Wedding Pictures

H and I got married at the end of last year. It was a wonderful day. Everything was perfect – an emotional yet also funny ceremony, beautiful weather considering the time of year, a party filled with laughter and cheers, amongst our closest family and best friends. I like thinking back, looking at all the vibrant pictures taken that day, watching the video.

Looking at the pictures brings a smile to my face. Yet, once in a while, I am also searching for clues in them. The ones with you. Do you look happy? Do you seem jealous? Do you wish you were in H’s place?

The picture on which H and I enter the ceremony room at the registry office: everyone is looking at us full of glee. But your expression is somewhat more reluctant, held back.

The picture on which H and I kiss after having exchanged the rings: everyone is looking at us, smiling. But you are looking down on the floor. Is that a frown?

The picture on which you congratulate us, about to give me a hug: taken at a moment where you are so close to me, but we’re not touching yet. What were you thinking then?

The picture on which you look solemnly down at your hands, in the restaurant: why did you decide to sit at our friends’ table instead of with your family, with us? Did you want to spare yourself the pain of being close to us, our happiness?

The picture on which you look at my bare back while H and I were dancing: did you imagine what it would feel like to touch there?

The video of all us doing a famous party dance, in a circle, holding onto each other: you and I ended up being next to each other. I held my arm around your waist, you rested your hand on my shoulder, touched my bare arm. Never before could I feel your skin and warmth for so long, however “innocent” it was. And when the music stopped, you let go of the other person next to you as quickly as everyone else did, but your arm rested just a tiny bit longer on my shoulder. I noticed that.

During that day, I did not think of you like this at all and I did not wonder what it would be like for you. Only now, in retrospect, I do. Of course, I will not find out what really went on in your head. The pictures will not give me any clues. Even if it seems a certain way, it is only a reflection of a short moment, a glimpse in time. Maybe your serious face showed a radiant smile a few milliseconds after the photographer pushed the button. Maybe you were simply entertained by our dance, applauding the different moves, looking at both of us equally. If I were to pick out any other guest of that day and checked each picture with him or her, I’d probably find just as many “awkward” expressions, not fitting the occasion.

There is no way to ever see the big picture.

It Feels Different This Time

It’s been 8 days since we parted ways. Usually, by this time, I would feel “normal” again, going about my daily routines, not really thinking of or about you. But this time, it’s different. I can’t get you out of my mind. You’re constantly in my thoughts. You’re lurking in my dreams to suddenly jump out and take the leading role. (I am actually afraid that I might talk in my sleep to you and say something that H is not supposed to hear.)

I get this warm and fuzzy feeling when my thoughts drift off towards you. It’s a beautiful feeling. But it’s also dangerous. I remember it from my teenage years, from the beginning of a sweet crush on a boy. The daydreaming, the fantasies. So hopeful. But then there would always come a point where reality hit. And it hit hard. Seeing him with someone else or even being told straightforward that things wouldn’t work out. And this lofty, airy feeling would suddenly make way for sadness and anger. Sad about not being able to be with him. Angry about how stupid it was of me to think that we had a chance.

So now I am cautiously enjoying this wonderful feeling of being infatuated with you (or loving you), waiting for reality to hit me again.

Jealousy and Confusion

The weekend with your family, with you, went by way too fast. But I knew that this was going to happen. I also knew that I would feel all this pain to leave and be apart from you again. So here I am now, revisiting the past 3 days, trying to find out more about us.

When H and I arrived, you were already there. We greeted each other fleetingly. As is usually the case when we first see each other after some time of absence, we are more like distant acquaintances than good friends or family. It always takes us a little time to warm up to each other. I mentioned it before, we’re somewhat of the same character, same mentality. Introverted. In the background.

But this time, this feeling of distance between us was enhanced by you frequently checking your smart phone. I am not sure what you were doing exactly on it, but you stayed even more in the background than other times. Instead of participating in the usual “warming-up” small-talk, you said almost nothing, laid down in the corner of the couch and played with your phone. Whatever you were doing, I felt so sad about it. And jealous! Yes, I felt jealous. I’ve been through this type of behaviour before as well and it was always when I was in the beginning phases of a potential romantic relationship. I’d often be checking social networks for that person of interest or my emails to see if he had replied again. I’d be constantly connected. And in order to indulge in my fantasies, I’d be lieing down a lot and daydreaming. That’s what you seemed to be doing, too. You lied down a lot on the couch, doing nothing, closing your eyes.

