Time is a hell of a teacher.
There’s questions I’ve wanted and needed answers to for awhile; reasons I couldn’t move on, but instead spent my time beating myself up and wondering what I could have done better and differently, and how I could have been more fair. It crushed me and it broke me, because I don’t do well with the unknown. I never have. And I never thought I’d have the answers as to why what was done was done.
Sometimes time is the best teacher, and often times all it teaches you is to be patient. Fate does the rest. There are people that are placed in your path to get you through the tough times, but they’re never the people you expect.
I’ve mentioned my tough time in various previous posts. What I vaguely touched on was that, in the mess of all of this, there was an innocent person that I thought had been ungracefully shoved in the middle of this situation without a choice. This person would be The Boy’s best friend, who I will call E, because I can’t remember if I previously revealed his identity before. I know I revealed The Boy’s, but I’m going back to calling him that, because I’m not in an otherwise place here and now.
Anyway, E is The Boy’s best friend from childhood. They grew up together. I didn’t know E until The Boy and I were together, and I only knew him about a month when The Boy and I broke up, having only met him once briefly and spent time with him once within a group after that. We had become friends, though, having Facebook friended each other, texted, and talked on the phone. He knew how much I loved The Boy.
What I haven’t mentioned is that The Boy, as sweet and amazing as he was, had some issues with relationships. As in, he didn’t know how to be in one. Sometimes I had to turn to E for advice on how to handle situations, and I really did try to help The Boy with his insecurities. So when The Boy and I broke up, it was natural for E to become the one who heard both sides of the story, seeing as he was there to help me help The Boy through the relationship, and help The Boy help himself. E was wonderful and kind and wanted to see The Boy succeed in a serious relationship, so he was willing to help while were in one. What I didn’t foresee was the help he would provide for me once we weren’t anymore.
This isn’t going where you think it is.
E was there to listen to me when the chips had scattered everywhere without my permission. He had tried to help me a million ways to Sunday, but I couldn’t be helped. Nothing anyone said was helping. E tried. But I think the things that confused me the most were the following.
E did two separate things that seemed to contradict each other after the breakup, and then another thing that just lost me from point one. Remember, E is The Boy’s best friend from childhood. But E listened to me and told me that I hadn’t done anything wrong. He told me that this wasn’t my fault, it was just a choice The Boy had made, though he believed it was the wrong choice, and that it was no reflection on me. It was always weird to me. Shouldn’t he not want to hear my side? I didn’t know him until The Boy and I were dating. Shouldn’t he be taking The Boy’s side? Shouldn’t he be telling me I did something wrong, since The Boy was the one who broke up with me and surely seemed to think so? But he never did. Not once.
Then came the part that contradicted itself. E and his long time girlfriend hadn’t been able to make my birthday party, so we had decided on getting together at his place the Thursday after. (He actually told his girlfriend, and she was prepared for me to come. Most people just play it by ear these days. It was so nice.) I was so depressed about The Boy that I felt weird seeing E, but after having a bunch of blood pulled and not being able to drive over and hour home and his house being right down the road, I ended up there. While I was there, he was trolling Facebook and happened to pull up the profile of one of his friends and say, “I have to introduce you to this guy. He’s weird, like you……You know how I meant that.” I am weird, I own it, I love it, so yes, I did know how he meant that. I was flattered, if you want to know the truth.
At the time, I didn’t think much of it or really care, but in the interest of being honest, the friend was pretty cute. Days passed, and I went in and out of a depression over The Boy. In that time, I had casually mentioned to E that he should introduce me to his friend. I don’t know what I was thinking really. I don’t think I was. I liked the idea of trying to move on, but really, I wasn’t ready because I didn’t have the answers I needed. The last thing I needed to do was get entangled with The Boy’s best friend’s friend, right? The whole situation was just beyond normal and more or less what I imagine rednecks who marry their cousins do.
Then, in the height of my depression, about three weeks back or so, E tells me he talked to his friend and his friend would like to talk to me. He had also mentioned that his friend, who we will call F for friend (Welcome to elementary school, my dears.), had his heart broken and shattered and torn up a few years back and was pretty much in the same emotional position that I was. It was now pretty obvious E wanted us to date, not that he didn’t throw in, “If you fell for someone, like F,” a half million times in the conversation and in conversations after that to make it obvious. I really didn’t know how I felt about this, but in an attempt to not tick anyone off since I was technically the one who said I wanted to talk to F and I valued E’s friendship, especially when I found out that E was actually also childhood friends with F and had known him longer than The Boy, I decided to go along with it. More about this later, because I know this sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen, but this is also not going where you think it is.
In the midst of all this insanity that was swirling around one very lonely, confused, angry and hurt girl, E tells me to keep my heart open for the possibility of The Boy and I working things out. But wait, didn’t he just try to set me up with his friend and hint to me in the most obvious way that it actually wasn’t even hinting anymore that he would like to see me fall for F and he thought we were well matched together? So why would he want to set me up with his closest friend of his entire lifetime, but tell me to keep my heart open for The Boy? I didn’t know if I was going left or right, so I decided to just throw myself headfirst into the situation, hit a wall, watch it crash and burn badly, hit rock bottom, and then decide to take Taylor Swift’s advice of not really being able to know who you are until you lose who you are. In my mind I saw flames and no firetrucks, chaos and no cops, yelling with no resolution.
I began to talk to F. I didn’t really know if I wanted to, but I did it because I didn’t want to be a jerk or let anyone down. F really didn’t talk back for a few days, and when he did, he didn’t say much. I mentioned to E that I thought F was shy, and sure enough, he was. Shy people have a history of not doing well with me, except for the one anomaly with the kid I used to work with of who was so shy he couldn’t even talk to a girl, but after three months we were friends and he had his first girlfriend. But that’s another story. Really, at that point, I decided I wasn’t interested in F and would just be cordial and nice and not lead him on since he knew that he was talking to me with the idea that E thought we would both really like each other and should see if there was chemistry and maybe date. I would just let it fizzle out, then I wasn’t a jerk and E wasn’t mad. I hadn’t been interested in getting into anything with anyone anyway with as heartbroken as I was, so his shyness seemed like a way out.
Somehow, something in my gut told me to try with F one more time and see if he was more responsive, and if he wasn’t, to go with the original plan. I’ve learned in life that my gut always knows stuff I don’t know and is always right, so I begrudgingly did it. There was just this feeling from the moment E mentioned us talking that we needed to talk, that we could maybe help each other. With him being so heartbroken and me being so heartbroken and us being able to understand that language, my gut told me not to look for a way out. I once heard that when the way you normally would react to things doesn’t work, react differently. Instead of listening to my head, I reacted differently and tried one last time.
But, before I did any of this, I was careful to check with E to make sure that F wasn’t a good friend of The Boy’s, because I was well aware that if E grew up and went to school with F, so had The Boy, which means they would have all been friends. I didn’t want a bad situation and I certainly don’t want to hurt The Boy by seeing if dating one of his friends could work. I know how hurt I’d be if he dated one of mine, especially when you had the kind of relationship that we did, the one that was serious and kind and sweet and like you see in all the annoying Christmas movies that happen overnight and you think can’t happen; let me tell you they can. The Boy hadn’t talked to F since high school, which was seven years ago, so I was clear, and even though it was weird having his best friend try to set us up, I was honored that he liked me enough to want me to try with his best and closest friend, considering he only knew me from dating his other best friend, of whom broke up with me. I never understood why he would do that either.
