The first time I confessed to someone, I had a friend tell them my feelings.
It wasn’t even in person; I had my friend text them. I was nervous and scared, anticipating their reply. I didn’t know what to think. I just felt that I had accomplished something that, maybe, would make me happy. The one I had confessed to was my longtime friend, someone I had known, confided in, made fun of, and argued with. They were the kind of friend that I could get along with, no matter what. We would talk about nothing, laugh at nothing, sometimes not even talk when we were together. It was a friendship that needed no words. And so, I waited, and waited, for them to give me their reply.
But I never got one.
They never contacted me. From that day on, we were no longer friends. Perhaps it was because of the distance that had grown between us, or the new people we both met. Maybe it was because she went with them, and I away from both. But, ever since the moment I had let my words slip unguarded, they might as well have died for me. I know now, looking back, that I didn’t confess out of affection. What I felt wasn’t love.
I wanted to protect them.
I had been chatting with a close friend on the phone, and she let slip that someone had taken a liking to my close one. They were nothing but meaningless words, spoken in passing, actually, but then, they had meant a piece of me being torn away. I don’t know what came over me. It seems so foolish now. But I wanted them back, that much I knew, and so I tried my best, as separated as we were.
But all I did was push them away.
We parted, didn’t see each other for years. I stopped thinking about them, went on with life. I know why now, why their purposeful ignorance of my confession didn’t matter nearly as much as it should have. I know now, for I hadn’t loved them. I had just wanted to keep them by me, with me, for I didn’t want to break our effortless connection. Oh, I was a fool.
If I had said nothing, we would still be friends, I’m sure of it. If I had just taken a breath and stepped back that day, we would still be brothers. But instead, we are apart, and not on peaceful nor accepted terms. At least, not for me. I met them again, years after our separation. I saw them, and they recognized me. I spoke to them, and they replied. I let myself hope that we might have been friends all along, that I had simply misunderstood their silence.
But I suppose they still thought I held those naive beliefs of love towards them, for they disappeared from my life immediately afterwards. The small, impossibly sweet moment I had had with them was all I got before they were gone again. I didn’t understand. I sent them messages, called them, searched for them, over and over, day after day. They never responded, showed no sign of the person I had cared for.
I see them sometimes, in the photos of my old friends, friends back when I still had my closest friend. I see them with her, and I feel nothing but sadness, not for my loss, but for their refusal to tell me of their gains. I am happy to see them with her, but devastated that neither will speak to me about it. They hid her from me; she hid them from me. Did they think me fragile, frail, so weak that I would break from words I wanted to hear? Even now, even when I have stopped trying, they remain silent. I want them to speak, to write, to tell me that they don’t care for me. It would be better than no words at all.
Why can’t we go back to when we needed no words?