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 that you enjoy someone’s company, the more time that you spend with them. 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, all of our mutual friends 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. 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 embarrased 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