One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.
– James Earl Jones
I told you once, but I cannot do it again…
One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.
– James Earl Jones
I told you once, but I cannot do it again…
When I fall, I fall fast, deep and hard. So before I completely lose my mind to a man I am falling for, I’ll have to find out where I am standing with him, if he feels in any way like me. I need to know the truth. I can’t stand not knowing because then I will drive myself crazy wondering about everything he does and if it could mean something – Was he flirting with me when he gave me that look? Did his foot touch me by mistake or intentionally? Did he stay up that late to just watch TV or to watch it WITH ME?
So I usually go straight for the truth, head-on-collision if you will. Because most of the time, that’s what happens – a crashing end to all hopes of ever getting together with the man I am longing for. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It sets things straight, erases all doubts, gives a chance to move on and try again. Better luck next time! Waste no time!
And that’s what I did. After that eventful New Year’s Eve a year ago, I couldn’t stand the thought of having to wait weeks before I could see you again. I didn’t even know a date when exactly that would be. And I missed you so much. It was driving me insane. And in my mind, I was asking myself constantly if you felt the same way I did and if how you recently acted around me could have meant something to show me that you do feel the same way.
So I took the courage (or the plunge…) and sent you an email.
I wanted to be completely honest with you and I confessed my feelings to you. I also told you that I knew it was wrong and could never really become a reality, that I did not want to hurt anyone or destroy your relationship to your brother, H, or to your family, everyone involved. I asked you for a favor: to be completely honest with me as well, even if it meant hurting me. And in the unlikely event that you also had feelings for me, I offered to think about a solution together so that we don’t do anything stupid.
Waiting for your reply was painful (also because right that day, our internet connection went down)! Yet, I also felt relief. I calmed down. My mind was no longer going through this tedious, repetitive and fruitless process of wondering about this and that. I went to university in order to check my emails. I locked myself in the women’s bathroom, my mobile device in my hands. I logged into the wireless network there and with shaky and sweaty fingers, I opened my email program. There it was! Your reply. My heart was pounding when I opened it.
You were surprised, of course, did not expect something like that at all. And you were honest as well: there are no feelings towards me that would need to be denied. You regard me simply as your brother’s girlfriend, nothing else, not even as a friend of yours as you are peculiar about who you consider to be your friend. There are a lot of things you couldn’t care less about, but this issue is not one of them. You care and want to help. You are glad that H is getting along with me so well and that we are a happy couple. You think I am a smart, intelligent person, easy to talk to and be around with; I might be a friend to you after that email as I’d now know more about you and the way you think than most other people. If I needed more help with this, I should feel free to write or ask you.
And that was it. At first, I was really disappointed that you didn’t love me or feel attracted to me. But the more I thought about what you said (and the way you said it) and how things turned out, the better I started to feel. At one point, I even was elated, ecstatic! Really happy. I could move on now, forget all the silly thoughts, put those questionable moments with you in perspective, see them for what they really were instead of interpreting things into them. No relationships needed to be destroyed. No secret love affair. No stupidities. And besides all that, I felt like I had just gained a true friend! A trusting person. That we got closer to each other in a much more intense and special way than a love affair or romantic affiliation could ever offer.
I emailed you back again and told you that you said exactly the right thing, the only thing that could get everyone out of this mess unharmed. I thanked you for your openness and your help, because you really did help me out there. And I offered you help, should you ever need it in the future. I told you that I am sure to quickly forget about these feelings for you and get back to normal. Nothing between us had to change. We could stay friends, joke together, talk about stuff, go about our lives just like we used to.
And that’s really what I meant, at that time. And yes, things went back to normal soon right after.
But you know what? I wouldn’t be doing this blogging thing now, if this “normality” was still the case today…
I’ve known you for more than 4 years now. At the beginning, I hardly noticed you; you were so quiet, always in the background.
H and you were roommates when I started dating H. I actually didn’t like the fact that I could rarely be alone with him, always fearing that you might walk in on us, even when we were just watching a show or playing computer games. I am not an outgoing person and it takes me a while to get used to people, feel comfortable around them. So it was hard for me to get to know H, being myself around him, knowing that there are other people in his apartment who were like strangers to me. But you being somewhat of the same type, you often kept to yourself in your room.
