You’ve got it at your fingertips.

You’d do anything for the people in your life that you care about, wouldn’t you? No cry for help or question goes unanswered if a call comes, when you’re needed, you’re there. An email, a text, maybe a visit needs to happen. Shit, sometimes, your presence isn’t necessarily wanted or expected, but when you know something is wrong, you get there, you help in any way you can. Sometimes a cuddle is needed, sometimes harsh words need to be said, albeit in a caring way, sometimes just being around when that someone finally realised that when they need someone to pour their heart out to will help, even if they don’t realise it in that initial moment. We all have two ears and one mouth, sometimes it’s much better to listen than speak, especially if it’s someone who tugs at your heartstrings because they’re struggling and they need you, or they need someone.

We all need someone now and again, especially when you can’t tell that you’re bigger than the sea that you’re sinking in.

A visit becomes a little tougher when they’re over 8000km away, although an offer is made, yet politely gets declined. Calls happen though, texts are exchanged, thank goodness for FaceTime. That said, it’s never easy to watch a friend struggle, to see them cry, to be able to witness their fragility. It doesn’t take too long to catch on to the things that she’s trying to say without her being able to articulate the words. What advice can you give from so far away without everything that leaves your mouth sounding like a cliche? ‘It’ll all get better in time, there are plenty more fish in the sea, you were better than him anyway.’ How easy it is for those words to sound hollow? Finally something I say makes sense, ‘How about heading away for a few days somewhere, have a change of scenery and try and collect your thoughts?’ A couple of days pass and I don’t hear from her, but you give the people in your life what they need, even if that’s a little bit of space. You can try and help all you want to but sometimes, they need to get to a place on their own when they begin to think that they’ll be okay.

A call comes and she’s at the airport. Not her airport, my airport, can I go and get her? I can’t, but she knows where I live and she knows that my neighbour has a spare set of keys so she heads there. Work is finally done, I get back to my place and she’s already there, is already in pyjamas and has managed to demolish a large part of a bottle of bourbon. Usually this would be a great night together, music on, maybe a film and just hanging out. Given everything that’s happened though, letting her finish the bottle would be a bad idea. We sit, we talk, she cries, we hug and awful television is watched.

She falls asleep so I take the chance to make up the spare room, who doesn’t like fresh bedding, although by this point, I doubt she’d even notice. I pick her up, lay her gently into bed and pull the covers over her. I head for the kitchen, grab a couple of bottles of water from the fridge and stick one on each side of her on the bedside tables. The lights get turned out in her room and I watch the rest of the shitty TV show and make sure that there will be no bourbon left by morning.

It’s been a long day emotionally so it’s time for bed. I climb in and as soon as my head hits the pillow, sleep isn’t far behind me. I’ve no idea how long it is, but I feel something, turn over in and there she is next to me with her hands on me, trying to kiss me. A few years ago, absolutely. Right now? Zero chance. We have a difficult conversation, mostly because she’s still drunk but I lead her back to the spare room and put her to bed. Again.

Her actions are understandable, maybe we’ve all been there. Perhaps nothing numbs the sting of a breakup quite like a rebound fling or relationship. Toxic for some people, but maybe beneficial for others. Maybe sometimes it could grow into something amazing, but this isn’t one of those times. Don’t you both need to be on the same page about whatever the fuck this is? No point in dragging someone else into your emotional horror show while letting them believe that there’s a chance that your new relationship could be something real. Sure, it’s easy to assume that once they’ve finally healed from their breakup, they’ll look to you as the knight in shining armour who swept into their life at just the right time to make it all better, but how is that a basis for something new?

Fuck, it’s more than okay to hurt, but maybe if you’re hurting, you should try and heal, rather than move onto someone else straight away. A rebound will never the best idea you’ve ever had, everything should happen with dignity and especially when you’re sober. Take time to heal before committing to someone new, right?

No one wants to be the first person to be picked out of a lineup of a potential new partner.

