I wish this had never happened. I didn’t know I would fall in deep when I walked into that classroom. I didn’t know you, and sometimes I wish I never had. We met because a mutual friend told you I worked hard and was someone you could count on when doing class projects. When you came and sat down next to me on the first day, you shook my hand, introduced yourself, and placed your incredibly oversized cup of coffee on the table. Over a year later, I know that’s because you literally can’t live without it and that it’s something that’s now rubbed off on me.
I remember my first impression of you being, ‘wow this kid has hair blonder than mine’, but that quickly changed to realize you were confident, driven, very sure of yourself, and so, so kind. We worked together in the same group that entire semester and every second of it was great, but I still can’t pinpoint the moment when I knew I was falling for you. Maybe I never even realized it. Maybe I liked being around you so much I didn’t even notice that my feelings were stronger for you than they’ve ever been for anyone else I’ve encountered in my life so far. But you can’t even imagine how devastating it was to hear that Rosie* felt the same way.
Rosie and I went to lunch, something we always did since we didn’t have class together anymore. It was a time for us to catch up with each other, a time for us to gossip about our lives and our problems and our feelings. So, when your name came out of her mouth, I was completely caught off guard. I had no idea you two knew each other. But quickly, the connection was made and we got into how you met her and how you met me and how highly we both thought of you. Then came her confession. “I really, really like him Kerry*.” She said.
And I froze.
Only for a split second.
Rosie probably didn’t even notice, but for me, it felt like an eternity.
Because what are you supposed to say to your best friend, a person you love, when she tells you that she is interested, and possibly in love, with the same person you are? I had a few options: 1) Tell her I liked you too. But where would that get us? We would probably have ended up agreeing to both keep it platonic with you in order to save each other’s feelings, but no one would come out happy there. 2) Made up some story about how you were actually a terrible human so she would become uninterested. But then she would hate you and I would feel guilty for slandering you and then you and I probably wouldn’t have stayed as close anyway because that story would look sketchy if we continued to hang out. Or, another alternative, she wouldn’t have believed me anyway and then I would be cut out of both of your lives. 3) I could support her and keep my mouth shut. Though normally I’m not one to take the high road on something that is of the utmost importance to me, the look on her face made my decision easy. She was so happy talking about you. I’ve never seen her so happy about anything, except maybe when she talks about her love of sunflowers (her absolute favorite flower). She glowed talking about how you were passionate about your family and your aspirations in life, it was easy to see that she loved you. She didn’t know it yet, but she did. And I loved both of you, so I stayed silent. Nodding my head as she went on and on, telling her how she should ask you out and how both of you were meant for each other.
I would be lying if I said those words didn’t sting coming out of my mouth and even though my heart ached with every new syllable I spoke about your destiny as a couple, I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do.
It’s been a year and four months. A year and four months since she told me she liked you. It’s been a year and a month since you two started dating, but it’s not like I’m counting or anything. That first year, it sucked. You two were the people that I was the closest to, but you two were closer to each other than you ever were with me. It hurt so badly when I would try to make plans with one of you only to find out that you two had already made plans with each other. You offered to let me tag along, but who are we kidding, I didn’t want to spend an entire night feeling like the equivalent of swallowing 700 poison dart frogs. I loved that you two were happy. So happy. I hated that I felt like shit and that I had no one to talk to about it. I couldn’t tell either of you because then the question ‘Why?’ would come up and I would be forced to lie about something else on top of the fact that I was already lying to the both of you.
The pain has numbed over time, but, believe it or not, it’s still there. It shows up at the most unexpected times, when you would bring me coffee with my name spelled wrong, when you would make fun of me for the fact that I’m so high strung and I can’t help it, when you would throw me one of those little smiles that has a hidden meaning only I know. I’m still close to you, yeah, and I sort of hate myself for it, but I don’t know if I could have survived without talking to you, so even though it hurts, I still stick around. I am happy for both of you because you both deserve the absolute best life has to offer, and you both, are it. But I can’t help but wonder and go over and over the possibilities about if things had happened differently.
What would have happened if I had mentioned that I was interested in you before Rosie did? What would have happened if Rosie had never met you in the first place? What would have happened if we had never worked together in that class? Would you have still ended up with Rosie? Would you have ended up with me? And that leads to other questions.
If I had voiced my interest first, would we have ended up together? Did you even feel the same things about me that I felt about you? Do you still feel them? Because I do. Before you and Rosie starting dating, there were moments. Moments when your fingers lingered just slightly too long on my arm for it to be completely platonic, moments when you went out of your way to do me a small favor that you wouldn’t have done for just anyone, moments at 4am when you picked up the phone and called me knowing that even though I was asleep I would answer for you, moments when our faces ended up a little too close when going over excel sheets on my computer and I would see your eyes flick down to my lips for a millisecond but neither of us ever made a move. Maybe you were too scared to mess up what we already had, maybe I was, but either way, I guess now I’ll never know.
We only have one year left of college together, but I know you’re someone that will stick around with me for the rest of my life. It’s comforting to know that, whatever happens, you’ll still have my back. If you and Rosie end up getting married, which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, I’ll continue to keep my mouth shut and watch your beautiful first dance at your wedding and know that I had a hand in helping with your happiness. But, if somehow, you don’t and somehow, we end up on this topic, I’ll tell you. It may be a total mistake, but I will tell you. I’ll tell you how I didn’t say anything and how, god, I really wish I did, but I couldn’t. And I’ll tell you all the little things you did that made me fall for you in the first place. And I’ll tell you about all the stupid snapchat videos I have saved of us having the time of our lives together when you didn’t know that I loved you. And I’ll tell you about the nights that I spent crying in my bed because I gave away my happiness for yours. And I'll tell you about how I don't regret that decision for a second because you mean the world to me and I would do the craziest things to make sure that you never, ever, feel the same way that I did.
I have no idea what you’ll say, I have no idea how you’ll react, but at least then you’ll know. And maybe by then, it will be my chance to be happy. And maybe, just maybe, it will be with you.
All my love,
The girl that loves you, but shouldn't
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.