I knew him way back when. We were young and he was one of the most handsome men I’d ever met in my 22 years. His Hershey chocolate skin enticed me and his New York accent engulfed me like a warm blanket on a cold November day. The scent of his cologne danced in my nostrils and remained there as a constant reminder of my feelings for him. Living in different cities never made it easy. We met mostly once or twice a month in my town and the departure always caused me to shed tears. Our friendship was always strong and our sexual encounters only confirmed the soul connection we shared. The softness of his tender kisses across my face made butterflies in my stomach. The feeling of a school aged crush was constant from the time I laid eyes on him.
I always wanted more from our friendship, something he was unable to give me at the time.
I loved him hard, never knowing if it was reciprocated. I enjoyed vivid daydreams of a life together and often wished that I would get that call you see in the movies where he said he couldn’t live without me. It never happened. Sometimes I felt like a fool; when he needed me, I would do whatever I could to help. And yet never a simple “Thank You” crossed his lips, but that never changed my feelings for him.
After a few years, we went from talking all the time to here and there and it always seemed to be at important milestones in our lives. I remember being one of the first people he told that he had a child on the way. My heart dropped as the words rolled out of his mouth and vibrated through my ear drums. I knew that he had indeed moved on and that I needed to as well. I disguised my heart ache with warm congratulations and unseen tears.
For a long time, I played around and went from guy to guy never allowing my feelings to get involved. Then I met someone. Although he could never take my soulmate’s place, I enjoyed his company and fell in love. It had been years since I talked to my soul mate and right before I decided to get married to my new love, we found our way back to each other. I told him the news; that I was planning to marry in a few short months. I waited in silence for his response and if I needed his approval and all I remember him saying was, “Are you sure you want to do that”. My soul wanted him to say “I love you! Don’t do it!” Again, it never happened.
Once married, I tried to put him behind me. I was supposed to be in love with my husband and yet he still lingered in my mind. Life was going great and then unseen tragedy struck; my marriage was just about over and I looked for security that only my soul mate could provide. We connected again, and I was met with warm words of encouragement and a place to stay for the weekend if I needed to get my head together. While I didn’t take him up on his offer, it was one of the first times I ever felt that he truly cared about me.
Time passed again, and we connected via the internet. I had a vivid dream about him that caused me to reach out and say hello. I learned that he was engaged and recently had another child. My feelings got the best of me again, wondering what this woman had that caused him to commit and love her and yet I always remained mostly a close friend/intimate partner. We laughed and joked through emails and it was there where he told me he loved me, something I waited almost ten years to hear. My heart raced as I read the words on the computer screen. But at this point in our lives did it really matter? He was engaged and had already pledged to take this woman as his wife at some period and time. I took those words typed on that screen and internalized them in hopes of one day things working out between us. They were all I needed to know; that the feeling was indeed mutual.
We made several dates to meet up and as soon as we got close to the date; he would pull out. The let downs caused me to believe that the love he had for me wasn’t true; you just don’t do those who you love like that. Our last email communication left a bad taste in my mouth. He talked about loving me but not being able to be with me. In my mind, I didn’t understand. He’d committed to other women, just not me. Things were said that caused me to reevaluate my feelings for him and why after all this time I still loved him. So I backed off again and there was a period of silence. I used this period as a time to think about the dynamics of our relationship and the reality of our connection to each other. I knew what I needed; closure. I needed to move on. No matter how much I loved him; he would never love me the way I wanted him to. It was hard, cold, truth that had to be accepted.
Just recently we decided that we would work on our “friendship” and try to partner for a few business ventures. By spending more time in communication, feelings begin to play a part in the conversation. One Saturday night, he decided that after three long years, it was finally time to see each other again. There was no plan in place, just the spur of the moment. So he drove from NY to Philly in a matter of a few short hours, reaching me early Sunday morning. As he picked me up and we drove to the hotel, he finally told me he loved me to my face. I remained silent with my eyes glued straight ahead on the road. Again, I waited years to hear this from him and yet, I couldn’t respond. Part of me wanted to cry because it was a dream come true but the other part wanted me to tell him to go fuck himself. I’d loved him so long that it hurt. Needless to say, we made love that night but it wasn’t the love that I remembered from long ago. It was different; he was older and so was I. I didn’t really know him anymore; he was a “real man” now. Our circumstances had changed and I knew that this act was only what it was—an act. Nothing would come out of it. We were both going to return home, back to our daily routines and life demands. Like old times, as we departed I felt the same sadness I did when we were younger; the man I loved was leaving me again.
The next morning, I replayed the previous night’s events in my head and came to a conclusion: seeing him and being with him allowed me to have closure. The school girl butterflies were gone and acceptance had set in. While I have no doubt that he is my soul mate; he’s not meant for me in this lifetime.
Through this whole ordeal, I learned that love can be very tricky and often complicated. You can spend your life loving, caring and wanting someone who may not ever return the same feelings. It’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just that that person may not be for you. I also learned that it was okay to love someone and have feelings for them and understand that it will never be. But you must continue to allow your heart to remain open for the person who is going to return your love. Otherwise you may miss out on the man God truly wants you to be with.
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