Well. Um. This is gonna be a challenge, writing about the past and having to forget the past year or so for a while..
I am a dreamer, not a doer. I am the sort of girl who is content with sitting in front of a notebook or laptop all day, conjuring up worlds that I’d love to explore, characters I wished I could meet, and lives I wanted to have — because that was all I was able to do in this prison of a home.
Manny doesn’t dream; he plans AND he does. He is also the sort of boy who joined his high school cheerleading team just so he could flirt with the girls — and ended up dating the head cheerleader.
And yet, despite my best efforts to not get too attached to someone who contradicted every quality I would like in a partner, despite NOT BELIEVING it could happen, I fell in love with this very boy.
Have I ever mentioned this, journal? That I am the biggest skeptic of this so-called teenage love thing? Well, now you know. Yeah, I am such a romantic, I know. That must make me a hypocrite because I often write about teenage love even though I didn’t think it was real. (Cardcaptor Sakura, yes, they are all like 12.) But then it happened to me. I call it love now because that’s the only word I have for it, but to be honest, I can’t be sure that these current feelings of “love” will be the same feelings that I will ultimately have for the person I marry. (Marriage… I mentioned before that this deserves a post of its own. Because I’m not getting married.) Probably not, right? They say you truly fall in love just once, “they” being hopeless romantics. I am not one of those; I’m more realistic romantic, if such a thing exists. I believe that my sort of love is only a lesser version of that “true love.” Both certainly are genuine feelings, though! They’re just on different levels.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I should first go back to when I felt that transition from like to love.
It was some time in the middle of winter when I noticed a clear difference in the way I was feeling. In the earlier stages of the relationship, I was very much infatuated. I would randomly smile while walking because he had crossed my mind. My friends, during dinner, would look at my face and point out that there’s something different about it. I was glowing, they said.
So yes, I liked him a lot during that time. HOWEVER. It didn’t once cross my mind that I might have loved him. Because I didn’t. I knew I didn’t. I can’t explain how I knew. I just did. Instead, I was only wondering how much longer we could last as a couple, as mismatched as we were. My realism will continue to be a problem in this courtship, as you will see.
The new year arrived. In February, he and I were Skyping a lot, except we wouldn’t really talk much. We would do it just to see each other while we did homework. I needed to see him every day or else this curious emptiness would come over me.
I don’t know the exact moment when I fell for him hard. Maybe there was no exact moment, happening instead in teeny increments over time. But the realization came suddenly during one of these Skype sessions in mid-February. Whenever I saw him, even when he was wearing that hideous doo rag that he bought for the sole purpose of torturing me, I could feel the words on the tip of my tongue, threatening to spill out in a breathless rush, over and over again. I love you.
Then: Why do I love you?
In typical Mimi fashion, I panicked.
Do you see why I would be so freaked out by the intensity of these emotions? I met Manny in September. I fell for him slowly during October. Our relationship started in November. He’s my first boyfriend ever. I didn’t believe in young love. And I was supposed to think I already loved him after knowing him for five months? No. Impossible! I refused to believe it. It disgusted me, even, because in my mind I was no better than little pre-teens who claim they have gone through so much in their lives.
Manny and I aren’t just polar opposites; we’re from different WORLDS. The way we think, the things we do, and the conversations we have with others — they are worlds apart. I believe it’s very difficult for these two worlds to mix, and I saw this from the beginning. That’s why, although I allowed myself to like him, I didn’t plan on venturing beyond “like.”
But you know? They don’t call it “falling in love” for nothing. You don’t plan it. You trip and fall on your face and get the breath knocked out of you. At least, that’s what happened to me. I never saw it coming.
I don’t give away my heart so easily. Nor do I accept hearts easily. You know that well by now. Love is serious business. That’s because love in any form terrifies me, whether familial, friendly, or romantic. I won’t even refer to the romantic kind by its name; whenever I try to tell my friends about it I just hold up my left hand with my index finger and thumb in an L shape and hope they understand. So when I think I love someone, I’m not just tossing the term around lightly. I’d put hours of thought into it, analyzed it from every angle, sobbed hot frustrated tears at night into my pillow because DAMMIT WHYYYY.
At the time of these ~feelings~ I had two reasons why things could not end well.
Reason #1: He can never love me back. He’s had a number of serious and non-serious girls before me and he didn’t love any of them. Or so he claims. But the point is, how can he possibly love unlovable me when he’s had so many -interesting- girls in the past? Most likely he’s had much more in common with Past Girls than with Current Girl, aka me. He doesn’t have a reason to love me. Why does he even LIKE me? Then again, I don’t have a reason to love him either. I just do. It just happened.
But somehow I can’t imagine him loving me so easily, just like that. Most of the time he acts like he doesn’t like me. He won’t hold my hand in public. He won’t touch me at all in public, except to kiss me goodbye. When there are other people around, he almost ignores that I’m in the room at all, let alone show me any romantic affection. There was that time when we had been in a tiny room full of people for several hours, and the moment we were left alone, he pulled my sleepy form into his embrace. I hated myself for practically melting into his arms.
