“Let’s stay friends,” you said.
You said it like it was as easy as singing the alphabet. You said it like it didn’t hurt you. You said it like I was nothing. And that crushed me, but the thing is… it still wasn’t enough to stop me from loving you. So up until today, I love every bit of you. I love every thing about you.
But now, I decided to love you from a far. I chose to keep quiet about it. I thought to myself that love didn’t have to be expressed nor made known for it to grow. I figured, I could love you without being rewarded. Actually, I realized… I will love you even if I didn’t want to anymore. And that’s that. I face every single day acting like everything’s back to normal. Like we could be normal again. I accompany you to places that I deem familiar and not memorable.
But deep down, it kills. It kills because each corner reminds me of you, of us.
But I have to pretend like I don’t know the place. I had to force myself to play a role of a regular person in your life and not only that… I had to act like it was okay to be second best.
Second best because I’m not the only one who chose to love you. I can’t blame them. I can’t cover up what was so lovely about you. I can’t stop others from seeing what I see in you. So, I decided to share you and that made me second best. The difference is that others had a fresh start. Others were learning you. Others excited you while I was simply a mess that you had to maintain. That made them better at loving you.
It hurt, but it didn’t matter because I chose to stay, my heart wanted this, my heart wanted you.
It was alright to share your conversations. It was alright to know you were happy. It was alright to know someone else was loving you the way I would have. Because witnessing all these meant I still have you around and I guess that was enough. You constantly asked if I was okay and every time, I said yes and instantly wrapped it with a smile. There were times I wanted to let you know that it hurt, but I thought to myself, why and what for? I reminded myself that I decided to love you silently.
I told myself that I didn’t stay for my love to be reciprocated. I stayed because whatever it was I was feeling wouldn’t go away. The hard part was that even though I decided to love this way, my love for you continuously grew. No amount of effort was needed for it to do so.
Simply put, my heart was happy loving someone like you, perhaps my heart was happy being able to love.
That’s when I thought that no amount of pain nor mutuality could dictate how I felt. I realized that loving had no formula. There was no specific manner to start loving someone nor stop loving someone. No one could simply force someone to love them back. No one could just ask someone to unlove them. No one could just tell someone to stop hurting.
That’s when I knew that not being loved back didn’t mean I had to stop loving you. That’s when I allowed myself to love you unconditionally. That’s when I let myself love you for as long as my heart wanted to because precisely, the heart wants what it wants.