I Confess: Fondness

You went a day without answering my text. I knew something was happening.

The next morning you said in your current state of confusion you thought it best if we were just friends. Just like I said you had every right to request. You wanted to stay friends and hang out — but understood if I didn’t.

I sensed your feelings were ambivalent. I wasn’t sure if you were uncomfortable because you liked me more than you thought or liked me less than I thought. On that drizzly random street corner last week you were trying to end things, but I didn’t make it easy enough for you so you just fidgeted and stiffened and hugged me like we were business conference attendees. I think you finally were able to say what you wanted when you didn’t have to look at me while doing so.

I messaged you and haven’t heard back. I get the feeling you didn’t want to hear from me so soon.

You are, what do they call it nowadays…an “almost-ex.” The ex who wasn’t officially a girlfriend and who never met any of my friends or family and who avoided commitment as much as I did but we were very much a part of one another’s lives for two months. And yes, feelings were had…not named and barely acknowledged…but definitely had.

I wish I could stop replaying this mental filmstrip of you. I know eventually my heart and mind will hush. I just wish the sadness would fade.

This isn’t a fiery pain that results in crying or tears. It’s not a devastating break-up where everyone rallies around me until I can go a day without sobbing. It’s quiet. Subtle. Private. It’s a dull pang. It makes my chest sag. It makes it hard to smile. It makes me talk to myself about random things to stay busy and wrestle my mind off you and the way your brown hair hovered in a messy bun above your shirt collar. Somehow this verbal train of thought is supposed to reassure me it’s okay one of the most beautiful women I have ever dated doesn’t want to hear from me anymore.

My co-worker remarked today how down and exhausted I looked. Too many projects and not enough hours, I said. But I lied. I’m sad because I hadn’t heard from you.

You were the first woman I dated after six years with my ex. The first woman other than my ex I kissed in six years. Despite our unofficial status, regardless of our mutual dance around one another, I grew fond of you. It’s hard to say goodbye to fondness.

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