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I don’t hate you.
For so long, I kept myself safe-guarded, refusing to acknowledge anyone who approached me, because I had no desire to learn about their lives, or their family, or how they liked their eggs cooked. I was numb to all romantic gestures and feelings were something I vaguely remembered having once upon a time.
Then life brought us together again.
Maybe it happened, because we were friends first. Maybe it was our shared history that brought us closer. Maybe it was how I could see past your carefully constructed layers that you presented to the world like a mask. Maybe it was because I saw you for you and not for your past or your reputation.
Maybe it was just the right time.
The moment I saw you again, colors brightened, sound came in clearer, and for the first time in years, I finally felt something again. That only continued to grow the more time we spent together and I felt myself opening up in ways that I wasn’t used to, both excited and frightened of each new experience you brought my way.
And then you kissed me.
You kissed me and made me feel like maybe I could take a chance and this time, everything would work out for the better. The trips, the late night talks, the hand-holding, slow dancing on New Year’s Eve, and having our friends laugh about the two of us finally happening, because apparently no one was surprised, were beautiful instances. We shared moments of vulnerability where you admitted that you were so done with your past behavior and wanted something real and honest, and told me that I was everything you could ever want.
Maybe that’s what scared you away.
You started to pull away, callously told me you weren’t over your ex, laughed and said that we were randomly hooking up, even though you and I both knew, wasn’t ever my thing. I remember when you said that we were dating, but not really, and feeling like such an idiot, because of how much I liked you. You called out red flags out of nowhere, refused to show affection in front of our friends, and essentially made me your weekend chick.
I mistook your affection for genuine care.
My instincts told me you’d hurt me, and I ignored it, when I should have realized that you just didn’t like me enough to call me during the week, or ask how my day was, or give me the opportunity to love you better than anyone you ever dated.
You dropped me; cold, hard, and heartbreakingly fast.
And I tried to understand your perspective and rationalize it in my mind, but the fact is so clear and simple: you are absolutely terrified that someone could accept and love you in your entirety, despite your flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings.
Instead of talking to me, you over thought things and decided I wasn’t worth the time and effort to see what could happen if you just surrendered to your feelings. You sent me a text while I was at work and offered half-assed apologies and excuses, but ran off to enjoy your life without giving me a second glance.
You mistook my genuine care for weakness.
In spite of it all, I still hold on to the memories we shared, because you reminded me that I’m still alive. You resuscitated my heart and allowed me to understand that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. That I’m endlessly forgiving in the face of the worst types of heartache. That my ability to see people fully is a blessing and not at all a curse.
That I am perfectly, completely, and absolutely capable of loving again, even if that person isn’t you.
And for that, I could never hate you.