Words

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
It’s funny, love and hate come hand in hand. You can’t feel one without feeling the other. You can’t love and not hate, and you can’t hate not love. It’s a package deal, love and hate.

Submitted: March 08, 2015

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Submitted: March 08, 2015

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It wasn’t a love-at-first-sight thing, no. That’s not how it happened. We were six when we met, and at age six, love is a little bit unfathomable. Instead, you sort of grew on me, like the way mistletoe grows on trees. Unlike mistletoes, however, you weren’t a parasite.

I first started to like you when we were nine, though I didn’t realise it until later. A little kid was being teased because of his purple, flashing shoes – the kind that made sounds and lit up with every step. And even though it was none of your business, you stepped in and chased the bullies away. You then comforted the little boy, despite the fact that you had no idea who he was. I, a bystander, couldn’t help but smile as I watched you pick him up in your arms and march toward the playground.

At ten, we started to become close friends. I’d changed classes, and I wasn’t acquainted with anyone in my new environment. But you, unlike everyone else, saw this. Imagine my happiness when you, someone I’d always admired from afar, walked up to me and spoke to me. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but since then, you always stuck by me. Others wondered how the friendship had started.  You were a fun, humorous, outgoing person; they’d always wondered what you were doing with someone like me. Me, an introvert, too shy to even look anyone in the eye.

But somehow, the amity we developed became stronger than any other. And I was grateful for it.

We were thirteen when we transferred into high school. We’d been accepted into the same college, and we were ecstatic – I, for one, couldn’t even comprehend moving into a big new school without my other half by my side. We were even in the same class; and me and you, we were over the moon.

This was the point where I realised I liked you, a lot. More times than I could count, I’d caught myself day-dreaming about our fairy tale ending; the way we’d ride off into the sunset with our happily ever after. You’d be smiling and looking into my eyes while holding my hand, and I’d be blushing and grinning like crazy.

It was also then when we moved on from childhood and into adolescence. Over the course of three years, you became a beauty. Your green eyes were stunning. A number of times I had looked into them and found myself paralysed, frozen to the ground with nothing to do but stare. Your brown hair grew shaggy, and on anyone else it would’ve looked like they had bed hair. But on you, it truly looked amazing. On many occasions, I wanted so desperately to just run my hand through your hair, over and over and over again.

Your jaw became defined, and the baby fat you used to have on your face shrunk away. In my opinion, there was nothing better than a palpable jaw. Your chest – God, your chest. It filled out so completely that you could plainly and clearly see it. You had started working out more intensely, and your abs were more visible than ever. Quite often, your shirt would do nothing to disguise it, and I’d find myself gazing at it with such longing that I was scared to even look your way again.

You grew so tall; you shot straight past me in height. For a while, I wasn’t used to your stature and I’d kept looking at where your eyes used to be – your chest. And then I’d have to rip my line of sight away from your body and tilt my head up to where your eyes really were. You were so tall next to me, and for some reason, I loved it.

From time spent outdoors, your skin grew darker and darker and darker, until you were so tanned that you looked like a surfer model. You, you were the walking definition of the phrase tall, dark and handsome.

And then there was me. I was pale as a ghost, standing next to you. Your radiant brown hair outshone my dull strands, and your powerful green eyes were shining like the sun across the horizon; whereas mine were grey like the storm clouds in a thunderstorm. It took me a full year to hit my growth spurt, and even then, I was no taller than your shoulder.

And when you were sixteen, you had begun to unintentionally attract the girls. At first, they only observed you from a distance, looking you up and down. And afterwards, they’d giggle about you with their friends, whispering about how hot you were. Personally, I didn’t think hot was a good enough word to describe your appearance. Hot was an adjective meant for temperature. The words stunning, gorgeous, eye-candy – they didn’t even begin to describe your beauty. In my opinion, no word in the English language could possibly describe you.

These giggling girls, they were all too scared to approach you because I was always standing there; I was always in the way. And that was okay because that way, you were still mine. It was egotistical of me to think that way, but I couldn’t help myself. By then, I was far too in love with you to think any different.

But then one girl decided to be dauntless and showed some courage. She strutted up to you with all of her glamour, smiled a shy smile and kindly asked for your number. And you, you chuckled and recited those ten digits. You even made her text you, right there and then, to make sure she got the number right.

The amount of jealousy I was feeling at the time almost burned me. I tried to assure myself that it was just one girl. One girl couldn’t be much of a threat to me. But that one girl seemed to open the passage for all the others. Before long, you were giving your number away like it was candy; and girls were flirting with you like no tomorrow. And the whole time, I was standing there, silent and smiling, right by your side.

By seventeen, I decided I was lucky to still be your best friend. You were without a doubt the most popular person in the school, and I was basically a closet nerd. The statement was unquestionable, and you knew it. You were vice captain on the school basketball team, and everyone – I especially – loved watching you play. Girls were asking you out left, right and centre. Some wanted you for your popularity; others wanted you for your money. Some wanted to unravel the secret in your pants; others wanted a lifelong relationship that lasted decades, and then some. Some wanted your children; many had already named them.

