On Accepting My Unrequited Love

“I’ve never given up on you… I love you.” The words were barely above a whisper and my voice trembled slightly, as did the glass of Sprite and vodka I was staring into, not wanting to look at him. “I understand if you don’t feel the same way, and I don’t expect you to say anything back.”

My trembling got to the point that I had to set the glass down, and things were quiet for a minute before he put his hand under my chin to make me look at him.

“Are you okay?”

“I just told you…” I gestured feebly and sighed.

“It’s okay.” The faint traces of a smile appeared, and I smiled back.

It would not be okay.

It’s been exactly two years and three months since that night. It’s been just over six years since you captured my heart. Six years of me wishing that you could call me your princess, your Cinderella. And six years of me thinking that falling in love with you is one of the top five dumbest things I’ve done in my short life on this planet.

I hate how every time I think I’m over you, you do something that makes me realise that I’m not, like make some obscure song reference that makes me want roll my eyes but I end up trying (and failing) to suppress giggles, or when you imitate the overly-dramatic commercials that come up when you watch the NFL. I hate the way you say my name, especially in Swedish. I hate how small and safe I feel when you hug me. I hate how you can always make me laugh, even when I'm crying. I hate the way you look at me with that intense gaze, the same one you had on a tram platform in another country a couple of years ago before we kissed for the first time, and the same one you gave me a couple of weeks ago in a bar across your flat and you kept asking me to tell you what was on my mind. The one you know makes me weak and want to kiss you hard and never stop.

I’ve known since the beginning of our friendships that you don’t do relationships, and I tried really, really hard to keep my love for you separate from what we did, but it was still so hard when you broke things off, because I gave you so much of myself, more than I’ve given to anyone else. I only allowed myself a week of being broken, of crying on the phone to my mom, of staying in bed all day, of barely sleeping, and of eating nothing of substance, before picking myself back up and trying to put myself back together. Trying, because the reality is I’m still broken on the inside, even when you make me laugh so hard that I get a stich in my side and can’t form a proper sentence because I keep bursting into giggles.

But despite my brokenness, I’m still marching on. Not for your sake, but for mine, because allowing myself to drown in the pain is only going to hurt me in the long run. And even though we’re not together, I'm lucky to have you as a friend who constantly encourages me and pushes me to be the best person I can be. Even if now I pine for you, I hope that one day I’ll find the right person for me, but if I don’t that's okay, because at least I know I made myself into the best person I could be.