And seeing yourself, still waiting.
I felt the giddiness rush into my system.
But I need to remind myself:
You were never mine to begin with.
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.
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.
But all I can think about is how you’ll never talk to me again after graduation.
It makes me wonder:
Was this all just a dream?
Do I really like you?
Or do I just want a story?
We’re really different aren’t we?
Just the way we live, you know?
You have a set group of friends, and I can barely stay tied down to the same people.
You seem so comfortable, and I can’t even let my guard down.
You’re so confident, and I feel so unsure.
You can look right at me, and I can hardly breathe.
We’re not the same. We don’t think the same way. We’re just two different people, with two different visions of what we want. Yet, despite this, despite all the differences, I can’t seem to help it.
I like you.
I want you to talk to me. I want you to laugh with me. I want you hold me, touch me.
I just want you.
I thought they went away. I thought it was nothing.
And for a while, it was nothing. I went months not thinking about it. About me. About you. I went months convincing myself I was being too rash, too impulsive, too absurd.
But then, the hurricane.
She told me that you talk about me. Nice things. Sweet things. It made me smile.
It made me smile because, even for a little bit, you thought about me.
And now and then, I think about you, too. Your smile. Your eyes. Your laugh.
I know it’s not meant to be. I’ve known that from the start. I know there’s no chance of us being anything more than what we have. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts and the smiles. That doesn’t stop me from wondering what it would be like to kiss you.
Isn’t it funny though? I thought I hated you. Well, I thought I really disliked you. I thought you were a jerk. People told me things about you: manipulative, a liar, shady. And I believed it.
At least, until we became friends.
When you said, “Yeah, you and me, we’re friends now.”
I can live with that.