I’m starting to think I like being lied to.
Sometimes the lies feel so good though, right? So warm, and inviting like a hot Sunday meal at your mama’s house. That’s what lies feel like...familiar, like a home.
A broken home, but a home nonetheless.
I walked into this broken home, as a broken me, with the appearance of being whole. I'm sure you smelled my lies from a mile away, I certainly smelled yours, but we didn't care. So there we were, two liars falling in love (spoiler alert: or so I thought).
The fractures of our souls brought us close in a way that didn't seem possible. We were mirrors of each others brokenness.
We would sit at your kitchen table every Sunday, and you would hold my hands, stare into my eyes and slowly pour out your soul. I think holding hands kept you afloat, but your touch and scent were drowning me.
After a few months of Sunday dinners, I asked you if you ever thought we could be more than friends. I said it casually, so you wouldn’t know the depth of my feelings. I was already in love with you, and I just wanted you to say “yes.” Any other answer would leave me with a wet pillow that night.
You told me that you had been burned in the past, literally and figuratively, and that you had trust issues. You felt that we should just be friends, and if feelings developed we would cross that bridge at that time.
So much for that dry pillow...
I respected your answer, but I couldn’t wait to be the one you trusted. The one that soothed the fire that your ex had lit.
I had something to fix…I had a new fix. You.
I had to fix you, so you would want to be with me.
I didn’t tell you that I had been burned too. That my ex had physically put my hand on a hot stove as punishment for “disobeying” him.
I had the scars to prove I had been through war, and I had no desire to discuss my war stories.
So we sat there every Sunday discussing yours instead. You were honest and open, using me as your diary. The keeper of your darkness. I was so meticulous about writing your story on my heart, that I forgot I had my own.
I poured so much into loving you, and healing you. I did become the one you trusted, just not in the way I expected to. I wasn’t sure what I wanted more…for you to be happy, or for you to be in love with me. Sometimes you being happy simply felt like love to me. Like your light shining on me made my heart a little brighter by default, even as I carried the burden of trying to love both of us beyond our pasts.
You were my unrequited love. You became my family. My best friend. You became my everything.
And I slowly became nothing...I hid in my feelings so deep that I couldn't even find myself. Our moods became so intertwined, that if your boss pissed you off, I was ready to quit MY job. I lied to myself so much about how you felt about me and how I felt about myself, that the truth started sounding questionable. My reality was not at all rooted in what was real.
I know it sounds crazy, but the love I was swimming in ran so deep...so wide...so far...
Until one Sunday, you invited me over and confided in me that you were going to propose to your girlfriend. I could tell you were about to bust at the seams with excitement. You showed me the ring, and asked me my thoughts. It was stunning, and I said it was.
Sure I was in love with you, but we had always discussed the people we were dating. I knew you really loved this one, but marriage? That I wasn't prepared for...I always thought I might still have a chance...
I slowly felt the heat in me rising, and all I could eek out was, “but what about me?”
You looked at me puzzled, and said “What are you talking about? You’re not going anywhere! She can’t wait to join our Sunday dinners, and try your famous macaroni and cheese!”
I just whispered “wow,” and excused myself from the table, while trying to decide if I was going to excuse myself from your life. I sat on the bathroom floor, and turned on the water and fan so you wouldn’t bother me for a while. I reflected with tears in my eyes over the past 24 months, with so many of our Sundays spent together. But if I was honest, we only saw each other at our Sunday dinners, and rarely any other time. We had never spent the night, or slept together. We had never gone on a date, cuddled, or even kissed…How did I miss this? How was my blind spot this vast? Had I lied to myself that badly?
At one point, I felt myself laughing through my tears. This can’t be life. Here I am out here telling my friends that this man is my future husband, and he's out here telling his future wife all about his play sister.
How could nothing feel like so much?
How could something so shallow feel so deep and heavy?
How had two years, of what I thought was “building,” simply turned into a friendship.
You yelled “are you okay?,” from the kitchen and I knew that was my cue to get off the floor. My eyes were puffy from crying, so I used allergy issues as a cop out, and told you I would be in touch tomorrow about the menu for Sunday's dinner. But first I would be calling a therapist. It's time I deal with my shit...
That following Sunday there was a 3rd person at the table.
We still held hands, but simply to say grace.
Your fiance' smiled genuinely at me from her chair, saying that she had heard so much about me and was ecstatic to officially join our weekly Sunday dinners. She said you had attributed so much of who you were today to our friendship. I felt both honored, and hurt.
She was beautiful, and beaming…and whole. Her light suffocated me, as my heart grew a bit darker, and my eyes grew blurry.
And then I looked over at you, and realized that you were beaming too. That somehow over the course of two years, you had become lighter...whole...while I had remained the same.
I was also beautiful, but somehow still bitter…and still by myself.
Dinner ended with little fanfare. She helped me wash the dishes, and asked if I would go to the mall with her, because she didn’t have any friends in the area yet. You sat on the couch, still beaming, and so excited that we seemed to be hitting it off.
And funny enough, we were. She was an amazing woman. So interesting and dynamic. I could see why you had fallen in love with her. I honestly loved her already too. She made it easy to.
Nothing about me has ever been that easy.
You put on your coats to head out, and she glanced at me with a sad, knowing look in her eyes, which I found odd given her sunny disposition. She hugged me tight and whispered in my ear, "He was supposed to be yours, sis. What happened?"
And I simply replied, " Me."
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