I have had it once before; feeling the excitement and thrill of being loved, knowing you’re special to that single soul person.
To know you’re wanted for your mind and soul, not just your body. This is what every young woman dreams of at some point, even if it’s just for a moment in time.
Everyone, everyone wants to love and to be loved.
Every human being seeks out the overwhelming emotions of love, which one they seek out for is different, whether it be romantic, platonic, or parental.
I always sought out a singular romantic love.
And then I found it, I felt his love, it was deep and long.
It held onto me even when I stumbled in and out of relationships, he held on, he was a friend and hidden lover, we both knew that. Even though we never touched physically in that sense, I felt his presence whenever we were out, even if he stood across the room, I always felt him, watching, or moving to come closer, later feeling the heat our bare arms touching.
I always thought when I saw him with other people, that it was the protective friend in me, no, was I always that naïve?
No, it was jealousy, and it was red and hot and before I knew it, I would find a way to talk him out of his relationships. While I never really took his advice for my rocky road of partners, I always found a flaw in his, and he listened to me as if my word was law. He’d nod and agree, saying he’d noticed that her attitude was bad or her tone of voice when addressing waitresses was insecure, and I’d finally relax. I would physically feel my body relax in that spot.
He’d stare at me with his chin in his hand and question why I found these qualities so unattractive in his partners if they all fell into categories with mine.
He would always wait patiently while I avoided eye contact and my face felt hot, he would just stare at me, with a hint of a smile, like he knew why I did all that I did.
He knew and still stayed by my side.
But I would always brush it off with a sly comment suggesting they had money or good connections. He’d just smile, leaning into his palm and his brown and gold eyes would burn into mine.
We never hooked up or anything for years, I mean years of tension that was felt by all around us.
We’d met when we were fresh out of high school, and he was still in a long-term relationship of four years. When we first got to talking at an event, he was drunk, and he told me he despised her and found ways to avoid looking at her or contacting her. At that moment, I should have known what was to come for me in the future years. But being young and insecure because boys never liked me in high school, I found a way to slither in and convince him to call her, asking to meet up and break up. He agreed on the account of getting my number, he said he only wanted it in because he chickened out and wanted to update me on the reaction he got. This made me feel a bit guilty and sick. I’d only just met him and now I watched him dump a girl he’d been with for four years. I told him it was a waste of his youth, he stared at me the same way he did in later years, with big brown eyes, a ghost of a smile, and his cheeks pink, he agreed and looked away at his shoes. He called me the next day, sober, and asked if I’d like to hang out, as friends as he was freshly single. Any young girl who was insecure and ignored at a young age probably wouldn’t have manipulated her way into someone’s life as I did but I felt trapped and was greedy for more, so I agreed, and we became close-knit friends who told each other every disgusting detail of our relationships past and current, how annoying our partners were and what they’d done to make us feel that way. I mostly started these conversations with him advising, “Just break up with him then.” And he continued to smile. He was there as I grew into the person I am now, he always made me better.
I knew once we kissed in his car on one of the coldest days of the year, that I had been denying everything till that moment. I could have melted snow, my chest flooded with warmth, my lips burned. I knew my face was red, my heart was beating so hard he probably heard it, and my stomach dipped in anticipation for what would come next.
He simply brushed his index and middle fingers over my lips, making my eyes close, but I felt his eyes on me the whole time.
I knew when he touched me like that, it was the end of me. He was the end of me, he had made me unravel right then and there with the slightest touch.
And everyone warns you, from mothers to friends, that love makes you blind. I never really believed it, but I’d never been put in that position. I never felt the emotion that others did when we were younger until I’d met him. And then I understood.
I fell victim to the veil that comes with love, that shields you from their bad parts, parts they hide from you and what others usually warn you about.
I believe all women come with the gut feeling knowing something is wrong; that you’re being lied to or cheated on. It always stirs in the mid stomach area; it makes you bite the skin off your fingers or itch your throat till there are raw red marks. Women’s minds go back and forth, convinced it’s their paranoia, but then he did say that one thing that sounded so off, you can’t tell what he meant, you over analyze, you critique yourself, you critique him, you seek comfort in friends, who kindly say you’re being overreactive, you’re paranoid.
But that feeling, deep in within, burning and aching, is usually, always right.
The moment I felt the pain, the fear, that loving someone so deeply and knowing they are falling or slipping away from you, slowly but surely. I felt it deep within me, harsh and steady.
My gut rose into my throat looking at no notifications from him after not seeing him for a month, we talked each day like clockwork. I swallowed harshly and itched my throat lightly.
He is busy, I just thought, don’t jump to any silly ideas.
Days went by … longer gaps of no responses, more excuses. I was confused, weren’t we the ones who made it out? Weren’t we lucky, that we found each other, and I followed the rules, I was friends first then lovers, that was always the safety net in relationships? I was sure he liked me more than I liked him, I was sure.
Was I sure? Did he react the same to me as I did to him? Did he crave me when we weren’t together? Did he miss me when I was sitting next to him as I did? Did I give myself away without realizing the trap I’d fallen into?
The burning ache in my stomach, making me lack appetite, constantly reaching with hot fingers for my phone, checking and checking, itching my scalp to find hair falling out, my nail beds ripped to raw skin.
I knew something was wrong the moment I found myself doubting his feelings. I tried to revert into convincing myself he would reach out, he loves me so, but the pain would wake me in the dead of night and rage on, my phone laid silent beside me.
I found out later, at a party for a good friend of ours.
I turned from the cake lit with candles, to a small section across the yard, a sitting area lit with lanterns. She lounged on his lap casually as if this was a familiar position for them. He smiled at her gently and was flushed. He brushed her lips with his fingertips and kissed her openly. My fingers dug into the flesh of my exposed stomach, and I felt as if all my organs were ripped from my body. His fingers were in her hair then, laughing, and oblivious to my presence. I couldn’t stop looking, it had consumed me, I stayed there for what felt like decades.
I was tired and weakened, I was laid bare. I felt stripped in the dark of that night, I wanted it to take me, shielding me from myself in the light.
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