Reason #2: We’re ultra incompatible as a couple. I tell him this all the time. He knows it well. Yet, we’re still together and I can’t get him the hell out of my thoughts. We’re complete opposites in personalities AND we don’t have a thing in common. My parents would kill the both of us if they find out that there is an “us.” It’s difficult finding time to see each other because of our physical distance. Our lives are so separate. I can’t mesh with his friends so effortlessly like his bubbly and pretty best friend can. I sometimes feel that he’s only staying with me because he knows how unstable I am. Unlike most relationships that are fueled by similarities, ours runs on pure emotion. Opposites may attract but the similarities keep you together.
Because of these reasons, I had to end it.
My friends were completely against it. They knew I wanted to confront him about some issues (like him ignoring me when we’re with people), which they supported, but breaking up with him because the feelings weer getting too intense for my liking?
“DON’T DO IT YOU DUMB NUT,” they all yelled at me.
(There seems to be a pattern of my friends joining forces and chorusing their advice in my face.)
I was so scared, journal. And when Mimi is scared, she does the the most idiotic things.
But I was also super determined. I was going to talk to him and nothing was gonna stop me!
…then I got there and I saw him and this great warmth came over me and oh shit I can’t do this ABANDON SHIPPPP. Laureen, Tangy, and Mclean were all gathered in the same place and called me on the phone and pushed me to go through with it… while Manny was in the same room presumably listening to our conversation. I had to be extra careful to speak vaguely and in code. Still, he’s a smart guy so I’m sure he figured something odd was going on.
When I eventually did confront him about the things that had been bothering me, it went fine. We were lying in bed, watching a movie. He explained that he didn’t even realize he was acting a certain way around me, and he said he was hesitant to touch me in public because he knew how I felt about public displays of affection. Everything went better than expected!
But then he asked me if there was anything else I needed to tell him. I paused. It was now or never. I chose now.
I got as far as “I think it would be best if we…” Here, I faltered and couldn’t bring myself to finish the sentence.That was okay because he finished it for me.
“You want to break up with me.” It was more of a statement than a question, and even though there were words coming out of his mouth it seemed like he had stopped breathing at the same time.
“Want” was the wrong word, and I told him so. It was hard to explain that I didn’t want to, but that I had to. Things were getting too serious. I did like him very much, the feelings were genuine, but he was my first to be my first. We were meant to be a short-term thing and nothing more. An experiment, almost. I was speaking quietly the entire time. There were no tears.
Yet, when he directly asked me if I wanted to break up, I couldn’t answer him. I did but I didn’t, and I could not give him a sufficient reason without telling him how I really felt. After getting not a word from me, he turned so that his back was to me, and said that if my answer was yes I should just leave quietly in the morning, without waking him up.
Prepare yourself, journal, for the most movie-cliche scene of all time.
I started to cry, as quietly as I could so that he couldn’t hear me. Speaking to his back, I said, my voice a cracking whisper, “I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you.”
WHAT THE HELL SELF THIS STUFF ONLY HAPPENS IN FIC AND DRAMAS.
I swear to God I read that exact line in a fic somewhere before.
I don’t know if it were my words or increasingly blatant crying that made him do it, but he turned back around and slid his arms around me. I held my hands to my face because his gesture only made me lose all control I had over my sobbing, and I tried to pull away, telling him that I was getting him wet with tears. He just held on tightly and wouldn’t let go.
He managed to calm me down and later, oddly enough, the remaining half of the night consisted of silliness and play-wrestling and laughter. I don’t know how the mood did a 180 but it did and I was grateful.
But it wasn’t until I got back to my school did I realize he never told me he loved me back. But you know? I was okay with it. I didn’t expect him to.
Roughly a week or two later. It was 2am during spring break when he called me. He just wanted to talk to me. At the end of the conversation, however, he further surprised me by leaving me with an I love you. Not expecting it at all, I hung up and listened to my heart drum madly.
We got to enjoy this period of mutual love for the rest of spring break and part of the next time I would see him. So… a week, basically. The next time we met, when we were lying in his bed and getting ready to sleep, he brought up something that had likely been on his mind for a while, all because I gave him the idea in the first place.
He proposed taking a break in our relationship until the fall.
You see, we were approaching the summer. Summer = a good 3 months of not seeing each other, increased chances of catching the eye of other more interesting people, and all the other dangerous long distance relationship maintenance problems. Some of his past relationships also met their demise during the summer. I frequently wondered aloud about how we’d last through the summer. Manny finally found the balls to do something about it. I agreed to this plan, and a calm sorrow came over me but nothing that made me want to cry.
From then on, our intention was to be friends with none of that couple-y stuff. So in the morning after our agreement and I was about to leave, we hugged each other for a long time and he kissed my forehead, but that was all.
And… then I burst into tears the moment I left his room. I AM WEAK GRRR. And I kept leaking tears on the train. And wept hysterically into Mclean’s lap because I ran into her on the bus back to school. I didn’t really know why I was crying; it wasn’t like he cheated on me or abused me or stopped being my friend at all. I didn’t want Manny to know how upset this left me, but his neighbor had caught me crying as I exited his res hall and he let Manny know.