This time when I contacted F, he started talking back more. I even invited him to a hockey game and he said he’d like to go. Knowing how shy he was, that was far more than I thought I would get out of him, especially since we haven’t talked all that much. In doing this, I found out something. F is nice. Not just normal, run of the mill nice. Really, genuinely nice. Like, the boy everyone wants and Taylor Swift sings songs about falling in love with nice. In twenty-seven years I’ve never had a guy ask me about myself unless it was for selfish reasons and he wanted something. F asked me about myself, and he actually wanted to hear the answer. He meant it. Take it from me, that alone is near impossible to find in a guy. And I started to figure out why E had told me he thought we would go well together and how serious and right he was when he said F was nice, and that maybe we would fit together.
The still didn’t mean I was ready to try again, and knowing that F was two years out of a relationship and I wasn’t even three months, I was cautious about how to handle this. Then, E and I got to talking a few days ago. He kept telling me to fight for love, that it was worth it, and I yet again, reacted differently, confessing to E that I was stuck. I didn’t feel like love was worth it. I felt like I had done something to The Boy to make him break up with me so suddenly when the last time I had seen him we were so happy and perfect and talking about our future. He said after the breakup that he wanted to try again, and then he stopped talking to me the situation just spiraled and I had never understood what I had done. And, God help me, I was still in love with him. That’s when E, and time, provided me with the best information I could have gotten; the information I needed to hear. I credit time with this too, because had I heard this information any earlier, I would have been torn apart and waited for The Boy, instead of seeing it as closure and a way to move on. I also credit F here a little, because no one has ever been so genuinely nice to me as he has, and if this had been anyone else I was talking to, I wouldn’t be able to think of moving on, because I didn’t think anyone could be nicer to me, though he was a bit aloof, than The Boy.
In this conversation and in this moment, all the things that contradicted themselves made sense; E wanting to set me up with his closest friend after his other good friend had broken up with me and him only knowing me through him, him telling me to keep my heart open for The Boy one day, and him also trying to set me up with his closest friend though he told me this. (Whew. Is anyone else hanging on for dear life in Confusionville, Population You, yet?) The answer to the biggest question I had was answered. I finally had my why. Why did someone I could see myself spending the rest of my life with and thought he could see it too leave and then ignore me?
The answer was so simple. He wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. He was starting grad school and struggling. He did legitimately, fingers crossed, hand to God want to be with me. He just couldn’t handle it. He fought between staying with me and trying to make it work, but ultimately knew he would just be breaking my heart in the long run because he wasn’t ready. I understood this. I had been there with Friend, in that very place, and I chose not to get involved with him because of that. The Boy handled everything wrong, but his reasons were valid. And with this reasoning, I was also directly told by E that this wasn’t my fault. He felt I was good to The Boy, hence why he was more than happy to set me up with his closest friend, and that I hadn’t screwed him over or done anything wrong. I had truly tried with him, and the breakup wasn’t my fault. It was just bad timing, and had we been together later in life when The Boy was out of grad school and ready for a serious relationship, we would have worked, hence him telling me to leave a piece of my heart open just in case things with F and I don’t work out and The Boy finds himself at my door a few years down the road. The funny thing about this was that everyone had long predicted The Boy and I would end up together in the long run because of our chemistry and this fairy tale, movie like relationship that we have that hardly anyone gets to experience; something that is real.
Knowing all of this validated that what I felt was real, and that The Boy had felt it too. He wasn’t faking it. He did care. I had started to wonder after he had stopped talking to me, but now I knew. It also let everything fall into place and made things make sense. It made me be able to let go of the anger I held toward The Boy. It made me understand things, and know I had done nothing wrong, and that The Boy didn’t feel I had either. In my heart I felt like I was just going to hurt someone else because, when The Boy started to ignore me, I felt like I had done something horrible to him without knowing it and thinking I had been good to him. Now I knew I hadn’t. Now I knew all the hard work I had put into us had really been right and good. I hadn’t tried for nothing, because The Boy had no hard feelings toward me. He just didn’t know how else to break off the situation without falling back into a serious relationship with me when he wasn’t ready for one and putting us into a bad circle, than to ignore me. He was doing it for the same reason that I’ve long said if he contacted me, that I didn’t know if I could talk to him. We both knew we’d fall back together. We fell together without trying the first time, because we just had that chemistry, and we would do it a thousand more times until it bleeds and hurts and causes imminent scars and wounds. And the bad things he said to my friend about me? He did it hoping it would get back to me and I wouldn’t want to talk to him so he could forget me. It was an awful, terrible, childish way to deal with this, but now that I understood how he was dealing with this and why, I could move on.
