Can you believe we’ve known each over a decade? I certainly can’t. Good lord. Are we really almost 40? It doesn’t feel that way.
I met you during the nun phase. On MySpazz. After that top blogger (Awesome Zara) “discovered” me and that blog I wrote about that man who first crushed my heart. You were among the throngs of people to read my very evolved account of loving and losing him the year my mother died. The year of the cyclone. And suddenly, I had a following. It wasn’t just my friends and a few randos. And I am grateful. You guys kept me going.
But you were different. I remember your profile photo. That dark one where you looked even more tall, dark, and handsome than anyone had a right to look. But you were off-limits. Trouble. So, I stayed polite.
Of course, with you, my decision to remain distant meant nothing. You would get what you wanted. You always did. And that was part of why I liked you.
But I swear–something happens in the Universe when you decide to “be a nun.” It’s like a wolf whistle telling every available man that this girl needs something or other that you can provide. And oh–hey–Temptation–fancy meeting you here at the damn nunnery.
I swore off sex that year because I’d blown it in a big way with a guy I sorta loved (but now I realize I didn’t). Or rather–I blamed myself instead of just seeing it for what it was–a mutual fuck-up. But yes–I fucked up. And yes–I needed to heal. Yes–that other man just kept stabbing me. And yes–I had no business being with anyone. And since I don’t fuck anyone unless it’s potentially long-term–I just didn’t want to go there. I didn’t want to inflict my bullshit on any poor soul who ran into me. And of course I announced such things–as I pondered what that meant exactly. Because I work my way through thoughts and feelings in writing and back then I had no filter.
I’ve learned. God, have I learned.
I don’t remember how we first started talking. I know you commented a lot on my stuff. Especially my photos. I was in my experimental phase–learning to use my best friend’s camera. It was a time of playing with identity. Dressing up and down–creating characters–seeing who I could be. It was fun, and I was good at it. And I think that’s why you liked me–initially.
But I was more than that, and you were drawn to tragic girls. Girls you could rescue. I know this–even if you wouldn’t admit it. And I was a girl to rescue back then–even if I was loathe to admit it. The death was fresh, and I was a raw nerve. That was another reason I had no business being with anyone. I had no idea who the fuck I was without her–my anchor. I was reckless and unreliable–the opposite of who I knew myself to be–and it didn’t much matter–or I really didn’t care–or at least I couldn’t stop it. And then you showed up.
There was no conversation about your friend zoning. It was just what it was. Because obviously. But you, of course, never liked labels. And we started chatting as one does when they meet on weird social networks. But, for me, at least–it was always friendship I wanted. And maybe it started out as some challenge for you, but it quickly became something else. Mostly because I wade in the deep end, and you couldn’t hide your broken heart. I knew it instantly. Recognized it as a kindred to my own. And you started telling me about the girl who broke yours–who broke you and made you something you weren’t meant to be. And I sort of saw through all your suave man shit.
I told you the truth. I listened to you cry. I was angry at that woman for you. And I did my best cheerleader impression–dragging you out of the mud and into the light as I so often have been known to do.
And one day, you told me something that surprised me. You said you loved me. And I laughed at you. (God–I was like the worst). Mostly because I didn’t think it was true. You loved the idea of me. You loved this girl who helped your heart heal. But you never loved me. We still kept talking–surprisingly–until one day–we got into a big fight about victimhood. A huge, epic fight that revealed our differences. World War III. And as much as I cared for you–as ambiguous as I felt about our friendship–I knew then and there that we weren’t meant to be more. So, I gave you some space, and in that time, I met one of my great loves–completely by accident. Oddly, talking to you was what allowed me to be ready for him. And you got pissed about that–mostly because you despised him and thought he’d break my heart. You, of course, were right. As you usually are, about me.
We didn’t speak for a long time. Several months after that ended, we both called each other at the same time. It was odd how we always were on the same wavelength. And we caught up–laughing at our parallel lives. It was why you always called me your twin. We always seemed to see the world in similar ways and always seem to deal with the same shit. Like the Universe knew we needed each other to lean on.
You always pushed for something, and I always evaded your grasp–usually because I was with someone or seeing where something went. And when you were single, we were either in a fight or I was unsure–always so protective of your heart–knowing how much I could hurt you–not wanting to do what she did. It went on like this for years. This dance. This push pull thing we always do. I often kept my distance just to avoid the conversation. Because you never could just let it go and be my friend. And I was often pissed at you. At how much you thought you knew about me. And I knew then that you loved me, but I knew I didn’t love you the same way.
And then you met someone–and I was genuinely happy for you. Wanted only the best for you, and she seemed to care for you. But I stayed away–and you didn’t understand–because I didn’t want to ruin it for you–and I knew our relationship could.
But, as we do, we never stay away too long. A random text or call–“Hey. I miss you.” “Hey–can we get ice cream?” “Hey–I’m moving.”
You broke up with her for a while, and for an instant–I was ready. Maybe you WERE the right guy. Maybe I was wasting my time with everyone else. Maybe I was wrong. I owed it to myself to at least see, right? For an instant, I wanted to try–but you got back together before I got the nerve. And then we’d talk about you’d tell me how mean she was. And I’d tell you–as your friend–that you should leave. That you deserved better. And then–we’d do this dance. You wouldn’t leave her unless I agreed to be with you. Manipulation. And of course, I couldn’t. I told you to leave her, and we’d talk. But to not do it over me. For yourself. Because I was always your friend. Always wanting what was good for you.
But you wouldn’t–because now you were more afraid of being alone than settling for someone. So, you tried to have sex with me–while being with her–and I wouldn’t go there because you know I’m not that girl.
I was pissed at you. And one day, I was so pissed that I literally yelled at you that I always loved you–but that you never just let it evolve. You always pushed for everything. And now you were some bitter chickenshit–and that was my fault. And it was a mess. And you stayed with her. And she hates me. So, I still keep my distance. And I didn’t say goodbye when I left Colorado. I told you–you know where to find me.
And you do. I know you’re not it. That you never were. But I do love you. You are bitter and broken in ways I can’t fix. And I really can’t take that. Because, mostly, I’m the fixer. And I need you to be who you were when I laughed at you.