There was nothing worse than watching the man you loved fall in love with someone else. There was nothing worse than watching him embrace her the way he used to embrace you. The way he’d tuck her hair behind her ear with the same gentleness he used with you.
I thought it would be easy: seeing him happy again. It was supposed to be, anyway, especially since I told him to be happy without me.
They were sitting on a picnic blanket together, sharing a small bowl of mixed fruits. I used to hate the picnics because ants would crawl up my legs and get into the basket. But if I had the choice, I would give anything to be her. To be the one he was laughing with as they fought over the last piece. I would give anything for that single moment.
But it was too late.
I gave him up for my own selfish gains, and look where that got me.
When I was fifteen, I met Noah at the local record store. Neither of us actually wanted to be there – we didn’t connect with music – but it was raining and the roads were too foggy to go home in. So we stayed there, listening to the raindrops patter against the windowpanes, to the cars splash water against the empty sidewalks, hoping that the rain would stop soon enough so we could both get back to our mundane lives.
I hadn’t intended to speak to him. Back then, I had thought that he was intimidating, too intimidating, and someone that I didn’t want to mess with.
He, however, seemed to have other plans in mind. Despite his brooding outward appearance, in reality, Noah was anything but, and the contrast between his outward appearance and inner values made me love him that much more.
“Crazy weather we’re having, huh?” he had asked with a small chuckle.
I remember shrugging. “I mean, it’s Vancouver. What did you expect?”
“Well, I didn’t think it would ever get so foggy I couldn’t go home.”
“Well, sorry to say this, but, welcome to Vancouver.”
When the rain let up, he’d left without a word, and I made my way home.
I didn’t see him again until I was seventeen.
Noah was my best friend for that brief time we were together. I didn’t hide anything from him; my scars were always on display.
So I suppose it wasn’t a surprise for us to be separated a year later.
I should’ve hidden my scars better. But I thought he understood, and maybe he did…or maybe he didn’t.
And now…three years since, it still hurt me a little to see him with this new girl. She was beautiful, kind, smart…the kind of girl I should’ve been. The kind of girl I would’ve been.
I wanted to be everything and more for him. Just for him. But my own selfishness got in the way, and when I tried to get both, I ended up losing him. It wasn’t fair, but it was life.
She leaned in to whisper something in his ear, and I knew enough to be able to tell what she said. I felt something ache in my chest, the kind of ache that only showed up when you lost something. And I lost him to her. I lost him to my choices. I lost him because of what I did.
Noah, I loved you so much. I loved you more than anything else in this damned world we live in, and I’m sorry that I am the reason I had to part ways with you. I’m sorry I couldn’t just let it go. Most of all, I’m sorry you had to be the one to find me that horrible day. I’m sorry I was even there for you to find. I should’ve been elsewhere, where you wouldn’t have to see me like that. I’m just sorry for everything.
Sometimes, I thought he could see me, but I just stood still and tried to be inconspicuous.
It wasn’t until later, after years and years had gone by, that I realized he did see me.
I always used to say that he was the only one who could see me for what I was. What I would become.