story of someone moving on from a previous point of unrequited love
|There he sits. A smile gracing his lips. A glimmer of humor in his eyes. His hands gently clasped in front of him, resting on his knees ever so slightly. The firelight barely illuminates his face. Warmth and love etched into every feature. He gives attention to every word, as if anticipating and enjoying the utterance of every phrase I speak. As of yet, it is difficult to decipher what he thinks of me. Within me, I feel this giddiness whenever I see him, whenever I speak to him, whenever I am with him. I do not know what will come of it. It is hard to know for I am scared to utter aloud the burning question within me. I do not want to lose this friendship. I do not want to speak those words because I am afraid of the rejection. I am afraid of what could happen when I finally reveal the thoughts that have been haunting me since I initially found out about that strange, unlikely circumstance. Yet, he does not know this dilemma, as far as I can tell. He says something else. I smile and laugh. Why can’t everything be this simple, this delightful? Why can’t every day end like this, with a pleasant voice and a relaxed atmosphere washing over me as I analyze the scene before me?
“Hey, I’d like to ask you a question”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Have you ever been in love?”
It took me a moment to respond to his inquiry. I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
Finally, I decided to simply be honest.
“Zach, no, I haven’t been in love. I’ve never really had the opportunity.”
“A pretty girl like you? What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’ve never been in the situation where someone I liked ever liked me back. And though I have been asked out, it was never by someone who piqued my interest in the slightest. As such, I’ve simply never had the chance to develop a relationship into something I could call ‘bound in love.’”
“And what if someone expressed interest in you at this point in your life? Would you accept a singular proposal to hang out with them?”
“It depends on the context, friend. It depends on if I felt any sort of mental, emotional, or physiological connection with them. Why do you ask?”
He paused for a second. An aura of hesitation seemed to issue forth from his visage. “Would you consider pursuing a relationship with me?” he asked.
I looked up then, somewhat startled and overcome with a singular strangely passionate emotion. I searched his face for answers to the thousand questions creeping into my mind. Within his features were displayed such emotions as I had only imagined in my dreams. His eyes were averted, bespeaking that anxious hesitation that a well-placed risk can bring. His hands moving with nervous energy as if they couldn’t still themselves for the response which could destroy his world entirely (at least for the foreseeable future).
I understood then why he had pursued such a line of questioning with me. And my heart leaped within me as I mustered up the courage to speak the words I had held back for so long. “Zach,” said I courageously.
“I would be so very happy as to pursue a relationship with you.”
He quickly responded by taking my hands in his own and starting to speak. But before he could form even a single coherent phrase, I cut him off and removed my hands momentarily. “However, before I can do such a thing I have a request of you.”
“Yes, my love?”
It was strange to hear those words uttered. I never realized how much it would mean to me at that moment to hear someone express such emotion that I never dared to believe could happen at all, at least not to me. It was then that I knew that I felt the same for him. I guess I had known something of love before that point. But I digress.
“Zach, I would consider pursuing a relationship with you but I would first ask that you ask my father for permission to pursue me. I know that it’s old-fashioned, but it would mean the world to me if you could.”
He was silenced for a moment, but years of friendship had revealed to me that his mind would be working double time in order to make this simple thing a reality. He had met my parents previously, so it wasn’t as difficult of a task to complete, but I knew that it was a huge step towards whatever relationship might form between us.
As he sat there, mulling over the request and how to achieve it, my own mind began to drift into diverse waters. I was brought back to a moment in my history when I had entertained thoughts of romance for another man. This man, as far as I recall, never knew the feelings I had for him. Yet, he had been a friend to me and had helped me reach the point where I now resided. It was his example that led me to become a follower of Christ in a manner that was beforehand unrealized. I never told anyone this, though. But I knew as I sat there, that I had to do something to thank the man I used to love with a passion. I never assigned the word love to this relationship, but I now realize that I really did love him. I still do. But the relationship with Zach now in front of me has offered me a glimpse into the reality that life and love do move on. So, I decided to write him a letter. I decided to reveal to him how I felt. I didn’t send the letter right away because I wanted Zach to be party to its contents. But one day, some months later, I finally mailed it to him.
I’ve always observed you from the shadows, from a distance. I didn’t see you everywhere. Nor did I attempt to. But when I saw you, which was common enough as it was, I rarely initiated a conversation that hadn’t been started previously. I don’t think you saw me as much. You were too busy in your own world. You had your friends, some of which were mutual, I’m sure, but I never really found the willpower to interrupt your conversations with them. You and they would have welcomed me in, I know. But I could never bring myself to that level. I was much too nervous.
But then you moved away. You found some internship somewhere and never came home to that little town. Last I heard, you were off on some adventure with a pretty lass who cared about the same things as you. Last I heard, you were deliriously happy and extremely successful.
