It used to make me happy, knowing that I could go to school and have a conversation with that person. It used to make me happy, thinking that my feelings were reciprocated. Thoughts of that person still nudge at the shores of my consciousness, pushed by a wave of smothering emotions. This has been going on for too long. Perhaps it is time to move on.
“I’m sorry Ona, but I don’t feel the same way.” – “Oh, okay. I... get it” – “We can still be friends though, right?” “Of course!” .I am no stranger to rejection, and I always manage to fight off the sadness that accompanies it without any real injury, but that time my heart was refusing to listen to me. Whenever I was around her, it felt like I was in an uncontrolled daze .My cheeks pulling into a smile before I had time to register what was going on. Everything that she said was the best joke in the world; I could feel the warm burn in my abdomen, and the tears of laughter preparing to cascade down my cheeks. Our conversations and opinions flowed seamlessly together, with the occasional disagreement that brought forth a burst of fervour and intense debate. It all worked, it all made sense. It was bliss.
I liked her... a lot, and that’s probably why I felt so certain that my feelings were not unrequited. I struggled for a long time to accept that she didn’t like me. I felt bare, and the world lost its brilliance. School was boring. Teachers swamped us with homework. She pretended like nothing had changed, but I guess feigning normality was too hard for me, so I stopped pretending, and I stopped being her friend.
Crazy right? I can’t believe I thought that pulling away would heal the wounds on my ego and my heart, if anything, it made everything worse. I became filled with anger, and that anger like most emotions needed someone that I could focus it on. She was first preference naturally so I went on to ignore her completely, pretending like she did not exist. I later realised that my behaviour was all just my mind trying to distract itself from facing a very uncomfortable truth. She didn’t like me.
After confiding in my friends, they gave me the sound advice that I should just “get over it”. Soon after, I chose to acknowledge this hard truth. A wave of relief engulfed my spirit and I instinctively knew that I was starting to move on. Trying to light up the dying embers of our friendship was quite tedious, but I knew that if I didn’t try, that single event would govern my future interactions with women that I like. It was a comfort knowing though that I wasn’t the only one who valued the friendship, after a while she also started to make an effort and throw some kindle into the fire. We never did speak about me liking her, but it honestly does not bother me anymore.
Looking back, I can see how I learnt a lot from that experience. When people say that you should just move on, sometimes I think they don’t realise just how tough the journey is, but in the end the tides will recede, and the storms will break, to bring forth the most illuminating sunshine you have ever witnessed.
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