It’s not going to be fun if I start to get feelings for her in a different way, there’s no way that it’ll happen though, and make her hope that things will be anything different, anything more than just a friendship. Once upon a time, maybe, but she chose someone else and that’s okay, but no one should want to be a rebound, I certainly don’t. Hopefully the morning comes, she remembers and apologises, or forgets completely. It’s okay to be alone and wait for the right girl but what’s the point in ever allowing your own loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone that you know that you don’t belong with?

It’s not difficult to get over the possibility of a relationship that I wasn’t even in, but it doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t hurt for her.

The morning comes, I’m awake first and breakfast is made, complete with a shit ton of coffee. She wakes, comes through, looks at me, hugs, says sorry and that’s enough. Saying sorry is always enough. She’ll be okay in time, cliche again, but she’ll always have a friend who has her back.

She stays for a few more days and we do things that friends do. It’s okay to put your arm around someone when they’re hurting, long walks are cathartic. She’s still hurting but K, I know that you’ll be okay.

I know you think your fire is burning out but I still see you shining through, you’ve got it in you.

@TheSamMcLeod

You wet my eyes.

That initial feeling you have when you meet someone new, you expect or hope for fireworks. The feelings that you get when they do something that gives you goosebumps, the things that makes you smile. The gentle tug of your sleeve followed by said smile and a wink when they want you to look at something that they’ve seen, a wink that could melt a snowman’s socks. That person who could rearrange your soul with just one look, someone who fits with you like a plug in a socket. The type of sound they make when they laugh. Their laugh clearly belongs to them and you know immediately that you love it.The way that they play with their hair. It’s new, but it’s exciting and scary all at the same time.

Isn’t life for all of us a roll of the dice? You take a chance on someone because it might be the best thing to ever happen to you. Sure, you could get hurt, but you gamble, don’t you? Science will tell you that it takes a third of a second to fall for someone. If it goes wrong though, shouldn’t you be grateful that the wounds you have, you survived long enough to be able to lick?

A random Thursday is spent late night shopping with one of his best friends. A girl waves at them from across the street and whilst he doesn’t recognise her, his friend does. They cross over, they’re introduced, and she seems perfectly lovely. The two of them chat away as old friends do, and their accidental meeting ends with an invite to a party a couple of days later. His friend is into the girl, and begs him to come along. A plan is agreed, even if it’s shit, it’ll only be a couple of hours, no harm in meeting new people and helping out a friend. You want to impress everyone so he dresses accordingly.

It’s a nice night, a lot of people are in the back garden listening to music and enjoying themselves. It’s cool, a lot better than he thought it would be. He knows nearly nobody there but it’s okay. More than one girl takes his eye, but he also knows that’s not the best thing to be thinking about when he’s trying to be a good wingman for his friend. The night gets longer, the drinks flow and the conversations continue. One girl kept glancing at him but she wasn’t doing anything about it. They get to chatting as the evening passes, and he doesn’t have to give anything to her but his attention, something he was willing to do. When she stroked his neck, he finally dared to believe that it was going to happen. They kissed more than once, it was almost perfect.

The night ends and he goes home alone, but numbers are exchanged.

Circumstances alter when he finds out that she was already with someone when she kissed him, so they lose touch. It’s not something he wanted to do but it’s his decision and he’s okay with it. Eventually.

Weeks later, his phone rings at 2am and it’s her asking to see him. She’s nearby, can they talk? It’s nice to be nice, and no man should ever want a lady to be out on her own that late at night, so he acquiesces and apologies are made from her immediately for what went before. One of his rules is that as long as you say sorry for something you’ve done, no grudges are kept, everything is okay again. Forgiving can be forgetting. Trying to understand her was a bit like pointing a microphone towards the stage at a gig, and hoping to hear someone whisper, but he was willing to give it a go.

She’s single now and things progress between them as the weeks and months continue. His rental property agreement is coming to an end and whilst he’s thinking of moving in with a friend, they decide to get a place together. It’s great, they move in all of their individual stuff and both decorate together. Fabulous nights follow. He has a photograph of her on his bedside table and she has one of him on her one. Random thoughts became an actual reality. Discarded tubes of toothpaste, plates left in the sink and underwear left on the bathroom floor were things that he never expected, but it was okay because it was her. She tells him every day that she loves him but he doesn’t need to hear it if he has her word that she does. Once is always enough, just another rule.