When H and I moved together, I enjoyed all this new privacy we had. It was a tiny apartment really, but I didn’t mind. You came over probably around once a week to wash your clothes there instead of going to a laundromat. Even though you used that time to do stuff with H, I was reminded of how small the apartment was and I kind of felt uncomfortable again. Just a little. Thinking back, I feel so stupid now. There was absolutely no reason. And now I wish I could see you that often again, have a chance to spend time with you at least once a week.
But you moved to a different city, found a job there. 150 kilometers away. For H it was definitely harder than it was for me. He didn’t really show it all that much, but I am sure he was saddened about it; he liked spending time with his younger brother, the poker nights, the wash days. Now your time together was going to be limited to playing online computer games once a week, to the weekend get-togethers with your family every 2 or 3 months (250 kilometers away) and the occasional invitation to a party of one of our common friends here in town. But like I said, all this was harder on H than for me. Up until that one weekend in October 2012.
It was one of those weekend get-togethers with your family. Nothing out of the ordinary. We’d arrive there Friday night and stay until Sunday afternoon. We’d be chatting with your mother and step-father, taking walks, playing board games, cooking together. I always like going there. They are wonderful people, the best parents-in-law one could ask for. Right from the beginning, I felt welcome and accepted. So this one weekend started off like all the other ones. We had a good time. It was unusually warm for that time of year, warm enough to have lunch outside on the veranda. And then I remember that you had to leave to catch your train. And out of the blue, I suddenly felt sad. I was confused, tried to figure out where this feeling came from. On our way home in the car, the next few days at home as well. Then I ignored it, forgot about it even. But it wasn’t for long.
Only a few weeks later, in Mid-November you came to visit us, spent the weekend with us because you wanted to celebrate your 25th birthday here in town, with our common friends. And whenever you were near H and me, I felt awkward being affectionate with H. I didn’t want you to see this. I felt like I didn’t want to make you jealous. Or maybe I didn’t want to make it obvious that I am not available anymore, that I am with H. Which really is silly, I know. Because at that point, H and I had been happily going steady for 2 years already. I slowly started to lose my mind. And when you left again, I was counting down the days to the next weekend get-together which was to take place at the beginning of December. But when I heard, about a week before, that you wouldn’t be able to come because of work, I felt really disappointed. And while being there, I felt sad even, I couldn’t enjoy it this time. Something was missing. But at the same time, I tried to get over it, think about it rationally. Probably just a silly crush. Over as quickly as it started. Just have to wait it out. Might even be good not to see you that often. So that I could get back to normal. Enjoy this wonderful relationship I have with H.
Well, it only got worse. Christmas arrived. And this was the first Christmas when you and your family actually came over to us to celebrate. H and I had moved into a much bigger apartment, so there was enough room to accomodate all of you. I was so excited and a bit nervous. I enjoyed it so much. I enjoyed spending all this time with you. And there were so many incidences where I just wasn’t sure what to make out of them, how to interpret them. Were you actually flirting with me? Teasing me? Trying to figure me out as well? Or was it all just wishful thinking on my part? You definitely had warmed up to me; you were no longer all that timid and quiet. You made jokes, even horsed around with me a little. And during dinner on the last day – you were sitting right opposite from me – you glanced at me. Our eyes met briefly, but it felt so intense. I am sure we had eye contact before, yes, who doesn’t? But this one felt different. It struck me, mesmerized me. If there was any chance of stopping this emotional mess, it was gone right then and there.
Imagine how I spent the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Ever since I’ve been with H, we always partied together with your and our common friends, watched the fireworks at midnight downtown. So again, you stayed with us. And I was even more excited this time to see you again, thrilled even. Could hardly wait. But I was also torn. I knew that this wasn’t good. That there was no scenario in which I could imagine a good ending should it – “us” – ever become reality. I didn’t and don’t want to lose H. I definitely don’t want to destroy your strong family bonds to each other. Or destroy anything else. My mind clearly tells me to stop, that it’s wrong on so many levels. But my heart is stronger. It longs for you. I couldn’t help but look forward to spending New Year’s with you.
