Three makes it a crowd.

When a girl breaks your heart, your friends are quick to tell you things along the lines of, “she wasn’t right for you anyway, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, the girl meant for you will come along, we saw the photos of you two together and she didn’t look like a ‘Sam’ girl.’ Fuck knows what that last part even means, but the rest are all cliches that we’ve probably heard at one point or another, but you know that they come from a good place, even if you don’t want to hear them in that moment. It takes time though to find that trust again, to let someone in, to want to even let someone in, to try and learn who to place your trust in.

Maybe it’s like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but maybe you can’t fix it with the person that smashed it. There’ll still be cracks, won’t there?

It’s tough to try and move on though, everyone is unique, it takes time. How long it takes differs for all of us, depending on our circumstances. Perhaps the more that you begin to care about someone new, the more sure you are that they’re going to get tired of you and disappear and leave you alone. Just your own insecurities about what went before, right? It’s 100% not fair on the new person that comes along but it can be tough to alter your mindset. What if one day everything changes though and someone new enters your life?

We all know immediately when we meet someone whether or not we’re punching above our weight. It’s a shallow concept, but it crosses our mind, dare to tell me I’m wrong. If more than one person likes the girl that you think you might like, shit, that you know you like, one of you is the underdog. Sometimes you know what’s in your future and what’s not. What’s likely and what’s unlikely.

Conversations happen, she smiles with her eyes when we speak, is there a chance for me, despite everyone else that’s fighting for her affection? It’s looking good, but is someone out of their league here? For sure. Things progress, the conversation is on point. We kiss, the night is spent together, it’s completely innocent, nothing wrong with cuddles and kisses when you’ve been starved of them both for so long.

I don’t know too much about her, other than she’s beautiful, she’s funny and she makes me smile. She’s not my usual type, yet incredibly, it looks like I’m not the underdog any more. Insecurity creeps in again though.

I bet, I bet we don’t make it.

The morning comes and she has to go home. She doesn’t stay in the same city, far less the same country, but an open invite is extended to visit her at any time. An email drops into my inbox on a Friday morning a couple of weeks later, ‘Come visit on Saturday if you can, a friend is having a party, it would be amazing to see you. Let me know when your flight lands if you decide to come, I’ll pick you up, it’ll be fun, assuming that you want to see me?’ The email insinuates a slight tease, she knows that I do. Tomorrow is short notice, but fuck it, why not?

A flight is booked, a couple of hours on a plane to take a chance on someone is no time at all. Better to arrive on the Friday though, get my bearings, although I lived and worked where she lives years ago, sometimes it’s just nice to have a little bit of time to yourself. The Saturday venue is familiar so I know where I’m going, but I use the Friday night to catch up in the same place with an old friend, drink some bourbon and reminisce. We both know the bar well, drinks are ordered and as is usually the case with my friends and I, a table is chosen in the back where you can see everything, always backs to the wall. No one wants to be taken out by a sniper!

The stories flow, memories are spoken about and laughter happens a lot. We’ve been friends forever, we grew up together so it’s a seamless catch up. I get up to go to the bathroom, come back and he points out a cute girl at the bar who he likes the look of. Guess who? I tell him who she is and he’s immediately apologetic. No biggie, she’s a stunner and he knows that she’s why I’m even here. Just as I stand back up to walk over to say hello, a guy walks in, hugs her and gives her the longest kiss that I’ve ever seen. Plot twist.

Neither of them can see us, thank fuck for small mercies. My friend and I look at each other and we both shrug, but inside I’m hurting a tiny bit. If something looks too good to be true, chances are that it probably is. I don’t go to the bar for a while, no way am I getting involved in whatever they have going on. Looks like my Saturday night will be free to do whatever I want to do, there’s no fucking chance I’m going to any party.

More bourbon is consumed, I get the piss taken out of me for trying to punch above my weight. I smile because he’s right, what was I thinking? Eventually they finally leave together with their arms wrapped around each other.

It’s my round. At the bar, I speak to the girl serving me and ask who the couple were who just left as I thought I recognised them. Seems they’ve been engaged for years and are set to get married in the autumn. It turns out I was a bigger underdog than I thought. It’s such a shame, a shame, we had to find out this way.

Fuck it, my flight is changed, my Saturday night will be spent with people I know who aren’t messing me around. Might as well get turbo though in the meantime with one of my oldest friends. Unbelievably, less than an hour later, my iPhone pings and it’s a text asking if I’m coming tomorrow?

Thing is, I know something you don’t.

I start to type a text a couple of dozen times and each one gets deleted. Finally I settle on, ‘I’m in the city already, I was in the same bar as you tonight. Good luck with everything for your wedding, we all deserve to be happy. All of us.’ The reply comes, ‘It was a mistake, I’m sorry.’ The thing is, it feels like the mistake is mine, for trusting you. Six words is all I get?

It’s one thing to make a mistake accidentally; it’s something completely different to make it on purpose. We all know what happens when you let yourself get close to someone, when you start to believe they like you, but you know that there’s a chance that you’ll be disappointed. Just choices, right?

We drain the bottle, handshakes and hugs follow and I head for bed, sleep and reflection is needed before heading back a day before I should be. The message I’m left with as my head hits the pillow is to be careful with who I let in, because I could have been the one that has messed everything up in the end for them, despite what she did. It’s not a nice feeling but how was I to know?

I’m down, down, but definitely not out.

@TheSamMcLeod

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