He was a conundrum
That one puzzle piece
I cannot seem to solve
And when I doubted myself
I chose to run away again
Jane glanced at me. “Tell me again why you decided to get rid of him?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s such an awful way to put it. ‘Get rid of’, like he’s just something easily thrown away.”
“But it’s exactly what you’ve done,” Jane said. “You threw away someone that you actually like. And you rarely like someone that much.”
“Yeah, well,” I shrugged, my shoulders suddenly feeling heavy and my stomach one big ball of lead. I blew a deep, deep breath. “He’s not just a thing, okay?”
“You didn’t answer my question,” Jane said, staring at me. Her maple syrup brown eyes were kind and searching at the same time.
“Because,” I said. I suddenly didn’t know what to say. I knew how I felt but I didn’t know what to say.
“I think you know exactly why you messed this up,” Jane said. Her voice was matter-of-factly, as if she was pointing out the constellations above us. “I think you know but you don’t want to say it out loud because you’re not going to like the way it sounds.”
“I knew it would be dangerous talking to you about this,” I said with a smile
Jane laughed at that. “You and your flippant replies,” She said, her eyes never leaving mine. “You need to stop running away when someone makes you feel.”
I shut my eyes. “I was telling him the truth,” I told her, my voice sounding as small as I felt. “I told him the truth and, well, how he handled it was something out of my hands.”
“You sure picked one hell of a way to let him know,” Jane said with a shake of her curly head. “You can’t blame the guy for turning tail and sprinting for the opposite direction.”
“Yeah, well I knew that could happen,” I said, toeing the pavement with my flip-flops.
“You knew,” Jane said, echoing me. “And yet you went ahead. Why?”
“Because I already know what his reaction would be,” I said.
“And that would be…?” Jane said.
“He’s not interested, Jane,” I said. “I just had to tell the truth. I’d rather lose him that way than wonder every time what would have been. It’s do or die, sink or swim.”
Silence settled then, mixing with the condensed midnight city air. I heard cars honking in the distance. I heard the trees stir and sigh as the wind ruffled them. I heard my own breathing and heartbeat. They sounded weak and sad. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I pushed myself off the sidewalk. “Come on.”
“We’re not done talking,” Jane said.
“There’s nothing left to talk about,” I said. “What’s done is done.” But I wouldn’t look at my bestfriend in the eye. I know I already messed up my only chance with a great guy. I just wanted to forget and put a distance between myself and tonight as soon as possible.
“Yes, there is. There’s a lot to talk about,” Jane said, her tone shifting from calm and patient to instantly sharp.
I looked down at her. “Jane. I told him everything I’ve been feeling. He didn’t care. End of story.”
“This is not about him,” Jane said. She stood up, too, and now towered over me, all five feet and eight inches of her. “This is about you. And your aversion to confronting your own feelings.”
“I have not avoided anything!” I said, struggling with my temper. “I laid my cards — all of them — on the table. He. Did. Not. Say. Anything.” I sucked in some air before proceeding to say, “I just wanted to tell the truth, let it out. For once. I’ve never done that with any guy before, okay? And he’s the perfect guy to tell the truth to. He’s worth risking in telling the truth. I lost him now and that’s fine. At least now I know. What else is there to say?”
Jane crossed her arms. “You’re not going to do anything after that?”
“Why would I do anything?” I said. “The guy’s probably scared of me now. And I don’t blame him. Can we please just close this topic?” I rubbed the back of my neck. “I just ate my pride in this whole tell-the-truth stunt. I really need to just move on now.”
“Okay,” Jane said. “If that’s what you want, then okay. I still think you made a mistake.”
“Oh, thanks. Thank you,” I said. “Do you have fries with that? Because that’s exactly what I need to hear.”
“So talented at pushing people away,” Jane said with a shake of her head.
“I did not push him away!” I said. “I, for once, talked about my feelings out in the open. I took that risk. I accepted that there’s a large possibility he would walk away. And he did. You should be proud of me!” I practically shrieked the last sentence.
Jane gaped at me for a few seconds. And then her shoulders began to shake with laughter. “Oh my God. You — you got — Wow. I have never seen or heard you so emotional. Good to know you’re still alive!” She laughed and laughed then.
“I’m glad you find this amusing,” I said, storming past her. “I’m broken here and you’re laughing. Some friend you are.”
She caught up with me easily, still chuckling. “Come on. I am proud of you. You were never the one to talk about feelings. And yes, it took a lot of guts to spill them to the one guy you are absolutely in lo — infatuated with.” She caught herself just in time.
“Glad you finally saw my point,” I said.
“Seriously, I’m ecstatic you finally accepted the fact that you really like him,” Jane said. “And that you told him. If each and every one of the guy you have dated knew about this, they would never believe it. I mean, you! Spouting sappy stuff! Talking about feelings!”
I shot her a glance loaded with a thousand different emotions, irritation included. “I find it disconcerting that my bestfriend seems to be having fun with this big mess.”
“Hey listen, sweetie,” Jane slung an arm around my slim shoulders. “You may have made an ass out of yourself by telling the guy you liked him. And you’re broken-hearted about the way he reacted. But guess what? Doing those things did not kill you. It wasn’t so bad, was it? And you’re stronger and wiser because of that.” She gave me a quick hug. “How about we grab some drinks before going home?”
I couldn’t help but smile. “And by drinks you mean mimosas or mojitos, am I right?”
Jane laughed. “You know me too well!”