For as long as I can remember, I've always been the girl who expects the fairytale ending. Yes, it's just as obnoxious as it sounds and I'm sure if you were to interview an ex or two of mine, they'd be happy to moan and groan about my expectations and how I approach relationships. I believe the words "Real relationships aren't like the fucking movies, Whitney." were said to me somewhere around a year ago and while I do understand that things get stretched quite a bit (see also: a shit ton) in movies, I don't think I'll ever stop expecting that type of romance. #sorryimnotsorry
In high school I used to watch all of these happy couples roam the hallways, hand-in-hand, leaving notes in each others lockers and going to dances together. I never really had anything like that in high school, partially because the only boyfriend I had growing up went to a different school, but mostly because I wasn't exactly what you'd define as a "catch". So, I got to stand on the sidelines and watch as, what seemed like, everyone was finding their first loves and falling harder than Romo did when he got sacked last Sunday night (insert evil laugh here).
I clearly remember Valentine's Day being one of the most difficult of the high school days for me to endure because it was the day where all of the girls got to carry around bouquets of roses, balloons, cards, the whole nine, while it was just a normal, lonely day for me. Four of those lonely high school Valentine's Days and for some reason I still love the manmade holiday. Hashtag hopeless romantic.
Fast forward to the days of college, the days of house parties, the days of cheap well liquor drinks at bars that could never quite kick that stench of stale vomit. Some of my most favorite memories live in those days, but one thing was still missing and it was that passionate, crazy, head over heels, out of this world love that I so badly wanted to experience. I suppose that's just it, I probably wanted it too badly and clung to anything that could have possibly filled that void.
I guess this is where I get slightly creepy so feel free to imagine me sitting in an unmarked white van, with a creeper stashe on, for the remainder of this.
One of my very best friends, he was always adored by every girl who came in contact with him. Really, not just girls, everyone seemed to adore him, myself included. I was always on the sidelines, doing the best bud thing, watching while he dated these gorgeous girls with perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect everything. I'd see exchanges on MySpace (ha!), I'd watch from the corner of the parties while he'd kiss them, I'd see them leave together, and the entire time I just wished it was me he was holding. It was never me though, I was just the best bud and I eventually decided that I was ok with it because I would have rather been the best bud than no one to him at all.
This was always the song I related to him.
I remember we'd get home from school and video chat on AIM for hours on end, taking quick breaks for dinner, and then resuming until one of us would inevitably fall asleep at the computer. Countless jokes and laughs were passed back and forth and I'm pretty sure I'll never forget those days. Even if I wasn't the one who got to leave those parties with him, I got to be the one he laughed with and that was more than enough for me.
Somewhere along the years, thanks to a truly heinous bitch, he became a runner and refused to let anyone in. I saw it coming, I knew exactly what happened, I was there for him when it went down. He had his mind set that relationships weren't for him and he was officially off the market, indefinitely. And not off the market for someone else, his heart was simply off the market for anyone to touch. Bolder women than I tried their hardest to shimmy their way in and as soon as they thought they were there, poof he was gone. Secretly, I liked that part. Ok, I usually didn't make it much of a secret.
For about ten years, through failed relationships on both sides, him and I never seemed to be able to stay away from each other. There was always something about him I just couldn't shake, there was always something about him that made me completely weak, there was always something about him that made me continue to initiate us hanging out. I have always held him to a standard not many can reach, let alone surpass, and I've always known that if I had to just be the best bud that's what I was going to be, even if it meant yearning to be more every single minute we'd spend together.
About three months ago I decided to text him because I wanted to hang out with him, I missed him and just needed to be in his presence. I knew it was slightly dangerous considering I've always gotten in some strange coma state once I'd leave him and I've also always known of his running tendencies. I was in a different place this time though, my heart was off the market for anyone to touch this time. I was the one who was prepared to run for the hills if anyone were to try and tie this sister down. We were going to hang out and it was going to be casual and fun, just like the old days, except this time I knew I'd be just fine if he were to run.
Weeks continued to pass by, we continued hanging out more and more frequently, but I was holding on strong - not falling in too deep, not expecting anything more than whatever was going on at the time. We were having fun, I was getting to spend a lot of time with my best friend, everything was pretty much what I always wanted with him. It was weird but I didn't question it, I just road the wave, continuing to remind myself that I was the one who didn't want anything serious this time around.
Fourth of July happened and he asked me to hang out. At this point, it wasn't really surprising to me because we had been hanging out more consistently around that time and I just figured we'd toss back a few beers, like always, and maybe hit up the bar once we were sick of sitting around. Except when I got there, he told me we were going to our mutual friend's huge fireworks show that just about every person we went to high school with was attending. This was when I started to feel things changing but I kept it locked away because surely I was going insane. Impossible. Can't be. So I shook those thoughts right out of my head and kept my cool, just like I had been the entire time.
Then his birthday rolled around. I was the one he wanted next to him at midnight to ring in his celebration with. I was the one he wanted to take Fireball shots with that night. It was surreal, to say the very least. But, again, he's not a relationship guy and I'm the best bud. I reminded myself this a few times throughout the night, throughout the next few days, and I shook the crazy out of my head once again.
My birthday rolls around, 15 days after his birthday, and he's the one ringing in my birthday with me. Only this time, he was the one who wanted to be there as my guy on my birthday. I was still convincing myself I had dreamed all of this up in my head, even though every single girlfriend of mine was telling me it was different this time, I continued to deny it. It was impossible. There was just no way he was finally mine.
Fourteen days after my birthday he called me something I had wanted to hear him call me for over ten years. Fourteen days after my birthday he called me "girlfriend". I wasn't bud or buddy, I was girlfriend and I was on cloud 9,000.
I'm the exception this time.