A day comes and he can’t find his keys. They’re not on his side of the bed, so he checks her side, just in case they’ve fallen down there. A letter is found and it’s open and it’s from the guy that she was with when they first kissed. He shouldn’t read, but can’t help it. It’s pretty explicit and it’s clear that he’s visited their house more than once when he was away for work. His heart forgets to be a heart for a second. It’s been broken before but not like this.

If you go looking for something, then you might well find it. It hurts all the more when you find something that you didn’t want to, and you sure as shit, didn’t expect. It’s something, a whole lot of somethings. The problem with growing older with someone is that you realise that you’re into something bigger than yourself, so you have a responsibility to another.

She comes home but he doesn’t say anything, just gives a hug and says hey. Are the cruellest lies told in silence? Pretty quickly after, he watches as she texts someone that isn’t him. Clearly, sometimes pain is the driver and it doesn’t have brakes. There was so much she could have said but she chose not to.

He thinks she still loves him, but can’t try and escape the fact that he’s not enough for her. He’s not blaming her for falling back in love with an ex. There’s no anger either, just a lot of pain. He thought he could imagine how much this would hurt, but he was wrong.

It’s important for them to talk. She doesn’t know entirely why yet, but she’s about to find out. She knows there’s something that he’s not telling her. He knows it’s time to do something that he doesn’t want to do but he has to. There’s a look in her eye, maybe it’s regret. Who fucking cares any more. He holds her and looks directly in her eyes so she knows that he sees her. The conversation happens, they’re oil and water now and she knows it.

He leaves and now he’s not looking at her any more. He doesn’t turn around because he can’t, no point in looking back. He calls a girl who has been messaging him for weeks and who is clearly interested. He convinced himself that it wasn’t cool though, so he stopped after that initial call. Why? Not because he was thinking of finding someone new, but he didn’t want to be like her. No longer trusting someone is saddening if you still love them.

I only called her one time.

@TheSamMcLeod

Dying flowers.

Maybe it’s naivety, but one day you begin to realise that there are surprises everywhere in your life that you haven’t seen coming. The very definition of surprise, I guess. Most of the time, we see only what we want to see though. You can read a situation and think that you know what’s going on, but do you really? You might decide one day that you know what you want to do for a living, but if it’s not what you truly want, aren’t you misleading yourself? You can like someone, but you know that there is absolutely no way that they’re ever going to like you back. What if you part of you thinks that they do, are you conning yourself once more?

Perhaps we deceive ourselves because we like to be deceived. We want to believe something to be true so badly in that moment, that we end up kidding ourselves on. If we want something to be true, don’t all of us generally believe it to be true? It turns out that you can fool yourself, and whilst you might think it’s impossible, it’s one of the easiest things of all.

Haven’t we all been misled at some moments in our lives by others? It isn’t always your fault if you get things wrong or misjudge a situation though.

There’s a girl. We meet through work and whilst she’s pretty, there’s no attraction. You can find someone attractive without doing anything about it, right? Both of us, as well as others, have to interact over the next number of months on various different projects. Sometimes we all grab coffee or lunch together, and you realise the more time that you spend with someone, you enjoy their company more and more. Our work ends, but the relationship develops over time when we bump into each other randomly. One night in a bar, I’m out with my friends, she’s out with her friends, a lot of which are mutual, and we come across each other again. We hug, we chat, we catch up, and at the end of the night, a bunch of us head back to her flat to keep the night going.

It’s a late one and we’re all a little bit worse for wear. A lot of people crash out and I’m invited to stay too, and to sleep in her bed. It’s purely platonic, and I’m happy to accept, and not to have to fork out a fortune on a taxi. Two people in a king size bed, both hugging the opposite edges, we couldn’t have slept further apart. There’s a cuteness to it that makes me smile though, and I sleep.