Oh man, and this was a mutual split too. Just imagine how I’m going to be when the two of us break up for real. D:
The next week was just oddness. I didn’t know how to treat him or talk to him, because for the most part everything seemed unchanged. So I kept doing what I always did and talked to him normally, except I was a bit more careful to leave emotions out.
I had met up with my best high school friend Cappa during that week too (who then took me to Manny’s res hall to set me up with a new guy there -___-). Manny wasn’t in his room at the time, and when he found out that I was there, just a bit too late, he sent me a text expressing how saddened he was to have missed me. What is this, really. This quick post happened during this ambiguous time and effectively sums up our situation.
Just a week after our break up, he invited me over for a tennis and movie date, effectively CONFUSING THE FUCK OUT OF ME. We hardly went on dates even while we were dating.
During that day, he tried to teach me how to play tennis, at one point having to get behind me and do that cliche hand-over-mine-showing-me-how-to-do-it-correctly thing. Except… his face was so stony the whole time. There was none of that warmth he usually reserved for me.
I suck at tennis.
Later was our little movie date. A super gory horror flick. WHY THE FUCK, if we weren’t a couple, would he choose a genre that would inevitably cause me to flinch and scream and seek the nearest source of warm comfort? I did hide my face in his shoulder when the gore got too intense, but he didn’t hold me or take my hand or keep his arm around me like he usually would. Nothing.
I hated it. I couldn’t just flip a switch that turned off all romantic attraction to him. I would rather have not been friends at all.
It did not help at all when, as we were waiting to cross the street, he casually mentions the following:
“You know, I just realized something the other day. You care about me so much, more than anyone else ever had.”
Fuck you, asshole, I am trying my best to not care about you at this very moment so can you kindly shut your mouth.
After we got back from the movie, it had gotten dark. And he expected me to leave. Right. We weren’t a couple anymore which means I can’t sleep over. Then I realized that I ran out of my school-issued bus tokens and had no cash on hand to pay for the evening bus. And so I had no choice but stay for the night to catch the free bus in the morning.
Manny took me to his at-the-time best friend Olive’s suite because it was too early to sleep. There, I made fast friends with a girl I had briefly met before, Esme, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years. Yup, loooots to talk about while we locked ourselves in her room with the movie popcorn and a box of tissues.
Esme let me know that apparently, the night before this, Manny had gotten really drunk and confided a lot of things to her before he blacked out for the first time and forgot everything about that night. He has no recollection of what he said and he had been trying to get Esme to tell him, but she wouldn’t. She told me instead, because it was ABOUT me.
He had sighed to her about our break up. Said he was no longer sure about his feelings for me, since I was the first girl he felt this strongly about. He loved me but didn’t know if he was IN love with me. Whatever that means. Love is so tricky. He asked her for advice. She managed to convince him that he should get back together with me, and if he hadn’t blacked out that night maybe things would be all right. But he did black out and forgot that conversation ever happened.
Yeah. That got me upset. Once we re-emerged from Esme’s room and joined Manny and his friends in the living room, I demanded that Esme pour me shots to numb the pain, even though I never really drank alcohol before. Manny, not liking this idea at all, put his hand on my shoulder to stop me, and I slapped his hand away without ever glancing at his face. I only heard his disbelief at how cold I was acting.
I had maybe 3 shots worth of vodka mixed with juice and oh that loosened me up. That was all it took to get me giggly and stupid. I could no longer feel how upset I had been 5 minutes earlier. (Mimi when tipsy = laugher and happy rainbows and life is beautiful so yup, this is the potentially dangerous reason why I drink.)
Manny later took me back to his room so I could sleep while he hung out with his friends for a bit more. While in the room alone, I had trouble sleeping and the effects of what little alcohol I consumed wore off in the meantime. The sadness returned, slapped me in the face, and I quietly cried into his pillow until I eventually drifted off into a light sleep.
I was awakened when he slid into bed some time later. We weren’t supposed to be a couple anymore so aside from scooting over to give him room, I didn’t talk to him or acknowledge his presence. But then… he kissed me. The motherfucker kissed me when he was the one who declared this stuff out of bounds in the first place. And the moment he did that, all the emotions came rushing back and dammit it hurt, not being able to touch him this way, and I kissed him back so hard he must have felt how much I craved this.
Sex? Of course. But it had never been so raw before. Our every move was full of neediness and desperation, yet I can’t recall us saying a word to each other. We didn’t discuss the events of that night until the day after, when I was back at school and asked him to call me because I had things I needed to say to him.
He wanted to know why I hadn’t stopped him. Why I seemed like I wanted it, even. I answered with the truth — that I wasn’t ready to let him go. Then I told him that we shouldn’t talk to each other for a while, to make it less confusing and painful for the both of us. It was a gentle suggestion, yet I would have no clue how much it hurt him until later.
So we did it. No texting. No calls. No Skype. No Twitter flirting. No Facebook posts. We ceased all forms of communication.
When I couldn’t stand the silence any longer — a mere 3 days later because I am just that weak — I contacted him first. He refused to take me back so easily.
Until next time,
~ Mimi :)
P.S. Next part of this super long tale should be the last!