Me, though? I wanted you because you were the only person who spoke to me when I was ten. I wanted you because throughout all the drama at school, you stayed by my side. I wanted you because your personality was truly amazing. I wanted you not only for what you gave me, but also for what you made me into. I wanted you because you never forgot about me. You wanted me next to you, and you made that clear. And I was so, so, so grateful for that.

For my eighteenth birthday, you got me something so unexpected. It was the most beautiful, divine and heavenly gift I’d ever been given. A bracelet, was what it was. Silver, not gold, exactly the way I liked it. On it was a small, simple plate, with my name, followed by the year, followed by your name – all in cursive writing.

After you helped me put it on, I marvelled at it, gazed at it with wonder for what felt like hours. I gaped at you with awe, and you gave me this sweet, delightful, captivating, almost melodious smile that warmed me to the core. And for a moment, your face showed an emotion that told me that maybe, somehow, against all odds, you liked me too.

So I decided to do something about it.

And I felt like the happiest, most beatific person alive.

* * *

Just over six months later, it was the day before your nineteenth. Your friends hosted a small get together. I had gotten you a guitar that you had been looking at with such yearning that it made my heart ache. However, I didn’t give the beloved guitar to you at the small party, no. I had planned to give it to you the next day, on your actual birthday. Instead, I handed you an envelope containing two double-sided pages worth of sentences and phrases which I put together to tell you how much I loved you.

The next day, I dropped by your place to personally give you my gift. It was expensive, and it almost beat up my bank account, but my love for you never named a price. So it was definitely worth it.

When you opened the door, the first thing you saw was me. You were about to step in for a hug when you noticed the item in my hands. Your green eyes widened to a point where you looked straight out of a cartoon show. You gazed at me again, and asked me how much it cost for me to buy such a gift. I smiled and shrugged, and you told me I shouldn’t have spent so much on you. My heart begged to differ.

You carefully grasped the instrument in your hands, almost like you were afraid to let it go. Eventually, you set it down and told me you had to speak to me. Eagerly, I nodded and gestured for you to talk. Your smile lit up your eyes like I’d never seen before as you said, “The girl I love... She finally agreed to be my girlfriend.”

And that’s when my heart shattered to pieces. I felt like I was lying in the middle of it all, holding a few broken and jagged pieces in my arms as I desperately tried to keep my fragile heart from breaking; even though I knew full well that it had long since fallen apart.

But on the outside, I smiled, nodded encouragingly. You – you looked so unexplainably happy and you were practically glowing, like the full moon in a clear night sky. And this girl that you spoke of, I hated her. I hated myself for hating her, but I couldn’t help it.

It’s funny, love and hate come hand in hand. You can’t feel one without feeling the other. You can’t love and not hate, and you can’t hate not love. It’s a package deal, love and hate.

You had wrapped your arms around me, squeezing me tight to your body as you laughed and cried happy tears. And I was laughing too, crying tears of melancholy and heartache and sadness, faking my happiness for the man I loved with every piece of my fractured heart. Your happiness contributed to my happiness, and I felt like I needed you to be happy and euphoric.

Bundled up in your tight embrace, I eyed the envelope sitting on your desk waiting to be opened. My envelope. The one I had spent hours holding, debating whether or not I should give it to you. And it was there, sitting innocently, unopened. I remembered the hours I had spent writing those four full pages, remembered sitting down and piecing together every fragment, every component, every element of the letter, making sure it was perfect.

But now, all that effort was wasted. But it didn’t matter. Because it was too late. I was too late.

I was a day too late.

* * *

Less than a year later, I had begun to distance myself from you. I couldn’t stand the way you looked at her, like she was the only person that ever existed. I wanted you to look at me like that, like I was the only person you could see.

So I distanced myself away from you because it hurt less that way. I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of the one thing that I’d always wanted but couldn’t have because I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to always see the one girl who put the light in your eyes, when everything in me wanted so badly to take her place. I didn’t want to have to see the look in your eyes when you gazed at her. Because for so long, I had wanted you to look at me with that same intensity.

I missed you, you know? By the time we were twenty one, we only saw each other once or twice a week. After two years, I still wasn’t used to it. I still wasn’t used to waking up and not being able to talk to you first thing in the morning. And I knew it was my fault. I knew I should’ve done something about my love for you earlier. I knew it was my choice to stay away from you. I knew. I knew so, so well. But it didn’t numb the ache in my heart.

And one day, when we were twenty five, you knocked on my door. By that time, we hadn’t spoken in at least two months, give or take. My strong attraction to you was like a wound that never healed, a permanent disability that I’d have to live with for the rest of my life. I had tried, multiple times, to move on from you. As wrong as it was, at one point I dated three men at once: a playboy, a scientist and a kind-hearted gentleman who couldn’t find a sustaining job. Neither of them took my mind off you. Neither of those relationships lasted more than a few weeks. Neither of them lived up to your standard, and it was killing me.

