True Colours

I think you’re avoiding me now. You haven’t asked me even once to play with you this week, while you’d asked me every day last week! Really? How come? I’m tired of making excuses for you, so it’s safe to say that you’re doing it on purpose. You simply do not want to have anything to do with me right now.

You’re such a messed up person. When you’re nice, it’s by accident, not on purpose. And now you’re intentionally avoiding me and being a jerk. Well fuck off! Guess you’re showing your true colours finally. And mine are coming through, too. I’m so pissed off at you right now. I’m trying to distract myself, go about my usual routine, but whenever I think of you, I get really mad and angry.

I still can’t believe how I could have been so wrong in judging you. I really thought you were the nicest guy on earth. That long weekend trip to our friend’s place in June was so magical. Sitting next to you during the role playing game, our feet touching, you pulling me into the conversation while placing your hand on my thigh…that was so wonderful. And I remember so many good moments with you from that weekend. Like I said, it felt truly magical to me. And now I have absolutely no clue what it was all about. Where did all the magic go? Did I imagine it all? Maybe I don’t want to know the truth behind your actions and feelings from that trip. Maybe I want to keep this as my last illusion of you that I could retreat to. I’ve held you in such high regard.

It’s all gone now.

The Aftermath

Angry, bitter, sad, disappointed, bewildered. If I had to summarize my feelings right now, that’s what it would be. I’m trying to come to terms with what happened with you. I really do not have a problem that you do not love me back, that you have no romantic feelings for me. What’s hurting the most is the fact that there are no other feelings for me, apparently. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that, on the outside, you can appear to be the nicest guy on earth, doing all the right things, when on the inside, you’re just shallow. Or you’re just doing them automatically, or by chance, by accident. I actually don’t know what’s going on in your mind when you’re being nice. It just never seemed possible to me that someone could be nice without realizing it or doing it on purpose. I mean, it’s a conscious decision for me, especially when it comes to doing specific nice things as opposed to a general kindness. Bringing someone a piece of chocolate or cake, not letting someone eat alone in a room by him- or herself, playfully touching someone’s leg during a game are all things I normally wouldn’t just do randomly to anyone. If I liked that person, I would want to be kind to him/her, I would at least somewhat consciously decide how I could brighten up his/her day, make him/her feel happy. And even if I am nice to a complete stranger, I would still remember it afterwards. It’s so hard to believe that you never even once thought about all the nice things you did for me, that I would even need to remind you of having done them at all.

The revelation that something like this would be indeed possible and that out of all the people you are the one where this is the case is crushing me. And it makes me so angry and bitter. How could I have been so dumb? So ignorant of this? How could I have fallen for an empty shell like you?

I tried to avoid you at your parents’ place this weekend. When we got there, I was able to still act normally, talk and act around you as usual. Then the first night there was bad. I could barely sleep. I even shed some tears. On Saturday I started avoiding you. I did not want to look at you even. I couldn’t bear noticing your body spray again, the usual lingering scent. When someone made a joke, I would not look at your to see if you were laughing as well. I did not want to make a connection again. When your mother called me over to her on the couch when she needed help with her knitting, I had to sit between the two of you. While I explained her something, your feet were touching my leg. Did you even notice? Did you not care again? Were you even aware of it? I couldn’t move away from it; there was no room. When I got up again, my shirt was stuck under your foot. You said “oh” and I answered “don’t worry,” but I couldn’t or did not want to look at you.

I also remember two other incidences where it seemed quite obvious that at least those things were done fully with intent on your part:  the first one was some kind of conversation with everyone. I don’t remember what it was about. However, you made a statement, loud and clear (so unlike what you usually do), saying “I’m just too nice.” Seriously?! That must have been a hint. The other incidence was when H had asked me for a favour. I was in a playful mood so I teasingly denied. H continued the playful conversation, pretending to chew on my arm and saying: “You could get out of it, if my brother did the favour for me. Do you think he would do it if I threatened to bite your arm? Would he save you?” Almost simultaneously you and I answered “no”. Mine was slightly on the disappointed scale (no, unfortunately you would never save me), but yours was so determined and firm (hell no!). Maybe you didn’t mean it that harsh, but then again, maybe you did. Whatever, you made it clear. Another hint, I guess.

On Sunday I also tried to avoid you. Maybe I made it even more obvious then. I have to admit I felt almost hateful towards you. Angry and bitter. I wanted you to notice that I am trying to stay or get out of your way. I wanted you to see me moping and pouting, being upset, being angry. After lunch, when the others got up already, it was just you and me at the table. I waited a bit; we weren’t talking. Then I got up, cleared the table. When I came back, I did not sit down again, but walked right past you into the garden, leaving you alone at the table. In the past, I would have sat down again. We might not have talked much then either, but at least I would have chosen your company. I doubt you would have noticed the difference. (Do you even notice anything at all???)  That day I also locked myself for about half an hour into the guestroom H and I were staying in. It’s in the basement right next to your guestroom there. At one point I heard that you were also in your room. Shortly after, I wanted to go back upstairs, but when I got out of the room, I ran into H who was worried a bit. He asked me if I was okay, if I was upset. Your door was open and I knew you would hear us, so I said loud and clear “yes, I’m a bit upset.”

I didn’t smile at you whenever our eyes met, I actually looked away quickly again. I did not give you a hug to say goodbye either. I don’t know if you noticed any of it. If so, you probably don’t even care. I really wonder what’s going on in your head at times. I saw you a few times sitting by yourself at the pond in the backyard, lost in thoughts apparently. What were you thinking about? Do I ever cross your mind? Do you think about our conversation once in a while? Or am I just an afterthought?