Truth be told, I’m not over him. I don’t think I ever will be, but now I can at least let go and try to move on and let things be what they are. I don’t feel depressed anymore. I don’t feel like I can’t breathe without the pain hitting me in the heart and shattering it to pieces. I still cry because I miss him, and I realize that in trying to get over this, I’ve forgotten all of the good things about us and tried to bury them so I could deal with things, which was no more right or mature than how The Boy was dealing with things. And, last night, I even found myself asking my friend to make sure I remember what we had; that those things you see in all the Christmas movies where people meet and immediately connect, that feeling is so real. It can happen. Because that’s what I want to remember about us, and though it will probably always make me cry to remember that, I need to remember that something real and right can happen. I need to believe in love. I didn’t before him, but now that I know something like that exists, I need to remember, not forget.
Do I think I will ever have the connection and the chemistry that I had with The Boy again? I know that I won’t. We just met and that was it. It was instantaneous. Do I think I’ll ever love someone the way that I did him? No. I know better. But when you add all of that up, I don’t know if I should. I didn’t think with him. I never took a second to wonder if he was exactly what I wanted, and if the lifestyle he lived was one I wanted to be part of. I just dove in, because the chemistry and feelings are there. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, over and over, because it was right and good. I’d marry him tomorrow if he asked. It was always meant to be that way. And I don’t know if I actually want to get married ever. After the feelings, when they’re there, everything else can be figured out with something like we had. But when it all comes crashing down, the regret, the questions, the logical side of your brain, it crashes too.
This time, going into things, I’m taking things slow and logically. I’m thinking about what I want and need, knowing that I’m never going to crash into a force as strong as The Boy again, so I can afford to think logically. What comes most surprisingly to me is that I am willing to give F a chance, because he’s just so nice and solid and has a grownup job with a grownup life and is mature and sweet and understands where I’m coming from and I get him. There’s interest there, for me anyway, so it’s worth giving it a shot, even if I’m not over The Boy. But I never really will be.
I’m cautious. I’m not a stupid girl. I know that, if something were to happen, I’m treading on treacherous ground here. The Boy and I are still linked through E the same way F is. There will be birthday parties and celebrations, and eventually The Boy and I will end up in the same place, in the same room, in the same space, at the same time. And, if I happen to be with F, then things have to be handled carefully. The Boy always told me to find someone who could make me happy, because I deserved that. That doesn’t mean The Boy wants to see it, just like I wouldn’t want to see him with someone, no matter who it is. And I always feel like we will look at each other and just know, but have to walk away. This is made harder knowing that he grew up with the boy I would be with. And it’s going to sting. But I also realize they aren’t friends anymore and that I can be nice and cautious and make sure I don’t date anyone he’s friends with as not to hurt him, but I can’t so cautious as to not give someone he knew a long time ago a chance just because it might confuse him. I have to give myself a chance too. And this is why you always think ahead and of the what ifs. You have to prepare yourself and be prepared, because anything can happen. Maybe it just will.
“I think…I think when it’s all over it just comes back in flashes, you know. It’s like a kaleidoscope of memories, but it just all comes back. But he never does.
I think part of me knew the second I saw him that this would happen. It’s not really anything he said, or anything he did. It was the feeling that came along with it, and crazy thing is, I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel that way again. But I don’t know if I should.
I knew his world moved too fast and burned too bright. But I just thought, how can the Devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you?
Maybe he knew that when he saw me. I guess I just lost my balance. I think that the worst part of it all wasn’t losing him. It was losing me.
I don’t know if you know who you are until you lose who you are. “ – Taylor Swift