Everyone has been in this situation at least once in their life with the one who got away! Mine was quite similar. He was the quintessential fuckboy (if I may say so), no girl could hold his attention for long. So, I knew that I could never be a part of that complex cycle and ruin our friendship. Sounds done and dusted? I also knew he was one of my closest friends so there was no way out. One-sided love is like having the most delicious junk food. You know it’s bad for you, but god damn it looks, feels and tastes like heaven!
But, it’s the only kind of love that teaches you some of the harshest - albeit, truthful - lessons of life you may ever learn. It’s freedom to love without inhibitions. It’s throwing caution to the wind. It’s like telling the devil you dared. You’re going to pay for it; you just don’t know when and how. And so, I did it all - irrevocably, unfailingly! I organised his parties, surprised him on his birthdays, made playlists of his favourite songs, took midnight drives by the sea and expected nothing in return. Selfless love is as evil as it is painful. But knowing that none of his girls could make him smile the way I did - they didn’t know him like I did - somehow made me feel like I was superior; like I had more than they ever would. And that’s where the problem lay. You see, things are never as they seem to be.
The love songs were always about him, I sang to him, subconsciously hoping he would get it - that it was him. He didn’t. Fast forward to a few years later, we’re both 25 and life has caught up. Living in different towns, we started talking less and less often; but I was still constantly updated about his life - through him and through social media, of course. I saw all the couple’s selfies he posted and diligently liked them. That’s what friends do, they say. And I liked the fact that the girls never stayed the same for more than a few months, at most. It still made me feel superior to them, somehow; like I had something they didn’t. I did. I never dated, or confessed my feelings to him for they were mine, and only mine to feel. I had something even he didn’t - feelings.
I finally began dating a year ago and fell in love, this time, for real; and with someone, who loved me right back. But, is it possible to love two people at the same time? That’s a question for another day. But our story didn’t end there. Not so easily, at least.
He called me up one Sunday morning. We’re both 26, now. He tells me he has great news and I’ve never heard him sound happier. “Baby, I’m getting married!” But, who was this girl? Last I heard, he hadn’t been dating anyone. Turns out a childhood friend we’d known for years reconnected and they hit it off immediately, the parents met within a month and fixed everything up. I cut the call mid-sentence as he described their heartfelt love story. I couldn’t hold back my tears. Was this the trigger I had needed for all the years I held on? Was it a sign that now was the time to let go? Had I, finally, lost the man I had always loved? I began to wonder, that maybe, had I not distanced myself from him, I would have been that girl today… Could I have been the childhood friend he realized he’d been ignoring all his life? Did I let go just when it was about to get better and, thereby, losing my chance at that one true love you always hear about in movies and books? My boyfriend, at the time never seemed to understand why this situation bothered me. I don’t blame him. I never openly declared my love for this person for anyone to anyone but, my own self. It was never a contest between the two of them. My best friend was my first love; but, he was also the one that got away.
Would I be attending the wedding? No. I severed all ties with him. It’s not his fault, he never knew. I did what needed doing. My reaction had definitely made him realise that something was different with me. But he never asked and so, I never said. I don’t know if that hurts or soothes more - his indifference.
Unrequited love is not for the weak-hearted. It’s like wanting something while knowing in your heart that you’re never going to get it; not if you did it a thousand times over. But, we need it. We need to feel so deeply for one person in ways that are irreversible. We need to feel the love and the indifference; the hurt and elation; the selflessness and the stubbornness. It’s what makes you grow; rise, in love. Would I do it all again? No. But, some things are beautiful simply because they’re only ever going to happen once. And so you make the most of it and feel with every atom of your body; like today is all you have and they might not be there tomorrow. Because, chances are, my friend, they won’t.