And seeing yourself, still waiting.
I want to have something vent about, talk about.
But I feel nothing.
I felt the giddiness rush into my system.
But I need to remind myself:
You were never mine to begin with.
But that someone else is never me.
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella. It’s about a young woman unknown to a world of riches, balls, and princes. Yet, somehow she is magically given a chance to have a taste of everything that was forbidden to her. However, there’s a catch. Once the clock strikes midnight, her glimpse of happiness will disappear and bring her back to reality, and Cinderella accepts that. She knew from the beginning that it couldn’t last forever. But unbeknownst to her, the prince of the kingdom fell madly in love with her, left with nothing but a shoe. And we all know what happens next. The prince finds the owner of the lost slipper. Cinderella marries the prince. She leaves her destitution. Everyone is happy, and they all live happily ever after.
As I was thinking about this past year together, I realized that in some ways, I was her. I was Cinderella.
I remember when I first became aware that you were in my class. I never had the opportunity to really talk to you before, and I wasn’t expecting anything to change. My resentment towards you and your friends still lingered in my mind, and I just wanted to survive the year without opening closed wounds. I sat in one end of the class, and you in the other. We really were from separate worlds.
And I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, we crossed the barrier. We became friends, slowly, but we did it. My natural instinct of mistrusting strangers gradually disappeared, and I soon found myself falling hard. There were times when I questioned how I felt, if it was actually real. Was I merely bored? Was I just lonely? But it only took one look, and all my doubts washed away. Somehow, when I looked into your eyes, I knew that it wasn’t just a passing feeling.
To this day, I’m still not sure if it was love or an intense fancy, but there’s no doubt it was there. I felt in my heart. I felt it in my veins. Just the thought of you brought a smile to my face.
But despite this, I knew that it couldn’t last. We had an expiration date: our graduation. I was always aware that the minute I walked out of high school the spell would be broken. The magic would be gone, and I would be nothing but a girl left for the cinders.
I have held on for as long as I could, but I think our magic has reached its end. We’re slowly being pulled back into our own realities, until we finally break our bond when we step off the field. From the beginning, I knew that this day would come, and I knew that it would hurt. I just didn’t think it could be so painful.
Today, I got my first dose of what the end of graduation would feel like. I just escaped the impatient crowd waiting for their tassels, and I saw you coming near by. As usual I greeted you with a silly face and was expecting a small smile back.
I got nothing.
You looked right through me and walked past me without any recognition. I was so taken aback that the only thing I could breathe out was a small, “Oh..” My eyes followed you up the stairs, and not once did you look back. To stop myself from showing the panic I felt, I quickly sat down and continued to sign yearbooks. I suppose I wasn’t too great hiding my feelings; one friend even asked me if anything was wrong, that I looked somber. And I really was. In that one moment, I felt my heart break, and maybe his action was unintentional, but I felt it all the same.
It seemed to me like midnight was approaching fast.
This is where the fairy tale ends and the real world kicks in.
But I’m not going to be left with a happy ending.
Just one slipper and a memory.
How do you do it?
How do you get under my skin and into my thoughts so easily? You’re not even trying. You don’t even know it. And yet, you can do it all the same.
Just when I reach the point where I’ve convinced myself that holding on is useless, I’m trampled by a herd of emotions. I’m hit by a speeding semi. I’m slammed by the tumbling waves of the ocean. There’s no warning, and I’m left to face the barrage of irrational thoughts and uncontrollable sensations. And suddenly, all of the reasons for letting you go seem meaningless; seem silly.
I think about the way you make me feel, about the way you make me smile, about the way you make me laugh. And just like that, my feelings are switched from “off” to “on.” Maybe the realist in me knows that there are more cons. Maybe the realist knows this will only end in disappointment.
But the heart is a funny thing.
Despite everything, one spark is all it takes for an explosion.
Sometimes I wonder about my life and the choices I’ve made. Did I do the right thing? What could I have done different? What would I change? Would I even want things to change? These questions swirl in my head, and I suddenly find myself caught in a whirlwind of “should haves” and “could haves.” Yet, as soon as the questions are realized in my head, they vanish into the recesses of my mind. It’s what I do so well: hide my feelings.
Over the years, I’ve perfected this skill, and for a while, I’m invincible. Nothing can touch me. Nothing can hurt me. All I need to do is shepherd the anxiety-laden negativity into same vault where I keep my insecurities, my regrets, and my mistakes.
For the most part, this vault stays locked. I go on with life, its troubles sliding from consciousness and into my hiding place, my own Pandora’s box. But sometimes, this vault slips open just enough for a flood of unwanted memories and thoughts to enter my mind.
And just like that, I am filled with the same emotion I had when I first experienced the dreadful moment. Except this time, I’m not only filled with sadness or remorse or self-loathing. There is an added emotion, born from the womb of a suppressed memory: anger. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can push the escaped memory back into the vault, only this time around, the thought is bigger, harsher, and more wicked than before.
But sometimes, I linger a little bit longer.
Suddenly, this newborn anger matures into full-fledged fury. It’s a fury that’s boiling hot, spilling over the edges of the pot. It’s a fury that can’t be cured with time. It’s a fury that burns and blisters your mind, until you begin to infect everything around you. And now that you’re conscious of the fury, you resist placing this memory back into the vault too quickly. You choose to analyze and then over-analyze and over-think. Why? Because it’s your right to. Because you can. Because you want to remember this anger so it doesn’t happen again. You force yourself through this mental torture because you want to remember all who’ve wronged you, and who’ve left you, and who’ve wiped you from their memory.
Because it hurts just as much as when you pretend it never happened.
I liked the sound of that.
Yeah, that sounded nice.
I love how you’re calling me a jerk and an asshole now.
Not because you mean it.
But because we’re getting that much closer.
Every time I hear it, I smile. Every time you say it, I laugh.
What are these words anyway? Just words, really.
Or for me, terms of endearment.
45 minutes a day isn’t enough.
But I’m trying to make the best of whatever we have.
I’d make it work.
Because I would love you.
And that should be enough.
It kind of bothers me how little I actually know about you. Sure, I know things that are important; the little things, the lovely things.
How you shower two times a day. Sometimes three.
How you always need to be moving and can never keep still.
How you think your cousins put you in the trunk of the car because there was no room but aren’t totally sure.
How you pretend like it doesn’t bother you, when I know it does.
These things I know, and I’m happy that you told me. But there’s this whole other side of you that is still shrouded in mystery. It’s uncharted territory, and it’s a little frightening.
Not because I don’t approve.
I just wish that you would act like you do around them with me. I don’t want to feel like the fake friend. I don’t want to feel like I have to be different just so you can treat me the same.
I just don’t want to lose myself to you.