I won’t apologize.
I’m not one to open up and share to everyone about the things that matter to me, the little secrets and passions I hold, the plans I have for my future. But I chose you to do this with because I thought I could trust you.
You see, you seemed like you could understand all of it because you had similar plans, dreams you hoped to achieve, and tidbits of your life (past and present) you also told me all about. You were older, clearly more experienced, but I thought I was all so grown-up to match you because people all say girls mature faster than guys. And even though I told myself hundreds of time, from the very first impression I had of you, that you were a player…your actions convinced me otherwise.
What caught me were those little details you had. The fact that you went to a concert when it was barely a few weeks in since we started talking and you would text me in the middle of it to tell me to check out this song and that. The fact that you were fine with staying up late when you were busy with your homework to talk to me until 2 a.m. when I was upset. The fact that it was never physical, and you were so respectful. The fact that you commuted an hour back and forth to come see me. The fact that you were the first boy to ask me out on dates with witty, clever lines. The fact you made me feel good whenever I got embarrassed about my accent. The fact that you seemed so flustered on the first date we had that you dropped the soup on yourself. Were you aware I notice all that? Was I reading it all wrong?
I guess we were somehow permanently fixated on a Honeymoon phase. You would do anything you could to convince me this was exclusive and that you were not seeing anyone else. See, you’re correct. I don’t have any ground on which to stand to ask you for anything -- after all, we were never in a formal, serious relationship. I thought this was dating. I thought this was the get-to-know someone kind of thing and then ask them out officially. I was a fool for having that expectation, but you were the one who led me on. And I was okay with that, because even though I freaked out twice about how the relationship (if you can even call it that, I guess) was going and asked you if you were seeing someone else; asked you, please, to tell me if something changed; asked you, desperately, for you to be honest; asked this one thing of you…you lied. You were. I chose to believe in you when you said, “I can’t do that whole player thing,” and then when you told me you had been hurt before by someone playing you instead, I believed that too.
It was all so sweet. Several dates all paid by you. I was charmed, and I was pretty sure I was liking you more than I should. I prove myself right on that one. Thank God my mind was not into it as much. You see, your kisses felt tender, sweet, loving. They were not rough, not possessive. Your hand on my face delicately caressed my skin like you were holding a precious, breakable jewel. It touched something intangible in me. You were never aggressive, never sexual, never demanding nor imposing. Maybe that’s why I think I’m so bewildered by all of this. All of it. If it wasn’t for sex, why would you spend the money, the gas, the time you did on me? I guess I won’t ever get that answered.
The sad thing for me is that I am not angry, mad or even slightly feel wronged by you. Stupidly, I still think you are a pretty decent guy, “intriguing and interesting and awkward and goofy and funny” (you know, if you ever read this, where I quoted this from). I cannot make myself believe otherwise, and even though my friends may call you names for leaving me in the cold of silence, not being man enough to straight up tell me the truth (How many times did I ask you for this? How many times I told you I would have preferred to hear it straight from you? Did you not know me at all? People are not pieces of information you can debug.) I think deep down I can’t see you as a bad person out there with the intention of hurting me.
I have no regrets.
I was honest to a fault to the very end. Maybe I said something that made you run and hide (T. Swift was onto the right words!) but that would be your problem and not mine. I don’t think I’m less pretty, or less interesting, or that I have to be someone else to be more liked next time. (Really, what went wrong?) I thought I hurt you that one time you thought I was with other guys and I tried to apologize—but I couldn’t do so directly because we weren’t anything serious and you had nothing to ask of me either. (Isn’t it sad I thought I was hurting you first? I actually felt bad). When we separated, I poured out what my heart felt at that moment—let it all out through a text even though it was not the best means. And I’m not dumb, so I noticed. I noticed and saw the other girls.
Yet some part of me, before even seeing the proof, already knew. So I stopped believing in you. My heart hurt, don’t get me wrong, I used not to believe when people would say that heart breaks, that it feels like it’s tearing in two, like is broken into pieces; but now I do. It feels like a contraction; like it is folding unto itself; like it is pumping slower, getting back up again; like a pang, spreading through my whole chest. It’s all wrong and yet it’s all okay. But there are worse signs than this pain.
Do you remember my laugh? I thought it was slightly high-pitched, small, timid; but it used to come from deep inside my stomach and bubble out naturally and with ease, now it feels like its constricted, somehow like there are holes on its way up that makes it sound like an instrument that’s been out of tune for a while. It’s forced, somehow fake. It makes me acknowledge that I’m still not okay.
I think about you still sometimes. I go through the old messages on my phone I haven't been able to bring myself to erase just yet. Your words were so sweet, and I added color and tone to them. Imagined your face as you would say them, and heard your laugh behind our inside jokes. But it's all stuck on a screen. And new messages won't arrive.
I can't call you anything but a ghost now. Your name still haunts me whenever I hear it called. It makes me jolt a bit in surprise. But I'm relieved. I know you would never dare to appear in front of me. You left an invisible presence that clouds over me, but most days, it drifts slowly away. It's nearing its expiration date.
The thought that we weren’t anything formal somehow helps me. It sobers me up. Reminds my mind that I knew what I signed up for. The circumstances where we met. Even now, at the end, I will choose to believe that it was not all lies, that it changed into something ugly (I would never know what triggered this) and that you felt something too. Because if you didn’t, what was the point of it all? Maybe actually, it was never anything ugly. I just think it wasn’t the right time, the right place. Wrong timing.
Know that I'm healing, and that time will wash away the scars you've left behind as the ocean washes over the shore, once and then again, in a never-ending loop.
Goodbye. For now.