We sat there under the stars. In the grass and leaves, not caring that when we stood up we would be covered in dirt. Not caring that it was way too late to be outside by the lake. Not caring that roommates might be wondering. It was freshman year after all. We could live a little.
We were just content looking for those shooting stars. We were far enough away from the campus lights for them to be in the way. We were far enough for the classes and the work and the friends for any of it to bother us. But still, we didn’t see any shooting stars. You pointed out the constellations and we talked about the myths behind them all but we didn’t see any shooting stars.
And at some point, you stopped looking at the sky and started looking at me. I didn’t notice at first but when I did and catch your glance, you didn’t turn away. Instead, you looked at me and spoke. “I think I might love you.” Those were the words that fell from your mouth to my complete disbelief. No was all I could think, You don’t love me.
And that’s not really your fault I guess. You don’t love me because you don’t know me. You haven’t seen me hurt. You haven’t seen my scars. You don’t know my whole story. Heck, you barely know anything about me. You just think you love the idea of me.
You know the things people have said about me and you have seen me in public spaces interacting with other people but that doesn’t mean you know me yet. People tend to act very differently based on their surroundings, which means you could see me in public every day and still have no clue who I am at all. But I guess if we are at this point you liked what you heard about me. The gossip that circulated must have had some significance right? My reputation must have left some kind of mark for you to try to get closer to me.
And right now, that’s fine because I don’t love you.
I love the idea of you. I like the possibility that you could be part of my future if you want to be. I love the idea that there are millions of paths we could take from this moment and none of them are necessarily the wrong one. We could have a quick little thing and then go back to being friends. We could date for years and then get married and have the fairytale ending. We could never actually face the fact that we think we love the idea of each other and stay where we are right now for the rest of our lives until we one day when we find other people and move on. Until we fall in love with the idea of the next person.
You see, I think that what starts every relationship is the idea that you like the idea of the other person in your life. It’s kind of like the spark that people talk about, but it’s closer to a realization more than anything else. You realize that the idea of this particular person being in your life might be a good thing. You realize that you could fall in love with the idea of this person. But you don’t actually love the person just the idea. And that’s completely okay. We don’t have to let our love for one another pass the ideas stage.
We could do whatever the f*ck we want because it’s our life and we’re young enough to do it. We love the possibility of us. But we don’t love each other. I don’t love you and you don’t love me. At least not yet. But maybe one day when I’ve shown you every piece of me and you’ve told me every story you have to tell then you might tell me you love me. And I might actually believe you.
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