The thing that’s so hard about having him know how I feel about him is that there isn’t any place to hide.
When I talk about Chris to Seth, he plays along, but I can tell he’s wondering why I’m pretending. He’s thinking - why are you even saying this? We both know who you really love. But he doesn’t call me on it. I think he understands - how I almost need Chris as a barrier, a way to show him – look, I’m not really so in love with you... see, I’m not really as desperate as you might think.
I feel like we can’t be affectionate now, not the way we used to be, when he would hug me for no reason, or pull me close to him on the couch when we were watching a movie. Now there’s this invisible barrier of intention - if I do this, it'll make her feel this, so I’d better not do it.
Tonight we were talking in the backyard on the ancient, dusty patio couch and at one point he reached over and gently tucked my hair behind my ear, saying, “There, now I can see you.”
My heart started racing (because my heart still has not received the memo about how I'm supposed to be getting over him) and there was this moment where I looked up at him and he must have realized, oh crap, that’s where the line is. He gave me an apologetic look that made me feel awful, because I don’t want his empathy, I just want him to love me.
It must have shown on my face, the kind of heartbreak I felt in that moment, because he shook his head and then silently mouthed “sorry.” He looked so sad, which made me feel even worse, because it just drove it home – he doesn't love me, not the way I want.
A few seconds later I told him I was tired, and he nodded and almost started to hug me, friggin stopped himself (ouch), said goodbye, and left. I stayed out there for a while, blinking back tears, wishing he didn’t know, wishing I’d never, never, never had a jealous breakdown, and wishing things were different.
Sometimes I write stories about how I wish it could be. I should probably burn them, but I’ve read them so many times that they almost feel real to me. It would be like burning little pieces of my heart, and I can almost already feel them, singed and blackened, little sparks of heartfelt paper floating away in the wind.