A fictional story.
I looked him in the eyes, and I hoped with every part of me, that this time we would work.
“It’s always been you, you know that right?” I mumbled, tears welling up in my eyes.
Years of back and forth flirting, hanging out, and being forced together by the occasional community function, had been building into this one final moment. I pulled my coat tighter around me, as the winter wind cut through me, bracing myself to walk away.
It had been some cruel twist of fate that we’d ended up together for the night. Somehow we’d ended up at the same post-Christmas party, both back in town to visit our families for the holidays. We hadn’t talked in months, and I’d given up my holding out on my hopeless crush in exchange for hopes and dreams of heading for the west coast at the end of the school year.
He was his typical self; too cool, crooked smile; a casual nod and a wave without ever putting his beer down. A rush of feelings washed over me, but as quickly as it had come, I pushed it away, finding my way through the crowded house in search of my friends.
The party was so typical; old friends pretending the still had anything in common, old enemies dredging up fights long ago played out. I bored quickly, as the majority of people got way too drunk way too quickly in an attempt to alleviate the awkwardness of hanging out with people they hadn’t talked to since this time last year. I grabbed my coat to leave, twisting a scarf around my neck. As I made my way outside, onto the house’s front porch, I saw him standing alone, bundled in his own winter garb, staring up at the sky. I stood frozen, debating whether to talk to him, wondering what he was looking at.
“It’s all kind of total bullshit in there isn’t it?” He asked, without even turning to face me. Somehow he’d known it was me, just like somehow he’d known I’d understand what he was saying.
I moved forward, taking my place next to him, leaning against the porch rail. “It is pretty ridiculous, the way we act like any of this still matters, the way we act like nothing’s changed.” As I talked, I stared out into the same night sky; it was incredibly clear, stunningly beautiful, yet hauntingly empty. I understood why he couldn’t take his eyes off of it.
Yet as I spoke, I could also feel him watching me; he’d turned away from the night sky to take me in. “The way I see it, almost everything has changed; I know I’m not that stupid kid I was in high school,” he paused, uncertain of what to say next, still watching me as I watched the sky.
I pulled my eyes away from the stars, a chill ran over me. I stared up into his gray blue eyes; he put his arm around me, pulling me closer. “I’m not the same stupid kid I was in high school either,” I said, pulling away from his hold.
I wanted to melt into his arms. I wanted to kiss his lips, and never leave his embrace. That’s all I’d wanted for so long. Even in college, meeting other guys, going on dates, they had all paled in comparison to him. Now here we were, in that impossible limbo again. The thing we’d always done. Talk for a while, spend our time together, then fall away from one another, knowing the timing wasn’t right. Every time it hurt me. Every time it made me sabotage my other relationships, holding out a tiny bit of hope for the spark I felt with him. I couldn’t do that anymore, and again, in our last year of college, I knew the timing wasn’t right.
“I can’t do this again, Liam,” I started, backing away, toward my car. “I can’t get my hopes up for this to finally happen, and then watch you pull away again. I get it, the timing has always been shitty, but it is now too, and I just can’t take it anymore.”
He stood, dumbfounded for a few seconds, simply watching me go. Then hee called me back, running out from under the porch, into the snow flurried night.
We stood face to face in the middle of the front yard; a storm of chaos, passion, and pain brewing inside us both.
“That’s what I was trying to tell you tonight; I’m not that guy, I could never hurt you now,” he pleaded for my attention.
I felt myself shaking, a vessel of too many emotions trapped with no way to get out.
We went back and forth. Explaining, pleading, arguing, crying, screaming; the world spun on around us, but I felt like this conversation might never end.
“I never thought I could be good enough for someone like you,” he screamed, exasperation obvious in his every feature.
“You’ve made me feel worthless a thousand times,” I cried.
“I’ve been both intimidated by you, and enamored with you, from the time we were two years old,” he tried.
The fighting continued, an endless sparring of our thoughts and words. Finally, he’d said all he had to say. The party was winding down, and people were starting to leave. We stood in silence as a group of people piled into a nearby car. Both our arms crossed to fight off the cold, but also to hold ourselves together for fear of falling apart now, as we watch one another unravel.
“I guess that’s it then,” he said, defeat ringing through the air.
All but one tiny porch light were off now, leaving the stars our primary source of light. He started in the opposite direction, preparing to never look back.
Tears stung on my cheeks. The biting cold air freezing them in their tracks.
I realized I hadn’t finished talking. I realized that despite my resistance to everything he had to say, I knew he’d changed. I had seen it in everything he’d done tonight. I’d seen it gradually happening all along. I realized that even if the timing wasn’t right, he deserved more than just my angry and hurt accusations of the past.
“It’s always been you, you know that right?” I mumbled. Tears welling up in my eyes as I let the final walls of my heart fall down. I knew the consequences would be great, but I also knew he deserved my honesty, the way he’d finally so openly just shared his own feelings with me.
I’d never felt colder in my life, for a moment, he didn’t turn. I assumed he’d ignored my words, already resolved to give up, unable to feel anything more for me after I’d refused him.
He did turn back to me though, his crooked smile, solemn but sweet. His eyes shining, threatening tears. He took a step toward me, closing the distance between us.
His hands wrapped around my face, pushing back my hair, pulling me toward him. No kiss had ever made me feel so much, so deeply. When we pulled away, he wrapped his arms me, pulling me close.
We stood in the darkness, the snow gradually falling harder. Feeling the warmth of his chest, the strength of his arms wrapped around me, everything felt calm. We could have stayed that way forever, in that one night, our hearts and our passion seemingly greater than the sum of the cold, and the wind, and the darkness wrapping around us. Time could have stopped, and the world would have ended perfectly. Somehow, we both pulled away, and as I got in my car to drive away, I felt, for the first time in a very long time, like I could see exactly where I was going.
Let me know what you think in the comments. What meaning did you get from the story? Have you ever had a relationship or flirtationship that you just couldn’t give up on?
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