Eighteen

“For a minute there I thought you might be in love with me or something” You said staring at me with those wide eyes and questioning glance. And for a millisecond my heart was in my throat and I blinked twice thinking shit how am I going to get out of this one. And then I fake laughed and retorted “James you will forever be the boy I kissed on a drunk night out and regretted it ever since. Don’t flatter yourself, okay?” You looked slightly miffed off but took it in your stride smiling and pushing me on to my bed to tickle me. I fought to push you away, laughing until tears streamed down my face and your hands pushed my hair off my face. Your eyes locked in mine and for a minute everything stopped. You. Me. Us. And nothing else. And then my Mum barged in to my room wondering if we wanted to cook tea and suddenly your hands weren’t on my face and our lips weren’t inches away from each other.

I’m watching you cook and you’re looking at me smirking because I just burnt the garlic bread. I’ve got a heart and at this moment it’s beating faster than it’s ever beat. I’ve got a soul and all I know is that you are a part of it. So believe me when I say I want to use my heart and soul to somehow get you. Everyone tells me you are mine. Even my Mum peeks her head in to watch us with flushed cheeks and a knowing look. You grab my hands and stir the pasta with me. My Mum coughs and we both look up. You bound over to her to ask her how work was and I just look over and wonder if you’ve realised the connection we have or if it’s just me. Because we have made a start before. Be it a false start, I know. Where we tried to write the “story of us” but it just ended up with scribbled out writing and ripped pages. But, baby, as I look at you I know I just don’t want to be without you. Baby I don’t want to be alone.

I feel like we just keep missing each other. And I’m not quite sure what that means. Because as we sneak glances at each when watching a film and you grab my hand at the “scary” parts I can’t help but think we are meant to be. And when we looked at each other for a whole minute I just wanted to say “James just kiss me”. And we could lay down, your hands pressed to my cheeks. Because I just think if you reject me right now I will make it my life mission to go out there and meet the most handsome and smart guy in the world just to try and get over you. And I’ll end up marrying this other man and spending the rest of my life with him. And I’ll tell myself that he’s perfect, that I really must be happy. But he won’t be you.

We are sat here and I just want you to kiss me. Because we have known each other for years and this time we would be a long way from the playground. Because I have loved you since we were eighteen. Long before we both thought the same thing. Before we did actually kiss. And spend time together and become best friends. Before I knew what it felt like to be loved and to be in love. And all I can do right now is say that I think that these arms were made for holding you. And that I want to love like you made me feel, when we were eighteen. But if you don’t feel like that then I will have to marry someone else. And we will still be friends.

I’m not sure if I know how to be just friends with you. If I know how to come and visit you and realise you’re with someone else. I would scream at you and you would yell back “For Christ’s sake Izzie nothing happened, we are just having some fun”. And I would question why I am just “some fun” for you and nothing more. I would shout and ask you over and over again why the hell you asked me over here for if it was just for some fun. And you would say you just wanted to see me and that for god’s sake we are meant to be best friends. And I would jump back from you at the word friends as if you had just thrown cold water on me.

Or, if you kissed me, we could have taken a chance. We could have jumped head first in to the deep end. With kisses and hand holding that actually meant something. With relationships and first arguments and one year anniversaries. I think we could do that, you know, I think we could have done it. But we didn’t. And now you have to ask me if I’m happy with him. And I have to answer yes until I’m choking on my own lies. And we meet for drinks and you buy me one whilst you slide a wedding invitation across the table to me. And suddenly everything is in slow motion. I stumble up from the seat, ripping the piece of paper in two and throwing it in your face. You run after me and I shout “forget it James, go ahead and do it. Throw away what we have.” whilst you scream back at me “HAD. what we had.” And I tell you to never call me again. And to not cry to me after you realise you’re empty inside. You don’t even bother to yell anything back to me.

We wouldn’t talk after that. I’d see your wedding photos on Facebook and curse that I didn’t unfriend you. People would message me in a condescending way wishing me all the best and casually saying that they thought me and you would be the one’s to finally take the plunge and commit. I would reply in some way that totally makes me look like that bitter ex and not even care about the consequences. Because sometimes people don’t realise that the best thing to have ever happened to you is sitting there, right under your nose. But I did realise. And I guess it was you who didn’t. Or maybe you just didn’t care. But I still have to know.

So I send you a letter. One that is completely inappropriate to send to someone who is married. One that ends saying “no matter where you are or what you’re doing or who you’re with. I will always, honestly, completely and truly love you.” One that reminiscences on old times. One that talks about almost kisses and cooking with my parents and holding hands and movie days and hugs. One that I didn’t think I’d get a response to. But I did.

You turn up at my house. Maybe a few years late at this point. But you’re still here. And for a second we just stare at each other. Stuck in the silence, frozen in the idea that we were about to actually happen. And you open your mouth to say something and I burst out laughing. I was always one to laugh at awkward situations. You take my hands in yours and try to make the situation serious but you start laughing too. You say to me, through giggles, “Izzie I have loved you since we were eighteen. Long before we both thought the same thing. Long before we realised what it felt like to be loved and to be in love.” And instead of having an almost kiss we finally get a real one.

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