It might have been

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""Look, down there. That thing you just saw, shattered into a million tiny little pieces, is my heart. That sound you just heard was it breaking as it was wrenched from its comfort zone and thrown away casually but painfully. I look around my own little world so uneasily, waiting for some God to come and make things perfect. When I realize that they never will be, I give myself a moment to run through everything before I decide what comes next.

This is one long moment. I cannot claim that I remember all the days we ever spent together – it’s a collection of many little moments that somehow seemed ‘special’. Special not because they were some thoughtful, caring act of love, but because they came from you – you who did not normally try to be ‘special’.

I think of the justification that I read somewhere – something that did not even come from your own mouth – that people change, and feelings change too, and that I have to live with that. I think of what pushed normally quiet me to confess to you that I liked you, and thus change things between us from a smooth, tarred road to a bumpy, emotional roller-coaster ride (well, for me at least).

Maybe I read too much into the situation. Maybe I thought you liked me when all you were doing was being friendly. That thin line they always talk about, the distinction between love and friendship – now I think that I was on one side of it and you were on the other. And in the excitement, the whole emotional high, the ‘being in love with the idea of being in love’, I probably did not bother to find out what you felt about the whole thing.

Sure, I knew you had your reservations. That it might not work with you. But I wanted, with all my heart and soul, to be with you. I did not see it like you did – that the sparkle of a relationship would soon wear out after a few weeks and then there needed to be something concrete to keep us together. That it would be better off if we were just friends, for then there would be no name-tags attached to the relationship and no consequent expectations from either side. No, I did not see it that way.

Love to me was (and perhaps will always be) the most wonderful thing that can happen. I can almost hear you snort with laughter in the background, and pass a comment that I’ve read one too many trashy romance novels. But now there is no more ‘you’, for you shy away from displays of affection. If I make a mention of something that has anything to do with love, I can almost be sure that you will withdraw like a touch-me-not, and not return until you think I am ‘normal’ again. I wonder sometimes how I ever thought I could get along with you. But then again, that is the beauty of love.

I think of all the time I spent planning how I would tell you. The endless conversations with friends practicing dialogues, modifying them – everything – just so that our ‘moment’ would be perfect. And how, in that time, you somehow slipped away. How you began staying away from me because you didn’t want a relationship, because you thought it would be better if we were just friends.

I could not ignore forever the distance that you were keeping from me. On the day I planned to tell you that I liked you, I thought I would also confront the issue of the (lack of) time you had for me. My perfect moment came out as an angry jumble of words and tears, rampant with accusations, most of them unfounded. But I thought we’d make up, and that things would be okay, that we’d be as close as we were before.

And then you told me the truth, and broke my heart. I don’t know whether I’m glad that you did or not. But I remember vividly the sting of rejection, the pain of knowing that you did not want the same thing that I wanted for us.

I also remember you telling me that you admired me for the risk I took in admitting this to you. That if I had decided to play it safe and keep it within me, I would not have grown as a person.

Strangely, that alone is enough for me to pick myself up and move along. I think of how much I’ve learnt from this experience. I step into the mess caused by the breakage, and for a moment am lost in the messiness of not-so-happy endings. But I take my bag and put in it all the little pieces of my heart.

In an odd way, I am glad that this happened, that I took the plunge and found out that the land was better than the water.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been."

Kimberly Fernandes, Qatar

Author: Kimberly Fernandes- Qatar

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