When Mr. Possibility left to go overseas the first time, he wanted to stay with me his last night in New York. At that point there had been no discussions of what we were, no title, no commitment, no anything – we were friends enjoying each other’s company and making no plans for anything more.
But I was falling for him.
It was the time when everything about him seemed refreshing, when our conversations were long and our nights were easily and sweetly passed sharing the tiny twin bed I used to have. It was when I had no expectations but still had hope of all of the things that could be. It was before I memorized every dimple, every line, each stare and every rhyme — it was before there was an “us”, before there was anything to be counted on. Or anything for him to be accountable for. It was before he explored other possibilities and before I realized his impossibilities vastly surpassed his opportunities.
The night before, we hopped from bar to bar, then ended up getting ice cream, even in near-freezing weather. I noticed the blush in his cheeks, the stubble on his chin and the easy laughter that made it so damn difficult to not admire him. He talked about his travels overseas and I listened intently, hanging onto his promises of flying me over to visit in a country that I barely knew anything about. Little did I know his invitation was already extended to another, but that would be a lesson I’d learn after hours on Skype and a bouquet of tulips sent to my home in North Carolina (with a few buds intended for my mother’s 50th birthday, mind you). Bastard.
Even though I wasn’t his girlfriend at the time, he asked to stay the night, promising to keep me warm and hold me as tightly as we fell asleep. I obliged, unable to dismiss his affections and terrified that this loving feeling growing inside of me would disappear just as he plane took flight. And so, I welcomed him into my miniature studio, on the right side of my tiny bed and into the smallest part of my heart, that eventually would spread to consume most of the organ that truly defines who I am.
When the clock struck 5 a.m. and the 6’2-200-pound handsome lug lifted himself off of me suddenly, I blinked my eyes to see my kitchen lamp on and that same lug pulling on socks and trousers. Too tired to greet him with much more than a sigh, I smiled in his general direction and closed my eyes again, hoping to meet sleep easily and ignore the sad good-bye that I knew was inevitable. In what seemed like hours, moments later he greeted my eyelids with dozens of soft kisses and cupped my face with hands big enough to swallow my cheeks as he whispered, “I’ll see you soon, Tigar. I’ll miss you so much. Come visit me.” I responded with a sweet nudge and let him walk away.
Less than a thought later, I opened my eyes only to notice a light shining into my room. In his hurry, Mr. Possibility had left my door cracked, allowing the hallway to look inside my apartment, along with all who passed my door. Groggily, I stumbled to secure the lock and curled back into bed, cursing the winter weather and an investment bank for taking a man I was falling for, far, far away.
When the New York sun found its way into the sky and made me greet a day I didn’t wish to meet, I peered out the bay window by my bed, wishing that warm body was still near me and dreaming up all the ways I could possibly see him overseas. What book is best about the Middle East? What would I wear? Would this mean we were something more? Would I become his girlfriend? Was I ready for that? I curled up into the quilt that came with the apartment, and after deciding I should wash it, I exhaled into it, missing his smell and missing the way his body moved in his sleep. Still buried in a blanket that wasn’t mine to begin with, I shifted my attention to my far-from-grand entrance and remembered the door he left open.
Perhaps it wasn’t intentionally symbolic, or intentional by any means — but in my memory of that moment, I took it as such. I believed it to mean there was a crack in the door, or at least a window ajar. There was an opportunity for something more that I couldn’t foresee. Maybe he was in a rush but maybe it meant so much more – it meant there was a chance for us. A chance for love.
I held onto to that crack in the door for as long as I could, and then a little longer than that. I held onto promises that were broken before they were made, beds that were ruined before they could be tucked in and dreams that died a slow, bitter death – as such unrealistic things often do. I believed in that crack in the door with more faith than I believed in Mr. Possibility – if I could always see how things could change, how the light could really be at the end of a twisted, dark tunnel, than I could make it work. Even after I had left the relationship in the past, I lingered on thoughts of what it could have been, what it should have been, what I wanted it to be — without seeing how the crack was swiftly disappearing into a void. Because I made up illusions that captivated me, I was determined to make them the beautiful reality I had imagined.
The last time I saw him – after giving into an invitation to visit his nieces, a chord he knew would strike me to my core — I watched him climb the stairs to catch his train, knowing it’d be a long time (if ever) I’d see him again. Startled by the idea that I wouldn’t see those dimples or hear his daily anecdotes, or be considered one of his friends or the one who got away, I snapped out of my stubbornness and followed after him, damning the train that was arriving. As fast as my heels would take me, I reached the platform, only to see him disappear into the cart.
And just as I reached the doors, they closed. I knocked on the window, but he was already tuned into his Blackberry, not facing toward me, but far away, in a place I could never reach — even after a year of loving him with all that I had, despite who he was, and especially who he wasn’t. The train pulled away and the passenger inside watched me lust after him longingly, but Mr. Possibility never noticed.
I never told him, either. What’s there to say when the crack in the door…is sealed shut?
PS: I was amazed with how many Valentine’s were sent last year from all over the world. Your touching words, your kind sentiments and the way you expressed all the things you hope for, as well as all the things that make you so beautiful – were incredible. I hope you will take a moment to write a Valentine about all the things you love about yourself, all the things in the future you can’t wait to experience and what self-love means to you. I’ll publish your words – along with a link to your blog, if you blog – on Valentine’s Day. Or if you’d rather be anonymous, that’s fine too.
Go here to submit your Valentine. You deserve it. Tell me how sweet it is to be loved by you.