So when I opened my door that fateful day and saw your vibrant green eyes, my heart throbbed in my chest. There was this weird glint in those eyes, and the hurt I had kept pent-up and repressed inside my heart over the years increased dramatically; it increased so significantly that I felt like I was about to burst.

“Hey,” you had smiled.

“Hi,” I had responded.

You swept me into your arms for a warm hug, and I squeezed you back with the same vehemence.

“I have something really important to tell you,” you whispered.

“Well, don’t leave me hanging,” I joked. You laughed, and it was so enlightening because I hadn’t heard it in so long. I could feel your body vibrating against mine, and it was the best feeling I’d ever felt.

“I’m getting married,” you stated. I stepped back, startled. Of all things, that was the one thing I hadn’t expected you to say.

“You’re what?”

Disbelief was clear on my face, and you smiled as you thought I was happy for you. “I’m getting married!”

I realised only then that somewhere along the line, I’d lost you. You were long gone. You’d travelled so far away from me that you were only a tiny speck in the distance, the size of an ant. Through half of my youth and my adolescence, you were mine. But after that, in my adulthood, you were hers. And I loathed her for that.

I finally noticed your fiancée standing behind you, and I felt guilty for not noticing her earlier. I congratulated the both of you on your engagement; and your girl, she was so sincere and warm and kind when she thanked me. And when you put your arm around her and pecked the top of her head, I knew that she was right for you, and that you were right for her. The two of you were like two halves of an abstract painting; not quite understandable when separated, but completely apprehensible when joined together. And it was such a shame because I still loved you just as much as I had six years before, and you still had no idea.

I smiled for you on that day, because you’d found someone who made you happy. And if anyone deserved that, it wasn’t me – it was you.

* * *

After your wedding, I decided to move interstate, to move on with my life. And it worked; barely. About three years later, I got a call from your wife back home. I didn’t really want to be reminded of that chapter of my life, but she sounded so desperate that I continued to listen to what she had to say.

“H-he was in an a-accident,” she sobbed. “He w-wanted t-to s-see you.”

I didn’t even ask who it was that she was talking about. I’d grabbed my wallet and my keys, and I was out the door in under a minute. I’d moved with such speed that my old sports teacher would’ve been proud.

I drove all ten hours back to my home town. I considered myself lucky when I didn’t get caught in the peak hour traffic jam. But my so-called luck didn’t last long.

By the time I got to the hospital, your girl was almost drowning in her river of tears. One glance in her direction and I knew what had happened; I just didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t believe it. Because if I believed it, then I would’ve lost all hope in you possibly being alive. So I asked her where you were.

Room 307.

I will never forget those numbers.

* * *

I’d stood outside your room with my hand on the doorknob for the better part of an hour. The only thing I know is that during that time, I thought that if I opened that door, it would all become a reality. At least up until that point, I could pretend that your girl was setting up a meticulous prank.

When I finally entered the room, the doctor inside looked at me, and asked me who I was. I didn’t know how to answer. “An old friend,” is what I ended up saying.

But is that what I really am? An old friend? A distant childhood memory?

The doctor informed me that only family could visit, and in response I told him that you’d supposedly asked for me. He nodded, and continued to explain your condition. But the second I heard the words “vegetative state” and “life support”, I completely tuned out.

I looked at you. The brown hair you kept shaggy all this time. Your strong jaw. Your lips that I never had a chance to kiss. And lastly, your beautiful green eyes I’d come to love just as much as your personality.

And that’s when I realised that machines were keeping you alive. I’d never hear your voice again, I’d never see you smile again, I’d never really see you again. Before, I’d wished that one day your eyes would shift to me, and they’d show love – Love for me. But in that moment, all I wished for was for you to wake up, look at me, and tell me something that would make me feel that everything okay.

But you never did.

My wishes never come true.

* * *

And now here I stand, by your gravestone, telling you the words I should’ve told you years ago. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every chance I lost, and every risk I didn’t take. I’m sorry I chickened out every time I tried to tell you my feelings. I’m sorry I stopped talking to you as much after you got a girlfriend. I’m sorry I lost contact with you after your wedding. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, when you asked for me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I’m like that jealous ex-girlfriend in those books, who keeps stealing the protagonist’s love interest away from her. I’m sorry for that. And lastly, I’m sorry for hating your girl.

I love you. But I didn’t come here today to confess my feelings, or to apologise. I came today to say goodbye. To close those chapters of my life, in which you are the main character. To try and forget my young love, while not forgetting you.

And that is why, next to your grave, I buried that bracelet you gave me almost ten years ago, along with that 4 page letter I wrote to you for your nineteenth. Back then, you didn’t get a chance to read that letter. But now you can.

Though I haven’t always loved you, I always will.

So I asked my friend for feedback and she told me she was surprised that both stories had a happy ending. So I was like, OKAY FINE THEN. SAD ENDING IT IS. OH AND LETS TROLL EVERYONE BY NAMING IT THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT IS YEY

You’re welcome. Love you <3


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