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The camera man began the countdown, and I froze as the blinking recording light came on. It was time for my moment, my big break- and all I could think was that I’m not ready.
It wasn’t a camera man. It was you. We were in a store, goofing around and trying on stupid clothes. And as we walked down the mall corridor, you grabbed my hand. I made an offhand joke, but inside I was uncomfortable. The moment had come, where someone wanted to show ownership in the most innocent way- holding my hand. No ass grabbing, no lip biting, but simply intertwining our fingers under the fluorescent lights, making it known to the world that we are each others.
I wasn’t the girl who grew up dreaming of weddings and knights, of romance and grand gestures. Maybe for a time those thoughts crossed my mind, but then daddy leaves, and the match he lights on his way out sets fire to those fairytales.
In the present, I am a classroom desk riddled with scratches and ink stains. I am a realist in the body of a dreamer. I am opposing ideas, I am constant struggle. The idea of physical love is easy to understand. It is biological and fact, all reason and natural reaction. But emotional love? There is so much at stake. I have a paper heart encased in a flame resistant ribcage; no match books are getting near this one. One day all I want is for someone to want me, but then it becomes reality and I am at once annoyed with the attention, with the game we play. How long to wait to text, when it’s time to meet their friends, when to make it Facebook official. This development of a budding relationship is all stress and questioning. It’s like a game of Jenga; the more we add, the more afraid I am of it all crashing down.
When it finally did, when we both got busy and communication slowly waned before freezing altogether, there was no surprise. A dull ache, which subsided into numbness, and all of sudden I didn’t care anymore. How does that happen? Within the span of weeks things blossom and then dry up. I barely had time to water the garden of our relationship before I realized it was too early to plant those seeds.
The thing about those almost-loves is that they eat you up. The possibility of love is intoxicating; they could have been my everything, my world. I would have loved them. But one day it becomes clear: you were forcing something, and if it was meant to be, it would have.
It was one sided. I stopped trying to learn who truly are, rather how you could be my dream. I built you up in my head, and the less we talked, the more I fell in love with the idea of you.
And honestly? That’s what messed me up the most. When I didn’t understand that, you were all I could think of. And when those thoughts faded away to the reality of who you were, I realized we just weren’t compatible. If we were, it would have worked out, because people who are meant to be together will always gravitate back towards each other. Our force of attraction was too weak, and I can’t wait to find someone who has such a strong magnetic field, I could never fight their pull.