Oh God, it’s happening again. That feeling that my heart is coming unmoored, drifting away into a boundless sea.

I told myself that this time would be different, that I would keep up my defenses and not let her in. And yet she enters like a Trojan horse and dismantles my resistance from within. What a fool I was to think I could win.

It begins so innocuously. A simple hello, followed by chit-chat about this or that. Maybe there’s a mutual attraction but that’s no guarantee. I am an open book, easy enough to read. I lay myself out page by page, piece by piece, hoping she will see.

“Only connect!” E.M. Forster wrote. It’s been a lifelong mission that muddles my dreams. My imagination works overtime to follow all these invisible threads that bind one soul to the other. It occurs to me too late that maybe I’ve misread the signs or realized she already loves another.

That’s the sting that makes me go numb. Waking up at some unholy hour in a cold sweat, I succumb to the temptation and reach for my phone. Perhaps the worst case scenario is to have never known. Obsession, madness, and a case of depression all lead me to one basic question: do I tell her I love her and risk the rejection?

Silence percolates while waiting for her reply. An ellipsis appears, soon followed by a declaration of surprise. I thought we were just friends, she says, before inevitably adding, I think you’re really a great guy.

The consolation prize is like downing a vial of poison. Tears stain the windows of my eyes when I choke down the word goodbye. Here I am with my feelings torn open, lovelorn and lost, hopeless and unchosen.