My dating history is very, very limited. There’s three boys in my life that really stand out to me that have defined my feelings on love. There is the boy I’m with currently, a boy I just had fun with, and then there’s the boy were gonna talk about today- the almost.
We all have one. We all felt heartbreak over a guy that wasn’t really ours. It’s weird, I had dates in my head, I had events that I vividly remembered that were markers in this ‘relationship’ but the thing was we never had one.
Did you ever notice what you did? I feel like you had to of. We would sit on the phone for hours and hours after school. You would tell me all about your life and I would tell you everything about mine. We would sit together in classes and laugh constantly. You can’t tell me you didn’t know how I felt because everyone in our small town knew. You would get my hopes up that there was a chance for us and then on cue you would always leave me for one of my friends.
I always felt like we were on the cusp of something and then just as quickly it would stop until one time it didn’t..
One day I was getting ready to go the mall with my mom. I had just gotten a mall gift card for Christmas and was dying to spend it. It was the days of Instant Messenger and my away message was up even though I was still feet away hoping you would send me a message before I went to the mall. My away message was a quote from my favorite movie, A Cinderella Story, “Waiting for you is like waiting for rain in this drought, useless and disappointing.” (I know, I deserve an Oscar for my melodramatic tendencies). I heard the ding and it wasn’t the message I was expecting but it was the message I had always been hoping for. You wrote out a long speech about how you believed that was directed at you and you told me you felt the same. A huge smile spread across my face as I read the message. We had always gotten close to something more but this was the first time you ever admitted it. I don’t think I ever told you how happy I felt in that moment. I danced around my bedroom after I read that message. I didn’t even want to shop. I just wanted to sit in my room and continue the conversation with you. At that moment, I felt more happy than I had ever felt. I had waited years for you to tell me that. When the adrenaline stopped coursing through my body that’s when the pit in my stomach came. I still remember the distinct feeling of my brain telling my heart not to trust you but I ignored it.
The next few months were filled with flirty messages, butterflies, and then there was my first kiss.
It was a Tuesday when everything changed for me. I was so excited to stay after and take the late bus home with you like every other Tuesday. An old friend of ours called you out into the hallway and that pit in my stomach came back. I sat with my best friend and your best friend at that table feeling so uneasy. Those ten minutes you were in the hallway ticked by so slowly. I don’t know what told me something was going to happen but I felt everything I waited for crash down like it had so many times prior with you.
The frazzle look you had on your face when you walked back into the room confirmed my gut feeling. You didn’t even have to say anything. I already knew. You looked up and told us how the girl had kissed you. You looked right at me and told me you were sorry. I didn’t know what to say. Should I fight with you for letting her kiss you? Should I cry? Should I storm out of the room? It was then that I realized you had nothing to be sorry about. We weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, we were just an almost.
We had been through this a million times. I expected you to just leave; To move on and forget about me like you had every other time we were an almost so I did the only thing I knew. I left first.
I took the blame for us ending but the thing was, you would’ve left eventually. You always did. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I didn’t even think I had the ability to. Until I saw it on your face when I was kissing a boy I really didn’t even like in the school hallway. The thing was, it was always you I wanted. I didn’t care for him. I just wanted to protect myself from the tears you had brought on so many other times. I wanted to save you from being the bad guy.
Somehow, someway we found our way back to each other. I was confident this time. I was confident you actually cared. This time I was sure it was going to work. It felt different than all the other times. It was different to you too, wasn’t it?
Turns out, it was different because this time your intentions were actually cruel. Turns out, that you just wanted revenge that I finally beat you at your own leaving game.Turns out, you wanted my best friend.
It was so hard. I mean, you were always just an almost relationship, could I even be mad at you? I wanted so badly to hate you but I felt guilty about it. I had hurt you. I had left you. I had never told you how much I actually cared for you. I never had the confidence to tell you. I just always thought you knew.
It was so awkward. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to ask her how she could do that to me but I didn’t want our friend group to chose her. I didn’t want to lose you and my friends. I would ask her all about you both. I always had an motive behind it- I always wanted to hear that you were terrible. I never wanted her to know how badly she hurt me. I never wanted you to get the satisfaction that you broke my heart when we never really were together.
Most of all, it hurt. It hurt like hell. It hurt more to know I cared more. I had always cared more.
That was so clear when you thought it was okay to work at my job with her. Yeah, it was years after and yes I was over the fantasy of anything romantic between us but you could still cut the tension with a knife between the two of us.
Flash forward to years after, even though we still couldn’t look each other in the eyes, we were finally getting back to being friends. We even shared a few laughs together. So why did you have to go and ruin that too? Every single time we went out drinking you would bring the almost relationship up. You would bring it up like it was a passing thought- like it wasn’t still on both of our minds when we saw each other. I heard you told my friends you thought I was still in love with you but in reality, you were just a learning lesson for me.
Thanks to you, I learned to guard my heart in love and in friendship. I spent years chasing you but the truth was I never was going to be the one for you. You never thought I was good enough and I was never confident enough to prove you otherwise. After you, I promised myself to never chase after a guy again. I promised myself to only give a guy time who cared about me the way I cared about him.
In the end, our almost relationship brought us both the loves of our lives. I’m happy about that. Thank you, thanks for being the boy that taught me what love isn’t.