I want you to know I respect your relationship.
I know that you love her, and I will not do anything to get in the way. Even still, I cannot change how I feel.
I have been down this road before, with unavailable men.
I fall deeper into the rut of unreturned sentiment. I read the cues of your body language and every subtle signal with an adept eye and tingling skin. You see, I was never one for the language of words—I speak in energy. And yours pulls me in.
But I want you to know that hearing you speak of the troubles in your relationship breaks my heart. Not because of false hope or disillusioned dreams of promises never to be spoken. Rather, because I know it tears you up, standing on the edge.
As the pin pricks deeper in your chest, I feel mine split wide open; a shattering of crystal emerging to land, shard by shard, having formed from the pressure of a century of tears.
I cannot make you love me and I would never dream of trying.
The one thing I want to ask you, is this: What do you want?
Naturally, this sparks more questions:
What makes you smile, in the still-dark dawn?
And where is your personal line in the sand?
Because in your talk of her desires, I heard not one mention of your own. And this is the part that kills me inside.
Please know, you are allowed doubts. As you are whatever feelings you have. Even the feeling that I am crazy (trust me, that might just be our common ground).
And in the hopelessness of what I feel now, I recognize that I have no idea if we would even work. We may be too much alike. We may not offer sufficient challenge for one another to grow.
Or maybe we would, because we know how it feels, to float in the darkness that exists between choices. We know the pain of holding our own voices back, in an effort to keep the peace.
The mays and the woulds could extend for decades.
As my mind wavers, between the what-ifs and the could-have-beens, I realize how incredibly unfair it seems, this pattern I have fallen into, yet again. Because, I don’t know.
I don’t know why I feel this way. Why I pine for someone who loves someone else. Why our timing is off. Why you stared at me with interest in your eyes, all those years ago, and I knew you to be a better fit than the quick sink of the ship I was trying, desperately, to salvage.
I don’t know why as soon as I found my fins, carving venture from the mound of underwater treasure discovered in the wreck, you had already decided to walk on two legs—right into her arms.
I don’t know why we’re drawn to each other at inopportune times.
But I do know this: I know that I trust. I know that even when my heart breaks at the replayed story I find myself immersed in, that this tale is playing out for a reason.
And I trust how I feel.
Which can be summed up by the notion, that when you are around, I have less need for words. And more comfort in feeling strangely understood.
Don’t worry, I know the difference, between understanding and love.
Understanding stems from listening without agenda. As well as from gliding along a similar wavelength. Understanding is more passive than fiery, action-oriented love.
Love means sacrifice and compromise and a host of other words far more challenging in practice. Love stems from choice.
I know the gravity in the choice you have made.
Even more, I trust that your choice has been made for a reason. As have my feelings.
I trust that I will one day glance back fondly, at this fleeting feeling, as just another soul-contracted interaction with someone who may not have spent more than the blink of a spidery eyelash, considering me as anyone other than bright eyes and a warm smile, even during the storm.
Ultimately, each of us stands, exactly where we should. So at this point, I choose to give up the thinking of what could-be, if-only.
Because while you have been wrapped up in the fairy tale of your current relationship, I have been writing my own story, word by word. I have been exploring the art of loving myself. I have spent years discovering my likes, wants and musts. Including my own boundaries.
So, with your choice already made, know that I will be fine. And even with the next choice you make, I will still be okay.
And then with the choice that I make, in response to all this feeling, I will be even better than okay. As will you.
Because I choose the water that feeds the bottom of love’s cavernous soul.
I choose trust.
Author: Bretton Keating
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Image: Michael Patterson/Flickr