I was young. Too young to realize what was really happening. Too young to realize this was love. Too young to realize it was one sided. Too young to realize I was being used.
I remember the way my heart started to pound, a wide smile filled with teeth gracing my face when she called or texted. Or more accurately, when she answered my call or text to her. I remember how I would look down and blush when she gave me attention. How I would do almost anything to make her happy; make her stay by my side. I remember how she made me feel when she said she loved me, when she said she cared; and how broken I was, devastated and tear stricken for hours, when she said she didn’t.
I didn’t realize how often we fought until it was over: didn’t realize how much of myself I sacrificed. We would argue and I would give in every time until it had been too much and too long and I spoke my mind, wanting my feelings to be heard for once. Neither of us would try to contact the other for a while after that.
Then we would see each other randomly and it was like we were never apart. She would say she missed me, that she loved me, as she wrapped her arms around me and I would bend to her in a way I didn’t realize wasn’t normal. I adored her. I would look at her in admiration, hang onto her every word and wim, wanting nothing more than to please her.
The way I saw her, the way I acted with her, it isn’t something I regret or wouldn’t do again with the right person. I know what that was now, what we had fallen into unwittingly. But at the time I was too young to understand what I was doing and feeling. At the time, when she was around, she could become the center of my world. She could make me feel free and happy, feel like I was enough, like I was good. Neither of us understood what that meant, what it was that we were doing. I don’t know if she ever will because it was different for her. It’s why I don’t fault her for how I see ‘us’ now because although we were both apart of it she didn’t know what she was doing to me (for me, with me.) She didn’t realize how attached I was or how much it would hurt when she left.
I haven’t talked to her in years, but I remember who she used to be. I remember how we used to be and I love and hate it. I never hated her, even if for a while I thought I might, because I was a child and she was my best friend before she wasn’t. I didn’t know that I actually loved her more than I should have. I didn’t realize how much I needed what we had and what I haven’t found since.
Now I see a picture or reference to her on social media and I miss her. I want to reach out and see how she is. I want to go back in time and never let her go despite the pain she caused me without realizing, because it wasn’t her fault what I had done to myself. Yet something always stops me. It isn’t fear of the unknown or it she would reject me or that she’s become a completely different person which it seems she has and all for the better. It’s that I haven’t changed enough and in the ways I have it’s so much worse than when I was younger. What stops me is not wanting this person who I cared so much for, who, despite everything, I want to be proud and like me if I talk to again, will hate what I’ve become as much as I do.
What really gets to me though isn’t that I was too young to realize what was going on. Too young for how much I loved her sweet side and her praise, how her arms felt around me, how sharing a bed during sleep overs and waking in the middle of the night wrapped around each other made me feel. How I was too young to truly appreciate the sparkle in her eye or softness of her lips.
What gets me is that I was too young to realize what I had in the palm of my hand because even as turbulent friends she had this way of making me better, making me mean something, that I will always be grateful for.