, maybe they’re two very different things? I don’t need to hear it anymore, but I think I would appreciate the acknowledgement that I was not the only one in that situation, and that those heartbreaks and uncertainty weren’t for nothing.
Our journey was certainly one in a million, and though we endured, overcame and battled through plenty of difficulties together, I have come out of it with only peace and love for you. I value your existence and your very being and I know that someday you will make a wonderful husband, I just hope that you do find someone who you can love so much that you can’t stand a day where you don’t tell them how much you love them.
I hope I will have the same, I hope we can use this experience as a learning point so that we can give our prospective partners all the love and care they deserve so that they never have to guess how we feel about them and what they mean to us.
I think I did really love you Billy, and that kind of love doesn’t just go away, I don’t feel heart broken but I wanted so badly to share my story with you. I so badly wanted to tell you that despite what you had seen when you first met me, I did change, I changed because you made me realize that I needed to respect and value myself before expecting others to.
Mainly I wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to a new friendship, a new love and a new drive to change the way I saw myself, and the way I allowed others to treat me.
You were a great love interest in a very confusing love story but above all else, you are a great friend.
I hope you can now follow your goals and follow your heart, remember that whilst you’re busy chasing your dreams, you also need to find the time to love and be loved.