I don’t know if you’ve ever been in love before or crushed so hard you feel like you’re on the drop of a rollercoaster.
If not, this is what it feels like:
The insides of your stomach churns liquified food into buttery bricks melting you into the gapping floor, a steady beat throbs rapidly in your ear, mind portals through universes to you laughing on the peeling grey couch he carried from the side of a quiet street, “It’s still in good condition,” he says, twisting you into a freshly baked pretzel. Blood and warmth flood your cheeks, and impatience makes you reach for your phone.
That is the feeling I lived with for approximately two and a half years. I wanted to burst into a thousand confetti pieces, but we were such great friends, and I had some suspicions regarding his sexuality so I padlocked my feelings in a safe I could hardly access, denying all feelings that arose in my chest along with a small spark of hope.
“We’re just friends,” I would announce to myself and anyone who hinted at the possibility of something more brewing.
In reality, every time he asked me to chill, I imagined a date. Every time our hands brushed, I imagined his smooth bony fingers in mine. I was crushing hard, and I could barely control it so at the end of high school, after graduation, I shakingly dialed his number.
He picked up and in the two-hour phone call I said the words I only ever whispered to myself, “I like you.”
There was no awkward silence or the slightest shock, he just said something like, “thank you” or “I know.” He didn’t say it dismissively, I could tell he was genuinely flattered and that was that. While I knew his lack of response was rejection, our friendship continued the way it always had and I appreciated that he didn’t make it a big deal.
After high-school, we fell apart, attending universities in different cities.
And then, out of the blue, he messages me,
“let’s meet up.”
So we do, and when he started talking it was like we were sitting at the back in math class again. The small batch of butterflies migrates back into my chest.
Then he tells me about the guy he was seeing but not dating. I knew it was coming but it was the first time he openly admitted it to me.
THE GUY I SPENT 2.5 YEARS CRUSHING ON IS GAY.
Hearing the words out loud felt like someone jerked the rug beneath me, knowing in my head that I was falling but unaware of the impact until I felt the pain of knees hitting the hard cement, hands jabbed with ant-sized rocks, a jostling pain that shot through my body rattling my very core.
A hurricane of feelings stirred within me; embarrassment that I like liked someone who is gay, embarrassment from not knowing he’s gay, embarrassment from being rejected without even given a chance. The hurt and betrayal from him, from myself, from the fact that I never stood a chance, that I analyzed situations wrong, all the signs. The fact that he never felt or would feel the same heart-wrenching excitement I felt for him.
I felt like I betrayed myself with my lack of ability to detect real affection from friendship-affection, the fact that while I suspected he didn’t like girls I couldn’t stop myself from feeling what I felt for him. I wanted to deny ever liking him, that if I knew he was gay I wouldn’t have. I wanted to downplay my feelings for him, crush them.
But even as we walked side-by-side after all these years of absent communication, after him telling me about this guy he was seeing, I still felt a souring pang of hurt mingled with hate and embarrassment.
Rejection from someone is one thing, but rejection from someone who doesn’t like girls stirred something else in me. I took a few weeks to reflect on my feelings, to be honest with myself before realizing…
I fell for him not because he is gay or straight, but because he made me fall over my chair laughing, because he stood on my side when I was having a hard time, because he is intelligent and silly, yet responsible when he needs to be. I fell for him because he cares too much about his hair and appearance, and the fact that he would apologize when I lost my temper. Him being gay doesn’t change that. +
In my experience, often times we pity straight girls that fall for gay guys (I find this combination more common than the other way around) because of their lack of ability to “know” or “see clearly” but honestly I don’t think this is something embarrassing or pitiful.
We fall for these guys not because they are straight or gay, but because of their personality and honestly even if I knew from the start my best friend was gay I might have still fallen for him.
I mean, I would probably be a little more careful with where I put my heart knowing I’d never stand a chance, but I believe his personality would have still shone through and grabbed me by the heart anyways.
Thank you for reading this little thing! Your attention is much appreciated, and while I still have it, here’s a something about me:
Kimberly is a peanut-butter by the jar kind of person who spends much of her time debating whether she should walk or run, annoying her current boyfriend, discussing the end-of-times and reflecting upon her experiences, in hopes to find humanity and spark difficult conversations between people. Read more of her stuff here: