I can imagine our next encounter.
I’ll text you saying “Hey, I know we haven’t spoken and I was the one to break off our friendship, but I was hoping I could see you for five minutes or so. I need to give you something. Don’t worry, it isn’t anything bad.” And you’ll text me back saying either that you don’t want whatever I want to give you or that you don’t think that you can see me. Then I’ll tell you, “Well, I am going to give it to you whether or not you want it. I’d prefer if I gave it to you personally or if it comes down to it, I’ll just drop it off at your house.” Reluctantly, you’d agree to us meeting. And I would head to your house.
During the short ten minute drive from my house to your’s, I would contemplate what I would say to you, what you would say to me, and what would happen. I would find myself parking my car in front of your neighbor’s house and walking to your front door. I would ring the doorbell and awkwardly look around.
If your brother or your mother didn’t answer the door, you’d answer. I would hear your long strides as you finally reached the door. Both you and I would exchange polite hello’s. I would hand you a paper bag full of your old clothing that I had borrowed. The paper would crinkle and rustle as you held the bag and peered inside, examining the contents. You would tell me that you didn’t want the clothing back and I would reply, “I can’t hold onto it anymore. Even if you aren’t going to wear the clothing ever again, I’d rather it gather dust in your closet instead of mine.” You wouldn’t argue, you would agree with a light nod.
I would pull out a manila folder and hand it to you. “Here are the photos I took of you. I thought that you should have them. I have more, but these are the only ones that I printed. Put them in a safe place, photo paper is pretty expensive.” Again, you would contest, saying either that you couldn’t accept them or that I should hold onto them. I would eventually convince you to keep them and I would say, “Well, that’s all I wanted to give you. Guess I’ll see you around.”
Here’s the tricky part. That selfish part of me, that part of me that still loves you would want you to stop me and ask if I wanted to stay for longer. The other part of me knows that you would let me leave.
If you asked me to stay longer, I would say “I can’t. I really can’t. I have to go.” You might insist and I would give in. I still love you, remember? I still care for you, remember? I might not show it, but I would be overjoyed at the fact you asked me to step inside and stay.
We’d both climb the stairs as we used to, but this time, as friends or should I say acquaintances or more accurately, I suppose as “ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend.” You would put the bag down and set aside the manila folder in a safe place and sit down on your bed. I would awkwardly sit on the ground or the edge of your bed. And we would talk.
I don’t really know what we’d talk about. Maybe we’d catch up. But me, I would be hoping that you would tell me how much you miss me, how much you regret what happened, how much you need me in your life, and how much you realized that you loved me.
But I can’t do that anymore.
I cannot harbor hope for you and I. I cannot love you anymore. I cannot be there for you anymore. I will try not to care, but I know that I will never stop caring for you. I will never be able to stop this curiosity that consumes me.
No matter how much I want to run back to you, no matter how much I want you to come back to me, I can’t.
This situation will never happen because I won’t let it happen.