Eight years. I’ve known him for eight years now. We never crossed each other’s lives much, but we were always around, asking each other how we’ve been. I was with him when he fell in love for the first time. Vice versa, he was there when I fell in love.
We met people from different parts of our lives. He got together with a girl from his church, and I got together with a guy who I met at practice. We were 17 then. I watched him being anxious about how to ask her out, what to wear on their first date, and how to confess his feelings to her. As for me, I didn’t tell him much about my love life, but he was there, as a friend.
Every few weeks, we would catch up through texts. “Heyy, how are you? How’s your girlfriend?” He would start telling me that they’re fine, just that his expenses were increasing, and as a student, it took a slight toll on him.
One day, I asked the same question. His reply was the same, but slightly different. This time, it went like this “Yeah, we’re fine. But if things don’t work out between me and her, I’m gonna get you to marry me.” That took me aback. He had to be joking. We’re just friends.
At that time, I was attached to another guy from my university. I didn’t think much of what he said, afterall it had to be a joke. He meant it as a joke. Right? I laughed it off, and told him to cut it out. The next day, I forgot all about it.
A few months down the road, I found out that he broke up with his girlfriend, but I didn’t probe, because I assumed that he would tell me if he wanted to. He didn’t.
We started drifting apart. The monthly texts became less frequent. Twice a year maybe. I was busy, and so was he. We stopped keeping track of each other’s lives. We grew apart. Subsequently I broke up with my boyfriend.
He finally texts me one day to meet up with the rest of our mutual friends. I said yes. I was elated, because somehow he felt like a long lost friend. Our mutual friends however were busy, so we met up, just us both. It was awkward. Sadly, it was awkward. But, I liked it. I liked it a little more than I should.
We met up again a few months later with the rest of our friends, and seeing him again felt nice. I tried to talk to him, I wanted us to be able to talk freely like before, but it felt different. I tried to text him, but sometimes he would respond, sometimes he wouldn’t. I started making excuses for him, thinking that he’s busy, that maybe, ridiculously, he’s upset at me for something. And then, I gave up. It was never going to be the same, ever. Maybe I’m just not that important to him.
I started to wonder why he means so much to me. And I don’t know. I don’t know why I can’t let this go. He’s someone whom I want to treasure, and someone whom I know I can rely on, and maybe even spend the rest of my life with. I just don’t know how to turn back time. Somehow his words “marry me” come back to haunt me often. Maybe, just maybe, we were meant to be at some point of time, but we lost it. Maybe we were too busy looking at other people, that we forgot about the one person right by our side. Maybe.