I Fell In Love Once (A Short Story)
I fell in love once. It was massive. It made me smile, laugh, cry, mad, and all those emotions that those sappy love songs were so famous to express. I had it hard and I lost it.
He was special. Do you know that no two snowflakes are alike? Well, imagine a two snowflakes conjoined at the middle. That was how special he was.
I have known him for a long time. We went to the same high school together. It could not be helped. I remember the first time that I laid my eyes on him. I was with my current lover then and he was walking me home. We passed him along the way. He and my lover made small talk before he went on his way. I remembered making a remark of how he (let us call him M.H. for clarification purposes) was getting home late as it was already way past dusk. My ex-lover told me that he walks from our school to his home which I thought was highly ridiculous as the walk would have been at least two hours long. I thought him odd then did not think of him ever since.
You know what was funny? I could not, for the life of me, remember how did we start becoming friends. All I remember it happened in college. I was already in a different school. I was in a relationship with a different lover then. It was all a blur. All I knew was that we were hanging out. We would go to karaoke. We would eat out. We would take walks. We would take rides home. I was not cheating on my lover. I was clear on that. He knew. I told him. He trusted me.
I cheated on M.H.
He eventually expressed that he fancied me. I knew. He was so damn obvious. I cannot remember how I reacted then. But, knowing me, I would have played all dumb and surprised and flustered. Well, there would be a part of that reaction that was true. I never expected him to admit what he felt.
It was not going to happen. Me and M.H. No. I told him that. He accepted it. He asked if we could continue on being friends. I was quite certain that I said 'yes' because I was not the kind of girl that would ignore a guy just for a reason like that. Thinking back at it now, I am not sure if that was the reason or if I just wanted to continue having the attention that I was getting from him since my lover then was being an ass. Maybe, I am just being hard on myself. I am not noble but I still have a conscience. I would be appalled at myself if the latter was the reason why I agreed to be friends. I don't know really. I just wish that I am really the girl that I thought that I was and it was not some complicatedly conceived image that I had on myself.
So, we continued being friends. It went downhill from there. I had to avoid him sometimes because my lover then was getting furious at me and him for still hanging out despite M.H. telling me what I felt. Yeah, I told my lover about the confession. I just wanted to be honest with him. Now that I think of it, I am not sure if I should have told him about it. Then maybe, things won't be so chaotic.
There was also those times when we would go out and M.H. would hold my hand or guide me along the crowd or place my sleepy head on his shoulder as if he was my lover. I even remember him making a remark of forgiving his shoulder for being so bony. He was sheepish like that. I don't blame him for his actions. He already told me what he felt. It must have felt stupid on his part if he still suppressed themselves. I let him. I liked it. It was sweet. He was sweet. He was caring. I guessed that I missed feeling those things then. I know that I should have stopped him. I knew that I was leading him on with my silence. But I kept silent still. He was an indulgence that I was not willing to give up. We were friends. And I missed having friends. I could not just let him go.
I was conflicted. There were times that I was cold towards him because I thought that it was the right thing to do. I had a boyfriend for crying out loud and I was spending more time with M.H. than with him. Not that my boyfriend then was making an effort but still. Then, I would feel guilty about treating M.H. poorly when all he did was be nice to me. I would apologize and he would accept it every single time. I was already going behind my lover's back because he specifically made me promise not to contact M.H. again. I wanted to follow my lover's wishes but I did not want to hurt M.H.
Maybe if I just ended things right away with M.H. when he told me how he felt then things would not be so chaotic. Then maybe M.H. won't have the audacity to kiss me. Like I said, I don't blame him. I led him on. But, I guess it comes with the stupidity of youth. I did not know how much trouble I was causing until it hit me right smack in the face. Or in my case, the lips. I told him to never do it again the first time that he did it. I did not tell my lover about it. It was like asking him to kill M.H. for me. I can't remember how many more times did he kissed me before I finally came to my senses. One more time after the first or twice? I do not know.
It was then I realized how much of a bitch I was. I was a conniving, selfish, seducing, bitch. I had to end it. Oh I loved M.H. That much was clear. I cared for him enough. But I was selfish, I suppose. He was falling into pieces because of my temperamental attitude and to top it with my indecisiveness. I wished that it was just me having too full of myself but he was really falling apart. He was the emotional type, see? It takes one to know one.
I was in too deep. He was deeper. I have to save him. Save him from me before I make a total fool of him. He refused to stop any connections with me.
Looking back now, I still feel guilty about how I ended things with M.H. We were not lovers. He was not as others would say 'the other man'. Yet, I still think of him every now and then and my heart would break with sorrow and guilt. My heart would break for how much pain could I cause to a person. My heart would break for how selfish I became. My heart would break for how stupid I was. I could not forgive myself. And you know what is funny? My mind has this thing of forgetting the facts of happenings. This you might have noticed. Yet, it does a brilliant job of remembering how it felt. With that being said, I could not remember exactly how I ended my friendship and my connection with M.H. Yet, an undescribable guilt washes over me whenever I think of him. It must have been four or five years since I last spoke to him. Or maybe six years. I am not sure.
I vowed myself never to be that selfish again. I accepted evey downfall in my relationships after that, may it either be friendly or intimate. Call it poetic justice. Call it karma. Whatever.
I wanted to tell him that I was sorry. No, that I am sorry. I am sorry for leading him on. I am sorry for not having the guts to end things the moment he told me that he loved me. I am sorry for letting him go through so much. I am sorry for being there. I am sorry too for not being there.
I loved him. I really did. I was certain then and I am certain now that it was not the kind that he would want. It was not the kind that would make his heart sing with joy. I loved him more than a friend but I could not make it to something romantic. What we had was… more than romance. I am not sure if I am making any sense. I guess the love that I had was the mutual understanding that we had for each other. It was absolutely beautiful and I destroyed it. I don't regret that I did. I regret that I did not destroyed it before it became something regrettable to destroy on both our parts. I would have still destroyed it for the sake of my lover. I had no regrets about that. I am just sorry that I had him in too deep before I did. I wish things ended differently. Maybe we would have still been friends if I just stopped him early on. I was selfish. I love him still. Never lost it. It might not have been as passionate but it is still there.
I am really not sure why I am writing this. I barely know you yet I am pouring out one of my darkest secrets. I guess I just want to let it all out. The guilt has eaten me up and I did not know it. I still have every single letter that M.H. gave me. He was traditional like that. I was sentimental like this.
I must be going mad. Love does that. Or maybe guilt. I could laugh at myself right now. He was my M.H. He was my Mad Hatter. I was his Alice. I used to be Alice but not anymore. I might already too downright insane to fit that part.
Who am I now? Rose Madder, that's who.