We need to talk. I know you’re smashed beyond human comprehension right now, but I just can’t keep this in anymore. I’ve been waiting for the right moment, constantly promising myself I’ll make the conversation happen the next time I see you, but it never seems right. It hasn’t seemed right since the night you were at my house, your head on my shoulder, making pillow talk and telling me your secrets until we both fell asleep on the couch, the night you tried to fight your best friend over me, the night you kept telling random people how much you cared about me, the night you told me all the reasons I’m better than her. That was the perfect moment. But that was before I knew what I know now.
We keep talking about the conversation, but we never actually talk about it. You think you’ve got it figured out. You think that I’m in love with you and I need to confess it to keep myself from going crazy. That’s not true. That’s not what I want to talk about. If it were, I would have chosen my words more carefully. I would have said that I need to tell you something, but that’s not the case. I don’t need to tell you anything. There’s nothing I could tell you that you don’t already know. ‘We need to talk’ implies a two way conversation, back and forth, give and take. It’s more that I have a few questions for you that I really need answered.
It’s true that I may be going crazy over this. It’s also true that I might love you, but sometimes I’m not so sure. I can’t tell if it’s love or just an obsession based on the things that I’ve heard. I’ve heard a lot of things, things that you’ve said, things that you’ve done. It could just be the combination of the things that I’ve heard and the things that I’ve seen disguising itself as love. It may not be love at all. I’ve never experienced this before. I’ve never known anyone who treats me the way that you do. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself in to with you. Maybe it’s love. Maybe it’s something else entirely.
You say that we’re just friends. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m the one who always says we’re just friends whenever people mistake us for a couple. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say the words ‘just friends’. You call me your friend, you tell me I’m your best friend, but you never say we’re just friends. That’s all me. I think maybe I just do it to avoid hearing you say it, because then it becomes too real. It’s just easier if I’m the one always denying everything. But I feel confident that you feel like we’re just friends. Whoops, another lie. Sometimes I think maybe there’s more to it. But I have a good reason.
I’ve heard a lot of things. I keep saying that, but I always dance over exactly what I’ve heard. Here goes nothing. I heard that at work one day, when I was nowhere around, you defended me. I heard someone had said something negative, and you told them not to. I heard that person said you insult everyone, you said everyone but me. I heard that when that person asked why, you said ‘because she’s not flawed’. I heard about this the day after you stayed at my house. I cried when I heard it. I also heard that while I was busy trying to convince everyone that nothing had happened at my house, that our bodies never touched and we immediately went to sleep, you told your friends the truth. I heard that you told them you came over, that we cuddled on my couch and talked for hours. The only reason I denied this was for your sake. I didn’t want to hurt your reputation. I didn’t deny it because I was ashamed, I did it because I though you were. I also heard that during a phone call with a mutual friend that occurred the day after my failed attempt to come visit you, you “couldn’t shut up” about me. I heard that you kept saying how horrible you felt and how terrified you were that I hated you. I heard that every time he tried to change the subject, you just kept talking about me. I heard that you kept telling him how bad you wanted to see me and how you really just wanted to spend time with me and how bad you wanted me to come stay with you for a few days. I keep hearing these things, but I’m not sure if I believe them.
Granted, the sources of this information aren’t the most reliable, and granted, most of it had passed through more than one person before it got to me, but there must be some truth to them. These things didn’t just come out of nowhere. People aren’t just making things up to appease me. I just don’t understand why. Why would you say these things? In combination with the things that you do, the way you buy me drinks and open doors and refuse to flirt with another girl in front of me and never leave me alone and always introduce me to your friends with no shame or embarrassment, the way you never speak poorly of me and defend me no matter who’s around and tell me all the things you like about me, the way you wanted so badly to come home with me that night because you wanted to spend more time with me, it makes me unsure of the parameters of our relationship. We’re just friends, right?
I’m not always so sure. Sometimes it seems like we’re more. Sometimes it seems like we’re less. Sometimes we’re best friends. Sometimes we’re on the fast track to marriage. Sometimes we don’t even know each other. I can’t keep up. It may seem like I’m sometimes uninterested. It may seem like I’m growing cold and distant from time to time. It’s just because I’m never sure where we stand at any given moment. I’m never sure. I’m never sure what’s going too far and what’s not far enough. Do we hang out? Is it like that? Do we hug? Is that okay? Do we talk? Maybe if you’re drunk…
That’s another thing than confuses me, but also really concerns me. It seems like we’re only on good terms when you’re drinking. When we met, you were sober. You were a recovering alcoholic with a fairly good record of sobriety, and we talked every day. Only at work, but we were fast friends. Then you fell off the wagon, hard. We started hanging out and talking outside of work, but only when you were drinking. Every time we’ve spent time together, alcohol was involved. It seemed like we were drinking buddies. Always in a group, always taking shots, but we also always ended up alone. Every single time. No matter who we started the night with, it was always me and you when it came to a close. And you always had something cryptic and confusing to say, or almost say. You never quite got the whole thought out of your mouth. It seemed like you would catch yourself and swiftly change the subject. I quickly learned not to press the issue. It did me no good.
Now that you’re gone, we’re talking more than ever, but always when you’re drunk. I smile every time I hear your ring tone playing on my phone, but I know that means you’ve been drinking and everyone else in your house has gone to sleep. It really poses a conflict of interest for me. You’re drinking more now than ever before, and I worry about you. You’ve already ruined your health with alcohol, and now you’re ruining job prospects and opportunities. Your stomach and liver can’t handle all the booze you’re showering on them. You’re becoming a full-fledged alcoholic again. I worry about you getting arrested, I worry about your health, I worry about you getting to the point where you’re incapable of quitting. But at the same time, I want you to drink. I know that when you’re drunk, the chances of you contacting me go from nonexistent to fairly decent. It makes me feel horrible to hope that you’re drinking every night, but if you stop, I’ll stop hearing from you and I’ll have no reason to be so concerned about you. It’s a catch-22 situation, and I feel like it’s lose-lose for all involved.