As is the case after a heavy one, you wake in the middle of the night dehydrated. I get up, knowing that there are bottles of water in the fridge. As I reach the hallway, the front door opens and I smell the perfume before I see the girl. Fuck though, I’m just wearing Calvins. She closes the door and turns around. Hands down, she is the most aesthetically perfect girl that I’ve ever seen in my life. Think Kristen Bell multiplied by a thousand. She’s beautiful, mesmerising and dressed to draw eyes in her direction. She’s grinning at me, which is fair given my outfit, and I can’t concentrate. She introduces herself as the flatmate, let’s call her F, and she bravely leans in for a hug. Given my attire, I end up giving the shittest hug in history. It looks like I’ve shot myself in the foot within ten seconds of meeting her. A smile from her and an embarrassed grin from me follows, and goodnights are exchanged.

Sleep is difficult, there are butterflies. The morning comes, I get dressed, make coffee for my friend, say my thanks, we hug, and I leave. It turns out that I’ll only see her once more because she has to relocate for work, but she’s not who I’m thinking about. I don’t see the flatmate in the morning but I think about her more than I should. She has eyes that make me shy and has the gentlest whisper of a voice. I resign myself to the fact that I’ll probably never see her again.

A notification pops up on my iPhone the day after, from someone requesting to add me on Facebook but I don’t recognise the name. I click on it and I know immediately who it is. Isn’t it funny how one message can make your day a lot brighter? We don’t interact much though, and I put her out of my mind, tough as it is. I don’t have the courage to ask her out because it’ll be awkward when she says no. I’m 99% sure that she doesn’t like me in that way, but there’s always that 1% that keeps me guessing. You can want who you want, and that’s okay. The problem is that the other person can also want who they want.

Weeks and months pass, and she occasionally crosses my mind.

A night out with the boys isn’t a regular thing, but our calendars finally align and we arrange dinner and drinks. Party of five, three of us married, one soon to be engaged and a single man who sometimes thinks of someone he could never have. The night is suitably raucous, bars follow the restaurant, a nightclub follows the bars. Later, it’s time for a taxi and to head for bed.

The taxi queue is huge and guess who’s in front of me? It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, and at least I’m wearing more clothes this time. We catch up and we’re heading in the same direction, so she offers to drop me off on the way. Only an idiot would say no. We catch up, and before I get to where I need to be, she asks if I’d like to come in for a glass of wine and some food? Again, only an idiot would say no.

Wine is poured and food is ordered. She asks me to stick a film on, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit is in her collection. No brainer, right? We drink, we chat, we laugh. She quotes the film regularly, could she be perfect?

The film progresses, and the doorbell rings just as F and Jessica Rabbit say at the same time, “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.” She goes to open the door and I whisper the next line, “You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman, looking the way you do.”

It’s only when she’s at the front door that I notice a photograph of her, a man and a baby.

She returns with the food and I ask about the picture. She looks at me candidly, and tells me that it’s her husband and her son and that both are out of town. She tells me that he cheated on her and that she wants to have her revenge, to get her own back with someone that she’s always liked. No need to worry, I’m only responsible for what I say, not about what you understand, she said.

My appetite is gone on both counts, time to go.

One of the things that I always wanted to happen, will never happen now. Who wants to be that guy? It could have been something that blossomed, but now it’s like dying flowers. It seems that some things that burn bright, burn short.

@TheSamMcLeod

Expectations fail.

He was just an ordinary guy. There was a girl in his life and he liked her. A lot. He was careful with her though, in deciding if she was someone that he wanted to give his heart to. If you get hurt in a previous relationship, you tend to be a bit wary the next time that you feel that you might be falling for someone. The next time that you dip your toe into the water of something new. No one wants to get hurt in the first place, but certainly not again. Sucks for the new person but that’s life. He weighed everything up in his world as regarded her. Pros and cons. She was pretty. She was compassionate, she was funny, she was personable. He could get lost in her eyes for days and her body was bonkers. Six zero to the pros. Was she too good to be true? He didn’t know yet. Despite all of those qualities, something didn’t sit right. If he thought all of those things about her, then why hadn’t someone else snapped her up? Six one. Unfair of him to think that way perhaps, but she still has the lead.