So, as I suspected you to maybe feel a bit like me (or at least I hoped you would), I figured “what the hell, let’s try something here”. So I refreshed my hair color the day before, made myself pretty and for the party, I even put on a top that showed some cleavage. The weapons of a woman. So unlike me, actually. Rarely do that as I usually feel uncomfortable. But it didn’t show too much. Just subtle enough. I tried to use every opportunity to be near you, engage in conversations with you, laugh about your jokes, flirt a little. I also drank more than usual. In some weird way, I hoped we would both get drunk enough to confess to each other what we feel! And it seemed to work. Up to a certain point at least. Well, you actually didn’t drink as much as in past years, because the next day you needed to be somewhat sober. And the closer we got to midnight and the more I drank, the more my mood turned sour. I got sad, realizing this big mess I was in. At midnight, during the fireworks, I was not happy or cheeful at all; I actually cried, secretly shed a few tears. What the hell was I thinking and doing? How did this get so far already?
The next morning, I felt horrible. I had a hangover, but also a broken heart. My head hurt, my stomach was queasy. I couldn’t eat breakfast, just nibbled a bit on the bread. Partly because of the alcohol, but mostly because you were there and I didn’t want you to leave. I still hoped and kind of felt that you might feel the same. We had watched some tv the night before, until about 3am after H went to sleep. If there hadn’t been another friend of ours on the couch with us, who knows what I would have said or done?! You were sitting right next to me, in touching distance. So close.
When your parents picked you up that day, I even came downstairs with you guys, went to the car with you to say goodbye. I usually just shake your hand then, but this time, I felt like giving you a hug and I thought you were hesitant a bit to maybe do the same. Leaning towards me. But it ended up just being a handshake. Then you got into the car and drove off. Left me standing there alone on the street. Now what? I was totally lost. My thoughts were confusing. I needed to stop this before it got out of hand, but it dawned on me that it probably was too late already. It was wrong to feel this way and more so to act upon it, I knew that. But thinking back to those last days together and how you acted around me, I couldn’t help but wonder if indeed you felt just a little bit the same way I did. I could not have imagined all this, could I? But what if you did feel the same? If you didn’t, maybe I could get back to normal?
There was only one way to find out…
In real life, love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire.
– Paulo Coelho
You left again. Went back home. All I have left now is a brand new computer mouse that you brought and left here, not really as a gift, but for your next visit when you are going to play multi-player computer games against H again. I don’t really care about the mouse, but I’ll keep it of course and I’ll use it nonetheless, because it came from you after all.
You also left me with a handful of new memories to add to my secret drawer, a drawer hidden in my heart. It’s where I keep all those short moments with you, glimpses of what we could have or of what I wish we could have. Dreams, fantasies. I also try to keep the memory of your scent in there. I don’t know what you use, if it is your shower gel or your deodorant or some type of after-shave. Whatever it is, it drives me crazy! After I catch a first whiff of it, I am hooked, trying to get more of it, inhale it, let it flow into me. I am consuming it, consuming you. (I wonder if you would still put it on if you knew the effects it has on me.)
However, I am not able to keep this scent in my memory. It’s too fleeting. Right now, I already forgot what it’s like. Can’t find the words to describe it. It usually lingers a little longer in my room, our guest room where you normally stay. I would spend more time in there after you’d leave, just to hold onto something of you. Even if it’s just your lingering scent. But today, it faded so quickly. The air is clear. It’s gone. You’re gone. Again.
And I feel pretty sad this time. I miss you. There were easier times recently; there were even times when it didn’t bother me at all anymore! But today is tough again. Thoughts are running through my head; I am wondering: Why and how did I fall in love with you? It’s such a mystery. There is no logical explanation. I am happily married to H. I love him so much. He loves me so much. He is perfect, all I ever wanted! He is the man with whom I want to start a family, grow old together. He is also your brother, for God’s sake!
My heart must have been drunk when it decided I should also fall for you…