The things you say to me when you’re drunk also make me wonder. You act like I’m the best thing to ever walk into your life when you’ve been drinking, and it confuses me. When you say things like ‘are you trying to make me fall in love with you’ and ‘we should just get married right now’, it makes me wonder how much of it is the truth and how much is the beer. Not only do I wonder about the truthfulness of the statements, but I also wonder about how that plays into the whole relationship boundaries thing. Is there really something there? Or is it just my hopeful imagination distorting everything? I keep trying to buy into ‘in vino veritum’ and ‘a drunken mind speaks a sober heart’ and all the old clichés all my friends keep beating into my head, but I can’t help to think maybe it’s all bullshit. I say plenty of things that aren’t true when I drink, and so do most of my friends. Granted, alcohol does help lower one’s inhibitions, but I just can’t be so sure.
Speaking of clichés, I’m not sure I buy into any of them. They’re contradictory. They can’t all be true. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ and ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ are the perfect example. Only one can ring true in any given situation. They cancel each other out, like two angry bulls draped in red. Only one can win. And this garbage about ‘if you love something, set it free; if it comes back, it’s yours’? I did that. I let you go. I stopped contacting you. I let you leave, and the next thing I know, you’re calling to say you miss me and want to see me. As far as I’m concerned, I set you free and you came back. But are you mine? No. But what I really want to know is why. Why did you call me only days after you left? Why did you tell me you missed me? Why did you beg me to come see you? What prompted you to make that phone call? What made you think of me?
Why do you act the way you do toward me? Why do you do the things you do and say the things you say? Why did you say the things I heard about? Why do you treat me so well? Why do we talk and hang out for a while then go months with no contact? Why do you talk to your friends about me? Why do you only call me when you’re drunk? Why do you always tell me no when I try to make plans with you, but I always say yes when you make them? Why do you compare me to your exes and tell me all the things you like about me? What do you mean by saying you’re okay with me being in love with you? Why did we become friends in the first place? When did this become an issue?
Clearly, there are quite a few things I don’t understand. That’s where you come in. I’ve let you know all the things that plague my mind, day in and day out, until I get so frustrated that all I can do is scream. I need some explanation. I need answers. I need boundaries. I need you to tell me what’s going on. Are we just friends? Are we more? Are we less? If we’re friends, then why are things so awkward with us? Why do I constantly feel like I’m walking a tightrope between cold and clingy? Why do I feel like I need permission to talk to you? Why did things become awkward in the first place? They didn’t use to be. Not until that night at my house. That’s when everything changed. What happened that night that made everything so complicated? I guess what it all comes down to is how do you feel about me?
If it helps, I’ll try to tell you how I feel about you, but like everything else, it’s complicated, so be warned. You make me smile. There’s no one in the world I’d rather talk to or be around. I would drop everything to interact with you. I think about you all the time. The tiniest, stupidest things make me think about you, like Hooters and water bottles and miniature lighters. I love the way you make me feel when we’re together. Every song I hear reminds me of you. Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like if we were together. You’re the first boy I’ve cried over in years. Some were happy tears, others were not. No one has ever made me feel the way you do. You make me feel special. You make me feel wanted. You make me feel worthy. And other times, you make me feel invisible. Never when I’m around you, though. It’s always when we’re going through one of our no-talking phases. You make me laugh. I sometimes feel like fate brought us together, as corny as that sounds. I feel like I met you for a reason. I sometimes feel possessive over you. I feel like we are perfect for each other. But I feel no physical attraction to you. I don’t feel one toward anyone else, but when I think about you, sex isn’t in the equation. It never has been. I can’t even bring myself to think about it. I feel like a relationship between us could be awkward and inevitably end in heartache, but I also think we need each other. I feel like I am everything you’ve ever wanted in a girl other than the physical aspect. I feel like you realize that, but I feel like you’re far too shallow to allow that to happen. I sometimes think that maybe you find yourself getting to close to me and pull away for exactly that reason. I’m not sure if I love you. It may just be the shock of having someone in my life who doesn’t treat me like a disease, someone who’s not ashamed of me and who doesn’t get offended when people make assumptions. I think maybe it could be love, someday, if it’s not already.
I want to be with you. I’m not sure how or if would it work, but it’s what I really want. I don’t think you want that. I think maybe part of you does, but the shallow part refuses to allow it to happen. I can’t fault you for not wanting to be with me. I disgust myself, so I can only imagine how I appear to others. And as much as I want to change, to fix the problem, I just can’t bring myself to do it for the sake of someone else. I’ve tried to rationalize that it’s really for me because being with you would make me happy, but I can’t do it. I don’t expect any sort of physical relationship between us. I’m not sure I even want one. I try to fool myself into believing in a celibate love, but it doesn’t exist. Love without sex is friendship. I don’t think we’ll ever be together. As bad as I want it, as much as I want to grow old together, I can’t realistically see it happening. Maybe that’s my fault.
All I know is that I can never move past this intense confusion and figure out how I really feel about you until you set some sort of boundaries. If we’re honestly just friends, I can maybe be okay with that. But I need to know why you said and did all those things. If we’re more than friends, if for some reason you do feel more of a connection to me, I need to know why you haven’t acted on it. It’s clear why I haven’t – I’m terrified of rejection. I just need to know why. I need to know what’s going on between us. I need to know why we can’t talk when you’re sober. I need to know the answers to my questions. I need to know where the line is so I can make sure I don’t cross it. I need clarification. I need boundaries. I need answers.