We’ve been friends for awhile. I like to think that we’re that really special type of friends. Super compatible, with an interesting amount of chemistry, with a potential future. I always thought that’s what kept us from ever actually doing anything. We met literally on the first day of college and, despite having different circles of friends, kept coming back around to each other. I think a part of me thought he might be the one, so I didn’t want to screw it up with any of the mistakes we inevitably make when we’re young and dumb. So, we were just friends. Awesome friends.
We graduated and moved to opposite sides of the country. I lost touch with almost everyone… but not him. We fell into a fun rhythm despite our different time zones, texting, occasional phone calls, the random 3 hour Skype session… I think we missed each other.
I ended up in his state to visit a different friend, and we decided to hang out. We all went to dinner. It was fun, it was casual, and oh, yes… I missed him. I missed my friend. Conversation came easy, it was natural.
I thought about him after he left.
He told me wanted to see me before I returned home, and I really wanted to see him. A group of us went out and it was so much fun. We ended up back at my friend’s apartment, sitting on the floor, talking and laughing. It was easy, it was natural.
He kissed me, and held me, and told me he always liked me. Then he lay with me, and put his arms around me, and I felt that everything was right.
And then his phone buzzed and I looked down, and I never meant to pry, but it was 4 in the morning and who would be texting him at that hour? And then I saw the name, and knew it was a girl, and the words just slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself: “Are you seeing somebody?”
It was a silly question. Of course you weren’t seeing anyone.
But, then you looked at me and I knew the answer before you even opened your mouth. How had that not come up? All our texts, phone calls, Skype sessions, that dinner with my friend and her sister, and it never came up? My brow furrowed and I was too confused to be mad. How had that not come up? There must be a mistake. You wouldn’t do that to me. You couldn’t do that to me.
My hand was out before the thought had even finished forming in my mind. I picked up his phone and he made no effort to stop me. My ears had gone dead, my fingers were numb, and all I could see was that tiny, bright white screen. My thumb swiped once, twice, up through only three messages and then froze on a single word, flashing darkest night against the whitest light: love.
Surely I had read that wrong.
There were bright spots in my eyes. I blinked. What was that sentence?
how could you think that I don’t love you?
What? Who was he talking to? I almost didn’t want to say it; it was so absurd. Of course he didn’t have a girlfriend. He couldn’t possibly have a girlfriend. He wouldn’t do that to me. He couldn’t do that to me.
I was going to ask anyways, because, it was too absurd not to. I had to ask, so he could explain himself, explain why I had gotten it wrong, why I was crazy. I wanted to be crazy.
So, I asked. He looked at me, and I knew the answer before he even opened his mouth. I wasn’t crazy.
The words were hanging in the air, you didn’t even try to take them back.
I tried to wrap my head around them, but they fluttered away from me. They were surreal, corporeal, and yet, oh, so real. I held onto them, letting them ring through my ears and then, suddenly, my friend disappeared. He was sitting there, looking at me with his big, remorseful blue eyes, and, suddenly, I couldn’t see him. I wondered vaguely if he could see me.
He leaned towards me, pulled me in close and kissed me, and I kissed him back. I wondered if he knew who he was kissing. I wondered if he would wake up in the morning and feel ashamed of himself. I wondered if he really loved her. I wondered if he knew what love was. I wondered if, in all the time we were friends and I was thinking how lucky I was to have found someone just like me that would always be there for me no matter how far apart we grew, he didn’t even really know who he was talking to.
That would be preferable, wouldn’t it? At least then this wouldn’t feel so personal.
How could this not have come up? I could feel his lips moving against mine, his arms around my waist, and I wondered, what must he think of me, that he would try to make me into ‘the other woman’? He wouldn’t do that to me. He couldn’t do that to me.
But he did.
I kissed him back until his cab came and then said goodbye. He said goodbye, see you later. I said goodbye, you broke my heart. But I didn’t say that. Because how do you explain to someone you don’t love that they broke your heart? He was supposed to be my friend, my supporter, the person I should always be able to trust, and I had hoped that one day, as we grew older and came into our own, that would become love. I think he ruined it.
I went home. He stayed with her. I wondered what he must think of her, to kiss me after telling her that he loved her. I wondered how many other girls were just like me: oh, so hopeful and oh, so foolish.
I don’t hate him; I’m just so unbelievably disappointed in him that it hurts my heart.
You aren’t the person I thought you were.
I will get over this. I will get over him and what could have been, but it feels like my friend is gone, and I don’t know if he’s ever coming back.
It’s not like it can ever be the way it was before.
All I can think, all I can feel, from everything I knew about you and the kind of person I thought you were is simply: How had that not come up?