I met you when I was in middle school and I thought boys still had cooties. I wore flared jeans, Aeropostale shirts, and had the dorkiest braces ever. I cared about what other people thought of me, and I definitely cared a lot about what you thought, too. You were older, and your friends made fun of me when I talked to you. I pretended it didn’t bother me, but it did. I sat two rows in front of you in class, and constantly tried to think of reasons to talk to you. Your hair was a curly mess. It still is. You graduated from middle school a year before me, and I missed you. I don’t think you even knew my name.
I met you in high school when you were a really popular sophomore, and I was just trying to figure out how to open my new freshman locker. I didn’t like myself all too much at that point, but you made me like myself a little bit more. We danced at homecoming. Your friends still laughed. It was awkward for a while, but we’ve always been a little bit awkward. I liked the days when we walked home from school together, but I just liked you in general.
I met you behind my friend’s car when you became my first kiss. I said it was lame, but I didn’t really mean it. I had never held hands with anyone before.
I met you at the end of my driveway two months later when I told you it’d be better to just be friends. I guess I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but you were. I still remember feeling my heart in the pit of my stomach. We lost touch for a while, and it hurt. You graduated from high school, and left for college. I knew you’d change, but I was happy for you. The distance eventually healed the parts of our friendship that fell apart, and we were okay again.
I met you in college when we both had grown up a lot. I was a new person, and so were you. I cut my hair short, got some tattoos, and cared a lot less about what people thought. You started to dress differently, and became friends with people who stopped laughing. I liked you, but I kept it to myself. We’ve always been bad at communicating about important things, so I repressed it.
I met you the night I let my feelings pour out of me in a hallway that smelled like sweaty boys and alcohol. My guard was up, but I let it down because I trusted you. I don’t trust many people, and you know why. Repressed feelings turned into a kiss, and then a kiss turned into you saying, “It’s complicated, I told you it would be. I don't want to sacrifice our friendship.” So here we are, having the same difficult conversation we did years ago. You were hurt when I wasn’t ready, and now I understand why.
I keep meeting you at the wrong time.