But you've given me a lot to love.

You don’t love me. What a strange thing to realize suddenly.

14 years and it hit me for the first time.

You were so genuinely happy to see me, exclaimed my name, pulled me in for a hug. 14 years and we’ve never hugged before. We caught up, we talked about music, we laughed about the past. And it was crystal clear that you don’t feel what I feel for you. You never have. I had so much fun but I also feel a quiet and resigned sadness, and I felt it even while we were enjoying each other’s company. Because that’s all it is - you enjoy my company. But you don’t have feelings for me. There is no tortured love story, just two people who enjoy each other’s company.

Everything feels different now. Any night before this and I would have felt reaffirmed that we have this thing between us. In most ways, everything was the same as it always was, and in some ways it was even better. Sharing your beer and making plans to see each other again is certainly new territory. It was sweet and fun, but painfully platonic. It was like seeing through new eyes.

I suppose it doesn’t hurt very much because there was nothing lost. And the fact that you genuinely like me as a person is hardly the worst realization. It’s just amazing how a switch went off in my head and I thought, “Oh. He doesn’t feel this.” I realized it all at once, in a single moment. 14 years of what I thought I knew and I can’t even pinpoint what made me realize I was wrong. It wasn’t anything because everything was lovely. We were sweet and sarcastic and playful. We were a little touchy, we hugged multiple times, we made plans to see each other again. But it was obvious that you don’t feel what I’ve always felt. And god damn, I still feel it.

Nothing has changed for me except realizing that this has always been one sided. It’s the strangest feeling. There’s an undertone of sadness in how wonderful it was to see you. Nothing has changed for me except my perception of our dynamic. I will always miss you, but that’s nothing new.

Last night felt like the start of a friendship and I always wanted that, if nothing else. When they say love is blind, maybe this is what they really meant. Maybe my problem was never seeing this accurately. Blinded by wishful thinking and by my lifelong love of you.

Before and After

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[I believe in a thing called love]