I remember that I adored you without reservation or reason. You were the boy everyone wanted and I had you… sort of. I was the fish you kept on the hook. I was your Plan B, the fallback girl who was too blind to recognize the truth of her position. Once I got all tangled up in my feelings, it was impossible for me to see that I was nothing more than a side chick, strung along by pretty promises and a silver tongue. I should have been your first round draft pick – and I think you know it now.
You framed us as a friendship every chance you got.
We were besties. We were such great friends. We were – except I wanted more and you were happy to take advantage of that. You wanted to have your cake and eat it too, and I gave it to you. I heaped your plate full and then ate up your crumbs. I thought our friends with benefits situation was destined to blossom into a perfect love affair and you let me believe that. Why wouldn’t you?
I was the girl you called when you needed to talk.
You couldn’t talk to the guys, you said. Other girls didn’t understand, you told me. I was the only one who ever listened. You worried that everyone else would laugh at your hopes and dreams and screw-ups but I was safe. You knew I’d fade into the background and wait patiently for your sign, your signal, your sad little scraps of leftover time. I was always so safe, wasn’t I?
You wanted me to build you up when you were down.
Who else could do it? You didn’t even let other people know when you were down. In public, you were always Mr. Personality, the charmer, the flirt, the guy with a smile and a joke and a compliment for everyone. Who do you talk to now, I wonder? Is there another girl like me, waiting in the wings, aching to comfort you? You’re too old for such shenanigans, you know. If there is another fallback girl, how about you let her go?
I was the outlet for all the crap you couldn’t share with anyone else.
When your ex-girlfriend got engaged, you called me, so genuinely surprised, so naively upset. I was there by your side while you dealt with family tragedies, personal fears, and professional failures. You never even bothered talking to anyone else because you knew I was there, open armed and supportive. It fooled me into thinking I was more essential than I was. I thought you needed me.
You openly dated around but begged me to stay single.
Save yourself for me, you begged. It’s just for show, you lied. At the time, I felt a little thrill that sickens me today, imagining that I somehow triumphed over the lucky women who were blonde or thin or popular enough to be your girlfriend out in the real, wide world. Looking back, I cheated those girls just as much as you did – and just as much as I cheated myself.
Every weekend night, it was you and me.
Come 10 or 11 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening, the phone rang like clockwork. I waited for you to come over, my heart racing, my palms sweaty, my stomach all knots and flutters. We spent so much time entwined on the couch, watching stupid movies and late night MTV, that I fooled myself into thinking it was something more than an elaborate, low-key booty call.
You kissed me when no one was watching.
I lived for those kisses. For the longest time, yours were the kisses by which I judged all others. It took me too long to realize that they were only thrilling because they were forbidden, fleeting, and ultimately fake. In retrospect, your kisses were trash.
You turned to me when every other girl said no.
I built you up again. I put down all those other girls in an effort to make you feel worthwhile. You’re such a catch, I assured you breathlessly. She just doesn’t deserve you, I swore, until finally, you were your happy, smiling, confident self again, ready to run off and play Casanova.
I soothed your broken heart every single time.
It crushed me — my own heart shattering as I held you close and told you how valuable you were, how beautiful and funny and sweet. I made you feel like you could have any girl you wanted, and all the time I just wanted it to be me. For once. Just let it be me.
You took advantage of my love for you and assumed I’d always be there.
One day, I wasn’t. One day, I stopped. The signs finally came in clear. You didn’t want me, you weren’t in love with me, and you weren’t ever going to fall in love with me. I was the ego-stroker, the make out partner, the place to go when you had no other place to go. Once I realized that I hated you for such a long time, but now I just pity you. You’re kind of pathetic.
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