I know, this could all mean nothing at all. Maybe you were just tired. Maybe you just checked your emails so often because you were waiting for an answer from that job interview you did the day before. Maybe you were just bored.

But maybe you’re in the midst of a blossoming new romantic endeavour.

I don’t like to admit it, don’t like to think about it. But that’s my biggest fear when it comes to you – you finding someone else to love. To be honest, I kind of like the fact that you’re single. It leaves the possibility, even if extremely small, that you do love me back. It’s totally naive of me to think this way, but yes, my silly heart tries to convince me that you actually were not honest with me when I had asked you about your feelings for me. That you lied to me, denied your feelings for me, so that no one would get hurt, especially not H, your brother. We watched some old slides from when you guys were young kids and I know that you are so close to each other, inseparable almost. You would never hurt him. So that adds to my silly thought process. I still get the impression once in a while, when I talk to you or am near you, that certain things you do seem to suggest that you do feel something for me, but that you’re trying to suppress it, not show it.

I know that this is silly. The truth is probably exactly what you told me. That there are no feelings for me that you would need to deny or hide. But my heart plays these tricks on me. It makes me feel better to think that we cannot be together even though we love each other, just because we’re bound by moral codes, because we’re loyal to the other ones we love, to family.

I wouldn’t know what to do should you announce one day that you have a girlfriend. Or worse, that you’re about to get married. Or have a baby with her. This is really selfish of me. I know that. I know that when we love someone unconditionally, we should want them to be happy. And if that happiness entails a loving relationship with someone else, we should accept it and be at peace with it. I don’t think I can do that. Yes, I do want you to be happy. But it’s so hard to accept the fact that I am not playing the part of your happiness that I would like to play. I wonder: would I even get along with her? Ever? I generally have a problem becoming friends with women, I am more comfortable around guys. So it would be so much harder accepting a woman who is with you, who could potentially become part of the family. I cannot imagine what I would feel. How would I handle seeing you two show affection towards each other, kissing, caressing… On the other hand – should my silly thoughts be true – I cannot imagine what you’d be feeling each time H and I are publicly intimate. Or are you jealous, even if you don’t feel anything for me? Are you jealous just because of the fact that you are not in a relationship with someone?

Oh why does it have to be so complicated? Is the human race really made to be monogamous? Or do society and some arbitrary moral rules dictate us to be in such a one-and-one relationship? Would it be so wrong to be together with more than one person? If all consented to it, why should there be an issue? I guess, it wouldn’t work that all agreed to it. Jealousy is a nasty feeling, uncontrollable. It’s a nice fantasy to think about being in a sharing relationship with H and you at the same time, everyone involved thinking it’s just fine. But how would I feel if we added another woman to the equation, make it a 4-way-relationship, interchange the pairings? Would I feel okay when you have alone-time with her? Or if it’s H’s turn with her? That would never work. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Why should you? It only works in an ideal world and that one only exists in my fantasy.

So let’s go back to reality. I’m not making any progress here. I am stuck. When I am not with you for a while, I feel okay. With every day apart, I miss you less and I think of you more as a friend, almost like a brother. But as soon as I see you again, spend some time with you, I cannot help the yearning for more. We had this great talk together on Saturday. Just you and me, no one else. I felt so comfortable. It was fun. A friendly conversation, harmless. But whenever I caught a glimpse of your skin, whenever you smiled directly at me, I wanted more. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all sexual. In fact, I just want to be in your arms, touch your warm skin, smell you, hear your heartbeat, feel your breath on me. It’s this yearning for you that makes me sad, because I already have all these wonderful things with H. He holds me in his arms so often, I can feel his warm skin, smell him, listen to his heartbeat, feel his breath on me. It’s not that something’s missing in my life, there’s no void that I am trying to fill with you. It hurts to feel this way. I am so scared to hurt H, to lose him, should he ever find out. I am happy with him and I am not just saying this. I cannot explain why I feel for you this way, what I want from you.