Then one day, he’s sitting reading through his Twitter timeline. A random message from someone drops into his inbox, telling him that the girl he was starting to fall for, apparently has a boyfriend. Six two. It didn’t take much investigating to find out that it was true. For someone who worked in finance, you think he would have done his due diligence, but there it was and now he knew. Clearly, she hadn’t mentioned the said boyfriend, so he knows that whilst she didn’t lie to him, she didn’t tell him the whole truth. Six three. It’s not a comeback on the scale of the Patriots in the second last SuperBowl, but the numbers are beginning to stack up. It was difficult though, they’d been best friends for a while but things had changed, it had all elevated. They grew closer and everything just felt right, they were practically perfect for each other. That’s what he’d thought anyway but it shows how wrong one person can be. How did he not know? Could they get back to where they started from?

He’s devastated, beyond hurt now, because he knows the conversations they’ve had and the feelings that they’ve shared are built on lies. He thought that she was the kind of girl that would change your life without even meaning to. The kind of girl that wouldn’t know that she’d done it, even if you told her. She told him that she loved him and he reciprocated those feelings. Intimate details have been exchanged and tears have fallen on both sides as one would comfort the other, about all of the hurt they’ve had going on in their respective lives since they met, but now everything feels like an untruth. Six four. It sounds like a fucking tennis match in his head at this point. Love means nothing in tennis. Perhaps it meant nothing now in his life.

Finally, he plucked up the courage to ask her about it and she admitted that it was true. She told him that her relationship with her boyfriend meant nothing to her any more and that she wanted to escape it. She hadn’t loved him for a long time and she didn’t want to be with him, he wasn’t the man for her.

He could understand that on some level, because he knew that leaving someone wasn’t always that easy and that perhaps she was stuck in a situation that she couldn’t get out of. He sighed a lot at the thought of it. Still keeping score? 6-10? 12-4? Good luck figuring it out.

What if none of it was true though? Perhaps she wasn’t the girl that he thought she was. He wasn’t sure how much he trusted his judgement any more. It’s okay to like someone, but you don’t want to be the person that breaks up a relationship, people need to work their shit out on their own. It’s not the fault of the guy that has a girlfriend that has been interacting with someone else. Maybe she’s difficult at home all of the time. Maybe they argue constantly and it’s of her doing. Maybe she doesn’t connect with him, emotionally or physically. Maybe she leaves the toilet seat down. It’s cheating, isn’t it? She’s definitely bad news for him and she’s forbidden fruit now. You don’t get involved with someone in a relationship, regardless of whether or not it’s toxic.

Intrinsically, you want to believe and trust everything that someone tells you. Unless they try to tell you that the Yankees are the best team in baseball or that the Giants are better than the Jets.

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If you want someone to blame and you can’t find that person in the mirror, you choose the nearest target, don’t you? The other person. He didn’t blame her for long, it’s part of his nature to forgive. She admitted everything and apologised, and that was enough for him, as tough as it was to hear. You can take things that someone tells you any way that you want, but don’t you just want it to be the right way?

Everything comes to a head though eventually. He’s moving away from her because of the lies and she knows that this is dead now, because of her. Is she finally being honest with herself, can she work to resolve or escape her situation? If you’re not happy, you leave it all, you end the relationship. Maybe she did love him, but she should have told the truth and they could have had a future together. Maybe it was just infatuation, and that’s okay, but you don’t lie about something as important as what your intentions are.

Whatever makes her happy is the most important thing to him though in terms of their relationship, and if that means it’s not with him, then so be it. Part of him didn’t want to give her up but sometimes, your heart rules your head. Or is it the other way around? Move forward should be your mantra every day, but you can’t dictate love. It just happens, no hesitations. Fuck it though, honesty was the best policy with her, with anyone. If she’d been honest, who could say? It’s closure. Better than not knowing whether to forget or to hang around.

Maybe sometimes you need to deny your heart.

@TheSamMcLeod