May 5, 2015

I Told Her.


          I told her.
          We've been dating for three years. Long distance. No video calls because I told her my laptop doesn't have a webcam. No phone calls. She's watched the tv show that bring anonymous internet lovers together when you find out a girl that the boy has been chatting with isn't actually a model and she's probably a relatively overweight girl with self-esteem issues. I know she knows the red flags that I'm not who I say I am.
          But, I am.
          And I am very much in love with this girl.
          But, tonight I made a mistake.
          And I told her.
It's been three years, why haven't we met yet?
           I didn't have an answer for her. I've given her excuses after excuses.
          “Oh, I have a big test to study for.” When she asked to come in for my birthday.
          “Money has been really tight.” When she asked me to come in for Valentine's Day.
          I had given her every reason in the book as to why we haven't come face to face yet when truthfully, I was afraid. I've built this girl up in my mind through text messages and she's been the only constant in my life for the last three years. Throughout other relationships, throughout my transfer to a university, throughout my parents' divorce. She was my best friend before she was my girlfriend, but as we began dating the flaws between us became more prominent. There would be nights where I would go out dancing, but it's just dancing, you know? And she would get all worked up about it. She began to get progressively more jealous and I began to feel restrained, which, as a newly independent college student, was not something I wanted to feel.
          I didn't want the attachment to someone when there were so many experiences to be had with the hundreds of other females on campus. There were new classes, new people moving into our apartment, new friends to make which meant new party scenes to discover.
Just be safe. Okay? I'm going to wait up for you to get home...
          She always stressed about me drinking and I drank because I'm stressed. There's no money, class work is piling up, and the future terrifies me. I found solace in the bottom of a bottle and that was a temporary solution to more elongated problems.
          I know why she worried and she has been worrying since the drunk driving accident I was in a couple of months ago. Now she panics and she waits up for me. I have a girl nine hours away that stays awake just make sure I'm okay.
Can I ask you something?
          Sure. Anything.
Have you kissed anyone else since we have been together?
          I was torn between honesty and ignorance. I wanted to spare her feelings. As far as I knew, she wasn't running around with any other boys in Chicago. She has become progressively more absent for long periods of time, but I'm assuming it's because of work. If there was somebody else, I made her promise she would tell me. But, at the end of the day, I don't think I really want to know.
I hate you.
          Those words lit up my phone screen and I stared into them until they were branded into the back of my eyes. I knew I fucked things up this time. This is the same girl who stayed with me through every petty argument, through my temper, through the excuses, through the stressful days, through the nights I almost didn't make it through, and although I knew how severely I had hurt her before, I knew I did it this time.
          She never hated me.
          You deserve a lot better than me, I told her.
          I've hated myself every single day for it, I told her.
          I just can't do this to you anymore, it's killing me, I told her.
          I was persistent on freeing this girl. I knew there were more promising boys out there for her. Ones who wouldn't kiss girls on alcoholic impulse and ones who wouldn't disappoint her. I wanted to go back to what we had before we fought all the time. But, that was just a friendship and we had talked too deeply about the future for me to consider going back to a platonic platform. I was torn between my desire for immediate physicality and the emotional connection deeper than the Pacific Ocean that we shared.
The girl that you kissed, I bet she can't talk to you about 'Looking for Alaska' or Byron and Keats like I can. She doesn't know the struggle that you endure on a daily basis between your family distress and your school work and your future. She doesn't know your favorite shade of blue and she doesn't know which songs make you happiest and which make you the saddest. She knows how you taste. She knows how your hands feel. And as much as I crave that knowledge, too, I value what we have a lot more than an intoxicated exchange.
          She began apologizing because I was going to be falling asleep in tears tonight. She apologized for the pages upon pages of text messages that I told her I rightfully deserved even though each word I read was one more bullet through the chambers of my heart.
          She was persistent on keeping me.
          I don't want to fuck up with you, but I want you, I told her. I want to be yours.
          I'm just so damn sorry, I told her, I don't even know how to make things better.
          Somehow we stayed together that night. I don't know how we did it, but we did it. She told me that three years was a lot to throw away over one kiss, but I was worried. I was worried that something was going to happen and I would fuck up worse than one kiss.
If you care about this, then you won't. Then you'll stop yourself. You'll see whatever face you've built for me on the girl that you're going to make love to and you'll stop yourself. The future may not be going anywhere, but I want the present, too. I fought for you. I fought hard for you. And I waited my turn to be yours. If you're willing to throw the foundation we have built for our future away over a night of physical pleasure, then so be it.
          I didn't know what the future had in store for us. I admitted that to her.
I just want to be good enough. I want to be the only girl that you think about.
          She's the only girl I want. I just made a mistake.
          Can we just sleep this off? I just want to sleep.
I love you. Goodnight.
          I slept for six hours and woke up to a text message at 6:03am.
I want you to know I've been thinking about you. I've been thinking about us and how I want to feel our bodies entwined while the rain hits the window and we just sleep and everything is okay. You and I, we are okay.

          That's when I knew every piece of pain we caused each other, every word, every emotion, every absence, every unanswered question could survive any scenario because we were in love. Regardless of the thousands of guys she encounters on a daily basis, the ones who ask for her phone number at work or sit next to her in the classroom, the guys who know what perfume she wears and how her eyes look when she's confused and exhausted, the guys who make her coffee in the morning and the ones that sit next to her on the commute home, I'm the one that she would fall asleep thinking about and that was reason enough to keep my heart focused on what really matters. We both encounter hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, all that matters is her and I.

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