As for me, I just kept walking along the path I had been all along. I found myself a man who sought me. That’s not to say that you never did, but I wouldn’t have known even if you had. I was too much wrapped up in myself to know anything that occurred outside. I had to focus on school. I had to focus on becoming a better manager. I had to focus on improving my programming skills. I had to do so many things.
Or maybe I simply chose to focus on those. Either way, we went our separate ways and I didn’t hear much from you at all. I wish I would have because I had a gut level feeling that we could have formed a glorious relationship. Maybe we would have even gotten married if our paths had aligned just right.
But that never happened. And it’s okay. I just wanted you to know that I’m okay now. Maybe you would care about that. Maybe you wouldn’t. I’d love to know. If there could have been a chance. But maybe we shouldn’t go down that road. It could lead to a lot of what-ifs and I really don’t want to mess with any regret.
I don’t regret anything about the road I chose to take, aside from the aforementioned talking with you more, and I think that will even suffice. The man I have loves me and I love him. He is a wonderful person, someone with whom I think you could be good friends. I met him in a coffee shop as I was doing homework late one night. By then you were already gone. You had a future ahead of you, and even if I never said anything, I knew that whatever happened you would do well. And you did. You did more than just well. You did exceptionally well. You were always that kind of person. I could tell. Even if you had your faults.
I loved you from a distance. I never said that to you. It never came up. Maybe I never wanted it to. It would have only complicated the shallow relationship we had. Our relationship was founded on a principal meeting so many years ago. It was a risk, that occurrence that led me to view you as more than a classmate.
When I walked into the room, I knew only a few people there. I had previously dabbled in the college ministry at the church but never had much time to devote to exploring it further or attending it regularly. After you walked in, suddenly I had a reason to do more than dabble. I jumped right in. I made it a point to attend as much as I could. That was because of you. I joined your life group too. I found an awesome community there.
I hadn’t had that kind of community in a long time. Maybe never. I still maintained friendships outside of church functions but I started to see that life group in a different light because they shared my main focus. We all wanted to grow in Christ together. I didn’t have that in my other friendships. Well, not entirely. My best friend outside of the church, who was always my best friend, maintained interest in the subject. But I don’t know. I needed something more than that.
You guys became my friends. My closer ones. I had a hard time accepting that fact. My definition of friend was always stricter than what many people considered. Yet, you guys somehow managed to squeeze past that. That was a godsend, really, because it helped to ground me. I had been simply floating by before you guys came into my life. Then, God used you to center my focus on him again. I had strayed. And he led me back. He relit the dying fire of passion in me. A passion to serve. A passion to help others. A passion to really get involved in my community.
As a result, I looked into opportunities to serve at church. I was contacted a few days/weeks later. I did an orientation to become a camera operator and auditioned for the college ministry worship team. Both came to fruition. Suddenly I had a chance to utilize my talents in unique ways at church. Knowing how each one impacted the community really helped me to retain those positions. As a camera operator, I learned a lot about the more technical aspects of what it takes to produce a worthy online production for those who can’t, for whatever reason, attend a normal service at our church. As a worship leader, I learned the musical aspects. I learned to be confident in the person God made me to be. I learned to be grateful for every day I could live and do what I loved.
For this reason, I always came back to that initial meeting. If it hadn’t been for seeing you in a major aspect of my own life, I wouldn’t have chosen to involve myself more in the activities of the church. That passion surprised me. And I grew to love you more. I grew to love God more as a result of you.
But you went away. And I chose to move on. I could never forget the love I have for you. But I had to move on lest I lay wasted all my days because the one I truly wanted got away before I could tell him how I felt. It wasn’t up to me in that moment. It was solely up to you. One hint from you and I think I would have gone with you anywhere. I would have dropped everything I worked for. But you wouldn’t have asked that of me. You would have told me to finished what I was doing. You would have wanted me to finish what I had set out to do first. Then maybe we could have created something beautiful together.
As it was, that never happened. So, I continued on. I met my love. He was strong. He was kind. He was seeking God the same as me. He inspired me at you did so long ago. He led me. He loved me. That was enough. I was happy. I am happy.
My love has been the best person to come into my life since I met him. He has helped me in all the ways you never did. Maybe you could have in time, but when I knew you, you weren’t ready for that responsibility. You weren’t ready to pursue a relationship. At least, not with me. Maybe you never would have been. Either way, it’s okay.
I only wanted to write this so you knew how grateful I am to you. I don’t think there could have been a better first love for me. It may not have been voiced, but I knew that it was an amazing experience while it lasted. Thank you so much for that friendship you offered me. It got me started on a different road. I didn’t have to continue floating by as if on an endless sea. I finally had a purpose. Or just rediscovered my purpose. I found a voice for my purpose. Thank you for everything.
Forever your friend,
It took a few months for a reply to come in the mail from Matthias. In that time I grew closer and closer to Zach. We went from being good friends to becoming the most important people in each other’s lives. It was wonderful, that transition from friendship to romantic relationship to inseparable. I loved every moment of every day I saw him.