Maybe it’s just right the way everything is right now. I am happy with H, you’re single, so I can indulge in my strange fantasies, no need to feel jealous. But then again, I don’t think that you can be happy this way. And that should count a lot as well. So it is NOT right. I will need to finally stop these feelings for you, forget about you, at least as a potential love partner. I should be happy to have you as a good friend, as a brother-in-law. We get along well. Everything else will only destroy this. Why can I not stop this mess?

Countdown

9 days until I’ll see you again.

It’s going to be one of those weekend get-togethers. I am actually not that excited right now. Feels like just another appointment in my calendar. But I know that the day before, at the latest, the butterflies will wake up, the excitement won’t let me sleep that night. And during the car trip, I will cheerfully hum along all those happy-go-lucky songs playing on the radio.

The best part is always the first evening together. When all the time together is still ahead, but you’re already near. The potential. The possibilities. The excitement of what might come. I’ll take anything – a short smile, a story about work, an accidental touch.

I also know that time will pass too quickly. Just a blink of an eye and it’ll be Sunday afternoon again. Time to part ways. And then I will feel sad, I will miss you and I will ask myself again why and how. The usual stuff. A few days later, I will feel just like today again. Not really caring, nonchalant even. In the back of my mind, I’ll be glad you’re in my life, as a friend, as a love interest, as a brother-in-law, as you the way you are. Until the day when another countdown will get close to 0…

Safe and Sound

After we told each other honestly what kind of feelings we had for one another, things went back to normal quite quickly. I was actually amazed how fast I got over you. Must really just have been a simple crush. But confessing wasn’t the only reason why I was able to sort out this emotional mess I was in. My life was about to be turned upside-down when I found out that I was pregnant! H and I had been trying to conceive for one and a half years at that time, so we were really excited, happy and thrilled. We were looking forward to finally becoming a little family. And it was the perfect occasion to get engaged to be married as well! Life was really, really good.

Unfortunately, we lost our baby at the end of the first trimester. We were so devastated. The pain was unbearable. It hurt so much. Words cannot describe such a loss. By the time we found out about it, we’d already told pretty much everyone, also you. I remember seeing a smile on your face, a sparkle in your eyes, when we showed you the first ultrasound picture of your little niece/nephew-to-be. Your mother must have told you about the loss after and you talked to H. I know from your mother that you were really sad and sorry for us. You really cared. You’re not a man of many words, you don’t say much, but I still tend to get a sense of what you’re feeling. In that time of coping with the sudden loss of our unborn child, whenever I was around you, I felt okay. I felt understood, silently comforted by you. It took me quite a long time to get back to the way I was before the pregnancy, to regain my positive attitude, trust in life. During that time, I looked forward to spending time with you, not because I needed to see you out of love or because I felt attracted to you. No, it was really for comfort. To gain strength in your presence, in your unspoken words.

I used to listen to a lot of music during that time. Songs to give me a chance to grieve, but also songs to cheer me up and give me hope. There was this one song in particular that I came to associate with you and your silent comforting. It’s “safe and sound” by Capital Cities. For some reason, whenever I listen to its upbeat melody and hear the lyrics, I always feel like you’re talking to me through that song. You could lift me up. You could be my luck. Even if the sky is falling down, I know that we’ll be safe and sound. In a tidal wave of mystery, you’ll still be standing next to me.

I still think of you when I listen to it. And it’s still a nice feeling. I am no longer mourning, but this song will probably always be “our” song. Not at all in a romantic kind of way. But as a symbol for our friendship, a connection on a much deeper level. Of understanding each other without words.

It is possible that my mind tricked me into believing all this in order to better be able to cope, but even now, after H and I finally overcame the loss and the sadness and grew even closer together as a couple, I still feel this odd connection to you. I really cannot describe it, it is just this feeling. A feeling that we are so similar in our emotional ways. I usually don’t like to use this term, but maybe we are indeed “soulmates”. It is also possible that we are not each other’s soulmates. Maybe you’d be just mine and there’s another one out there for you. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone who would fulfill this person’s specific needs, match his or her longings. But this person in turn might have needs that only a third person can fulfill. Finding “the one” is possible, but you might not be the one for your one.

Anyway, those are just some random thoughts that keep coming to me whenever I think about why I cannot get you out of my heart and mind. I feel wonderful around you, in your presence. Sometimes I long for your love, your touch, but most of the times, I simply like to be around you for your friendship, your comfort, because I feel so safe and sound around you.