I took the jump and survived

Spending the whole summer with my family was a good distraction but I know my feelings for you didn’t disappear. I could feel them still lurking under layers of happiness that came with spending time with family and anxiety over my questionable future. However, I didn’t expect them to burst back to surface the second I saw your face. My mind kept telling me “He didn’t even say ‘hi’. Forget about him” but my heart ignored it almost as much as you were ignoring me. So, imagine my surprise, when you remembered my name after all those months when we met at a party. We talked for a long time and I was sure I was flirting to my best ability and yet, you still didn’t get any hints. Later that night, I decided that I will tell you my real feelings the next time I see you, which doesn’t happen until couple months later. Okay, I lied. I did see you around but never got the courage to make eye contact, much less tell you I liked you. The fear of rejection that if I make eye contact but you’ll look away was too strong.

The Infamous Day: Some of the greatest moments in life happen without any warning. I didn’t wake up that morning thinking, “This is the day I’ll conquer my fears. This is the day that will change my life”. No, I woke up, flustered and confused, like every other day, seriously contemplating whether I should skip my 12:30PM class. I got dinner with a friend and went to cheer my dance team, which was performing at a talent show in the same building you worked in. This was the perfect and, probably only, opportunity I’ll get for a while so I went for it. Not wanting to overwhelm you, I tried to make small talk but didn’t register anything you said as my mind was screaming conflicted messages back and forth. I still remember the way you leaned in when I said “I have to tell you something” and the way your eyes widened when the words “I like you” escaped my mouth. My courage was running out and before waiting for your response, I escaped. To this day, my only regret is not staring into your eyes and forcing an answer out of you.

Regardless, after my monumental bravery, never have I felt happier and more stress-free. The fact that I didn’t get any messages later confessing your love to me didn’t bother me. I was so content I did something for my own benefit and not following societal rules about guys always making the first move. I felt invincible, which was a pleasant surprise, considering I figured I would be devastated if I didn’t hear from you. The next few days were a blast as it was Halloweekend. I partied with friends, went home to my family, and brought my car to college.

Sunday midnight, after I came back from dance practice, I opened Facebook to procrastinate on homework. What I saw as one of my notifications proved once again that the best things come when you least expect them to. You invited me to your party. It could’ve meant a lot of things. Either you figured out your feelings and are going to tell me you like me too or that you have no interest. But they didn’t come to mind when I saw that notification. All I felt was pure happiness and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole week, whether I was with friends or just walking around campus. A simple gesture from you turned my mood around and once again, I felt invincible.

But I had no idea, until the night of your party, that the one person who gave me so much happiness could also give me even greater grief with only few deadly words: “I think we should just be friends”. Getting friend-zoned was so much worse than getting straight up rejected because there will always be that tiny hope in the back of your mind. Maybe he will change his mind. Maybe he’ll realize what a great catch I am when he gets to know me better. Maybe one day, he’ll look at me the way I look at him. At the time, I smiled and pretended your rejection didn’t bother me. But over the next few days, there was never a moment when you weren’t on my mind. I didn’t know if I should smile because we are friends or cry because that’s all we will ever be. I never knew until then how bad it could hurt to lose something you never really had. And the fact that you asked for my number to stay in touch “as friends” didn’t help. The self-control required to stop the temptation to text you to hang out or just talk was too exhausting. You were too polite and blamed yourself as an excuse to turn me down but I think we both knew the real reason. You weren’t attracted to me. Period. It wasn’t because you think you are a bad person and think that I deserve someone better. It wasn’t that you weren’t ready for a relationship. It was just the simple fact that you weren’t interested.

I haven’t seen you since that night but I can still smell your cologne and hear your voice. But sometimes, we must forget what we feel and remember what we deserve. I deserve someone who is open and honest with their feelings, someone who will appreciate me, and what I have to offer. Someone who will make the effort to be in the relationship and care about it as much as I do. And you deserve someone who you love and who you can’t imagine a day without.

I will always like you and will probably never forget how you made me feel but, for my sake, I’m letting you go. I’ll still giggle and feel giddy if you ever text me or say ‘hi’ but I’ll enjoy the temporary happiness and won’t let it turn into a pathetic hope. I’m not angry with you, just slightly sad. I’m glad I met you and don’t regret any of our exchanges. You gave me courage and the opportunity to explore what I want and how I can get it. You changed my life, making me more proactive. I wish I changed your life too but the chance is reserved to another lucky girl. You will be a bittersweet memory some day and I’m glad I’m waiting for that day, instead of denying it.

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