The future starts so slow.

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, ‘A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.’ Optimistic guy. Hurt doesn’t need to be physical harm from anyone though, isn’t emotional pain much worse?

It’s easy for a lot of us to believe that we’ve been betrayed by someone at some point. Something has been done to hurt us, someone’s been dishonest or broken a promise that they made you. Trust was disregarded, maybe selfishness on some level kicked in and they thought of themselves only. We’ve all done it, but it’s not until you’re on the other side of that dynamic that you realise how much something you thought of as insignificant, has the capacity to really hurt someone.

It’s easy to tell yourself that their actions have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, but trying to take comfort in that can be a nonstarter. It sounds pessimistic but perhaps the more you expect, the more you get disappointed in life.

You cope though, just whatever it takes to get you moving forward. You can shut yourself off from people, unfollow or unfriend on social media, no one wants to see a certain someone having a good time without you. You can holler, you can wail.

Sometimes all you want is someone who puts a bounce in your step.

It’s a late night in Boston’s Back Bay, tequila with friends at Lolita is never a bad idea, at least until the morning after. It’s my round, drinks are ordered and I turn to head back to our table when she bumps into me. The drinks go everywhere and I have tequila all over me, except where I want it to be. She’s immediately apologetic and an offer to replace them is brushed off politely. A second glance happens though. She’s wearing a top with a neckline so deep it could teach philosophy. There was a disarming twinkle in her eyes, a touch of sweetness in her smile and the conversation starts. Everyone has different tastes but picture if you can, a playground for your eyes. Several drinks and a few hours later, what I’d seen and heard so far, I liked, but I’d been fooled before. Sometimes though, you have no idea where something is going but you learn to go anyway. Enjoy each second, don’t worry about the destination, live in the moment, right?

I’m in the city to graduate and we meet up every day. Sometimes you get a vibe about someone, now and again, they might even flat out tell you how and what they’re feeling. It seems like no time at all that we’ve known each other, but isn’t the initial excitement the best part? This one is clearly nothing but trouble but in a way, aren’t we all? There’s an opportunity to make Boston home due to job offers, could there be an added incentive to make a new city home?

Something didn’t sit right though, she was like a cat, affectionate when she wanted to be, and happy to disappear once she got what she wanted.

On a rare day to myself as I looked across the Charles River towards MIT, a brisk wind was warning of cold days to come. A sign.

Hours pass, and I’m my own best company, sitting in Joe’s getting torn into the rotating selection from Clown Shoes Brewing. I liked the view of Newbury Street, and despite the rain, it’s a fine day, let’s see if we can spoil it.

We bump into each other randomly, glances are exchanged unbeknownst to the man holding her left hand that magically has an engagement ring on out of nowhere. No words are spoken, one of us has a wry smile though, whilst one of us is wearing a look caught somewhere between heartbreak and hope. Always better to know than not.

It looks like the only friend I’ll be spending time with tonight is tequila.

Later, a call comes. ‘We’re two people who can’t be together right now for a number of reasons. We will be some day in the future, but it won’t be for a while.’ Having someone think that they’re able to control who and what will be in your future? I’d rather have a colonic with a garden hose. No words are spoken from my side, I just hang up.

I walked down one street, she chose another, but goodbye is goodbye, it doesn’t matter who you’re saying it to. For a while, my emotions were fair game and that’s what hurts, but isn’t disappointment part of your growth? Doesn’t everyone face rejection at one time or another?

Malchance, sfiga, sfortuna, all words for bad luck. Just the wrong time and the wrong place. It’s easy to overthink things but who wants to walk backwards? You know that you can’t stumble when you’re on your knees but you also know that you can’t move forward without leaving somebody else behind.

Laying down on the hotel bed in the dark, staring at a ceiling that I can’t really see, she’s a taste that I’ll never taste again, despite what she thinks. I’m more than okay with that because respect has to go both ways or it doesn’t count.

All you want is to be happy but sometimes it feels like that’s too much to hope for. Like everything else, sometimes you get there, sometimes you fall short. Sometimes you can be so gullible that it makes you sick, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only man to have been taken in by a pretty girl.

There’s a time for second best and there’s a time when the feeling’s gone. I guess the future starts slow.

@TheSamMcLeod