How does one get over a rejection? A couple months ago I had wished to experience what loving someone felt like. Not some flimsy crush but something of substance, something uncontrollable and steadfast. As Shakespeare poignantly penned: “love is not love which alters when it altercation finds”. That was what I wanted to experience. Fast forward and here I am, sitting at this desk, struggling to overcome my senseless emotions.
I was drawn to him first as a friend who was clever, funny, and considerate. There was no sense of romance in our friendship, it was just great fun to be with him. Then, as time progressed and I learned more and more about him, I began to constantly think about him. I couldn’t get him out of my head, even though we didn’t have shared classes or faculties. Now this wasn’t exactly romantic either, as I do have the habit of losing myself in my thoughts. Despite our differences, we managed to maintain hangouts. Our meetups comprised of transit and the odd lunch here and there. With these moments I fell–hard. Initially I didn’t think I’d liked him, I didn’t really even see him as a “man”. I was startled out of my perspective when we went to watch a movie together. It had meant to be a group affair, but due to schedules and timing, it ended up being just the two of us. This was totally fine and normal, but when I got there and the lights dimmed and I turned to him to ask a question about the context of the film, my cheek grazed his. I remember my heart sort of clenched and quickened, which surprised me. I was alarmed and I looked at him with my eyebrows stitched together in confusion. His eyes were of course glued to the screen in rapt attention (ha.). Over the course of the 2 hour film, I would turn and whisper and graze his cheek every once in a while asking about the plot earnestly, and once in a while in an attempt to slyly touch his cheek too (hey, I’m young, don’t judge.). When we left the theater, we ended up chatting for a bit before we split. I brushed off the feeling as a side effect of hormones and lust and fell asleep. Little did I know this was the beginning of the seed which would later bloom.
Time went on, and life did too, and the year proved to be both challenging and turbulent. I encountered some of the hardest moments as my health deteriorated and complications cropped up. I found myself in the emergency room and at the dental office multiple times. Alongside my physical issues, I was under a lot of mental strain due to my academic workload. Everything was taxing, and I constantly felt under pressure. In these dark times, he was there to shake me out of it, and to remind me to breathe and let go of my mistakes and the imperfections. It wasn’t like he became my life support or anything, but he definitely impacted me positively during that time. His loyalty and care surprised and touched me, and that’s when my feelings became more than platonic. As cliche and awful as it sounds, I fell for him. He became a permanent fixture in my mind and my phone, like a sticky, sweet, molasses which I could not detangle myself from. I found myself thinking about him and smiling absently, and I was horrified and happy. How did he feel?
This became my dilemma over the course of 2 months. Do I quash my feelings and continue our wonderful friendship or do I confess my feelings and risk rejection but also acceptance? I had never ever expressed my affections for anyone before, but I had also never felt so strongly for someone before. In the end, I felt compelled to tell him how I felt. It was painful to be yearning for more, and to continually calculate and dissect his actions in an attempt to find hope.
I told him how I felt, and it felt like the longest stretch of time waiting for his answer. His rejection was simple and very kind, which was characteristic of him. It was really hard dealing with it. The women I had never understood, who sobbed and ate ice cream when rejected, became like second sisters to me. I broke down and craved sweets, anything to sate my heartbreak. My best friends cheered me on and told me there were better people out there.
Gradually, things improved, and my heart no longer clenches when I see him. We’re still really good friends, and he’s been really good with treating me normally. On a good day, I don’t think about him at all either. Yet there are still moments, just like now, where I can’t help thinking about him, and wishing he could’ve said yes, and reciprocated my feelings. I want to be cuddled and to be loved (though that might also be my unstable hormones again). I wrote this in hopes of it being a cathartic release of my suppressed feelings, and I think to some extent I do feel a little more relieved. I don’t regret telling him how I felt (or feel), and in fact, it was liberating, albeit crushing at the same time. I wanted to let you all know that it’s beautiful loving someone, and if you do, I advise you to pursue it. Regardless of the result, it’ll be memorable.