When I met you I was just out of school, eager to do everything ‘right’, to be the good girl, unbelievably naive and with incredibly low self-esteem. I thought I was just shy, not particularly attractive, smart but fiery. You were the friend of my boyfriend; you were cute and funny and inappropriate, with a smile that could melt my knees and make my heart skip a beat. I wasn’t sure what those feelings were, but I had a boyfriend so I ignored them.
Something happened between you and him, a fight – over another girl, not me, no my boyfriend was fighting you over the girl you were dating, over my friend. You disappeared from my life, went travelling, went overseas, moved to another town, threw in your uni degree.
It was a decade before I encountered you again, a decade before you contacted me; you were older, taller, balder, fatter, still funny and inappropriate and sexy as all hell, but modelling yourself on Barney Stinson now, not Cartman. You smile still melted my knees and made my heart skip a beat. In the meantime my self-esteem had plummeted, I’d danced on the brink of ending my life, I’d been in and out (and in and out again) of a toxic relationship, and a toxic job, I’d been through the year from hell, where everything that could go wrong did, and I’d started to pick up the pieces. I was after a little fun, and I thought I could handle it. Handle you.
I know that you slept with me to get revenge on him – my ex I broke up with over a decade ago – and I know it wasn’t supposed to mean anything. But it did, didn’t it. Revenge would be a one-night thing, but you came back; we talked, you invited me to family functions, you invited me to your home, you made plans for 6 months away … you talked about our wedding. I was shocked, I was overwhelmed, I was concerned it was all moving too fast, but mostly I was really really happy to have found someone who’s heart glowed in response to mine. All of time in space in a single moment, with you.
Somehow you changed your mind, maybe you felt guilty about the revenge thing, maybe you were actually playing some cruel game on me; although why I don’t know. You didn’t man up and say anything, no, you sulked away.
It wasn’t until I asked to meet up for coffee that you even came close to telling me that you didn’t want to continue whatever it was; even then you did it poorly, with cowardice, lack of conviction and really poor spelling. And then the fire kicked in. I said some things I really shouldn’t have; mostly I was angry that you wouldn’t make a decision, that you wouldn’t be honest, that you thought you could just walk away and I’d be none the wiser. And the spelling really got to me.
I want to hate you, but you never put the last piece of the revenge thing in place, because he still doesn’t know (I know this because he couldn’t help but laugh at me for being that naive). I want to hate you but I still think of you with a touch of longing every day (after two years). I want to hate you but really I still want you to smile that smile, just for me.
I wish I’d told you when I first met you, how much that smile made the day brighter.