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…