I don’t know what to think of you now. I don’t know what to do around you now. I would like to avoid you, shun you even. Screw up your pointless sharade. I should log onto that game every day of this week, knowing you’re still on vacation. And then wait for you to ask me again if we should platoon, just to say “no, screw you!” Well, I wouldn’t say screw you, but I would feel better to let you down, to disappoint you. Even if it’s just a tiny bit of a fraction of the pain you have caused me. I want you to know that you hurt me. But I guess it wouldn’t matter to you. I am of no concern to you in a good way, so why would it matter in a bad way?

Like I said, I am angry and bitter now. Maybe I am also starting to hate you a bit. It’s going to be difficult to get back into a somewhat normal state towards you again.

Nothing

The doorbell is ringing. I’m stalling before I push the button to open the door. You’ll have to come upstairs, 5th floor. I’m pacing back and forth. So nervous. It’s ringing again. You’re at the apartment door. A deep breath and I’m opening it. There you are. You’re entering. We’re hugging to say hello. “Did you get wet a lot?,” I’m asking since it’s raining outside. “Just a bit,” you’re answering. You’re going into the living room, then into the kitchen to get a glass of water, while I’m still pacing around from one room to another, pretending to pack things together. I’m stalling again. What’s the point? Let’s do this!

I’m going back to the living room. You’re looking at me expectingly. “Shall we sit down?,” I’m offering, pointing to the couch. We’re sitting down, well you’re kind of lying down and you’re asking “so what’s it about?”
– “Do you have an idea?”
– “No, not really.”
– “Well, it’s about the same issue that I’d once sent you an email about” I’m shaking, probably blushing. This is more difficult than I thought. Can’t keep my voice and hands calm. I’m playing nervously with the long sleeves of my cardigan. I am daring to go on: “I guess your answer to that question would still be the same now?”
– “Yes.”
I knew it, but my heart is sinking. You are adding: “I have no feelings for you. And it’s nothing personal.”
I’m nodding. Can’t even look at you. You’re looking at me. There’s a pause before I can go on: “I expected this answer. The thing is that I had recently noticed that you did a lot of nice things for me and I wonder why you did them.”
– “Like what, for example?”
– “Well, like when you didn’t let me eat by myself at our friend’s house. You came into the living room to me even though you already had a seat in the kitchen.”
– “Ah. I didn’t even notice until you sent me that email afterwards.”
I’m taken aback. Wait, what? He didn’t even think about this? Just did this for no reason? This seemed to be so obvious to me.
– “What else?,” you want to know. If you can’t even remember having done this on purpose or not, what’s the point of even mentioning the other things?
– “Well, there were a lot of minor things that probably didn’t mean anything at all either, like during that long weekend at our buddy’s place.” I’m so disappointed. I don’t want to go on. We’re sitting there in silence.
– “Maybe you should teach H to be nicer to you,” you’re suggesting.
I feel insulted or that you’re attacking H. ” I’m not saying that H is not nice to me. I don’t know why these feelings keep coming back. I don’t have a reason to look for another man.”
Again there’s uncomfortable silence.
– “I don’t know how I can help you with this,” you’re saying.
– “I know you can’t help me with this. That’s why I needed to talk to you. To get confirmation that those nice things didn’t mean anything. Because I get confused at times. I don’t want you to stop being nice now either; that wouldn’t make sense. Besides, things have changed a bit since the other thing happened.”
– ” What other thing?”
Gee, you really don’t know?, I’m wondering. – “The miscarriage. One starts to think differently about things then.”
More silence. Nothing coming from you. No comforting words of empathy. I’m trying again: “I feel as if we could get along well, like I get along with my brother. But I feel these other feelings keep holding me back when I am around you.”
– “Holding you back from what?”
– “From being the way I really am, I guess. Or simply talking to you about regular stuff.”
– “Well, I don’t talk much anyway. I’m not into small talk.”
– “I noticed that already.”
– “But it doesn’t mean anything either,” you are adding right away, defending yourself as if I’d put this as a sign that you’d feel something for me as well. Oh my… this is not going well at all. You didn’t say anything about at least getting along well with each other. Then you’re mentioning that you inviting me to play that online game together doesn’t mean anything either, that it’s simply more fun to play together. “I figured,” is all I’m saying. I’m out of ideas. Utterly disappointed. I want this to end. So I’m concluding: “Like I said: this would be quick to talk about. We’ve cleared this up, I guess.”
A bit more silence and then you are starting up a conversation about that online game, as if nothing happened. So superficial, so shallow. We’re laughing, making jokes.

Even later on in the car to pick up H from work, we’re casually talking (even though you just told me before that you’re not the type of person for small talk).

At your parents’ house this weekend, same routine as always. I’m hurting so much inside. I kind of expected you to not have romantic feelings for me, but at least I thought there were some nice feelings, of friendship or like brother and sister, because after all, you have done lots of nice things for me. Obvious ones. But apparantly you did them unaware or subconsciously, without really meaning them. So when you said you have no feelings for me, it means no feelings at all. Nothing.

Nothing.

That’s the worst thing. I did not even consider this a possibility.

I’m not your love interest; I’m not your friend; I’m not your sister-in-law. I’m just your brother’s wife. Nothing else. I’m so utterly disappointed and heartbroken. I lost you. I lost your friendship, even though I never had it, I guess.

Heartbroken

Again, you left. All that remains of you is your lingering scent in my room. Just a bit. It will soon be faded away.

I am so sad. My heart is broken. I already miss you like crazy again. I get lost in the memory of our last hug, one last joke before closing the door behind you.

I secretly rushed to the window, watched you walking away, your head down. Did you feel the same pain?

You disappeared behind the leaves of a tree, your grey clothes blending in with the lush green before the green was all I could see. You are gone. The emptiness you left behind is now filled with pain.

How It All Started

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…

Gone again

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…