I finally told him how I felt after all this time. We’d been seeing each other off-and-on for about six months, and I only just felt comfortable telling him that I really genuinely cared about him. I was careful not to do so too soon, as I’ve made that mistake in the past and it really doesn’t end well. Not in my experience, at least. The other thing I was careful not to do? Use that L-word. You know, that four letter word that people write songs and poems about, the one that everyone’s afraid to be the first to say, the one that means you care about the other person’s happiness more than you care about your own? Yeah, you know which word. Anyways, I didn’t use that word, though I certainly thought about how I could spend the rest of my life with him and be truly happy.
That’s all beside the point. The point is that I told him how I felt in a very casual, yet meaningful, way and I was extremely proud of myself for doing so because emotions are not something I’m generally in touch with. So there we were, standing on the porch under the stars, and I was filled with good feelings. Until he responded, that is.
“There’s something I’ve got to tell you,” he said, and my mind raced to think of all the different things he might need to tell me. Maybe he would tell me he had the greatest time with me? Or that he wanted to be with me exclusively, in a dating capacity? Or maybe that I was different and special, the way he did that first night we met? he felt the L-word towards me? Or maybe he’d tell me he felt the L-word towards me? I could barely contain myself as I stood there under the stars, his arms wrapped around my waist.
I looked up at him and said, “Go ahead, what’s on your mind?”
“There’s this other girl…” he trailed off.
He might’ve kept talking, but I couldn’t really focus on the words coming out of his mouth. I just stood there, smiling like an idiot and nodding along in agreement as if that’s exactly what I expected him to say. I did hear him say that he wasn’t interested in having a girlfriend, and that he liked me but there’d been other girls he’d seen while I was away at school. Girls—plural. That killed me. But I continued nodding and smiling and looking at the stars just beyond his head because looking at him directly was a little too difficult at that moment.
I’d been so wrong. But how had I been so wrong? I’d thought we were on the same page, but it turns out we weren’t even reading the same book.