you don’t call it a crush, because it’s not, not really. you’d always thought there would have to be more emotions involved before you can label anything as one – but even you have to admit that this one’s close, close enough that it might just be you being stubborn and refusing to admit to the obvious.
this one’s close, because sometimes he turns you into a tongue-tied nervous wreck and that only happens when you actually care. and sometimes you dream of fragments of him and you wonder how much your subconscious has latched on without your realizing. you wonder if he has a girlfriend already, and then think, of course, why wouldn’t he.
(it’s only the ones you’re nervous around that you really like.)
when you close your eyes, you dream of rickety paris streets and unending hawaiian beaches. they’re half-dreams and half-nightmares – you call them the latter as well because when you wake up, the ache of what you can’t have is twice as strong now that you’ve had a taste of the could-have-beens (even if they’re just the constructions of your mind).
they’re could-have-beens, not because of rules or expectations but because of your own self-confinement. because you want to see the world but you know you’ll never be brave enough to do half those things you imagine doing – and that’s worse, somehow.
I don’t miss her, you tell yourself, nails digging into your palm and ignoring the part of your mind that’s laughing and telling you what a big fat liar you are. there’s something bittersweet in the back of your throat, and you swallow it back deliberately. I don’t, you say (again and again and again; you wonder who you’re trying to convince) and will it to be true.
it’s better this way. she wasn’t everything, but she was so much (too much) and you need to learn to be self-sufficient again. better now than later.
the worst part, you think, is the way you act towards each other, the way she tries to pretend nothing’s changed (or maybe that’s you, maybe you’re the one holding onto what isn't there anymore – you were never very good at letting things go). you still talk to her, still (try to) make plans for dinner, still consider what you should give her for christmas – december isn’t too far off, after all – and the whole time, you wonder if it isn’t better for things to drift off; a confrontation-less breakup.
she smiles at you, honest and understanding, and it means the world to you – but she smiles at everyone else just the same and it makes something in your stomach clench when she does.
jealousy isn’t becoming, people have said, but you’re no saint, you don’t have endless patience or even an even temperament (not for lack of trying though), and sometimes you want to indulge that five-year-old in you and say that it’s not fair, I knew her first.
you love him, you love him until it almost hurts but you make sure you admit to it often enough that anyone would dismiss your comment without a second thought. you wish you could have that kind of enthusiasm about other things, about things that actually matter – and you say so, out loud – but when it comes down to it, you think he does matter, and you don’t regret it, not really.
she’s a gorgeous person, inside and out, and you’re a little stunned because you don’t think you’ve met anyone like this in a while. you tell her you love art and she tells you she loves jesus, and you don’t believe in what she believes but you can tell she means it, and that’s inspiring, somehow. some people might say she flaunts her faith, but to you, it just means it’s such a fact of her life that she doesn’t think it’s unusual to bring it up, to say things you’re skeptical about as if it’s a fact of life.
(you wish that you can believe, that you have enough strength of mind and faith to not analyze the world looking for cracks in logic. after all, that’s not what religion’s about – but that’s how your brain works, and so maybe you were doomed to this all along.)