I sent you notes. Lovely little notes. You blushed. I did not think you would blush.
Your hand tucked the note to your inside jacket pocket and you smiled. Sheepish. Adorable.
Your hands outstretched, I came to you.
You were young, so you were a bit awkward. I didn’t care. Awkward was fine. But, I let little things that should have been red flags that you would be a life-long liar slip by like toy sailboats on a pond.
You always thought you knew more than me, and made sure I knew it. How did I not notice it then? How did I let it slip by, over and over and over? Toy sailboats.
I built up a tolerance.
We rode home in my old car–a hand-me-down from my parents. We talked for hours. I would eventually migrate to your lap, or we would end up on the curb, thighs touching, leaning warm onto each other.
You bought me flowers sometimes. I have photos for evidence, because you tried to make me believe it didn’t happen. You were a master at gaslighting, with the word “ridiculous” always at the ready to hack off another piece of my self-esteem.
You said you never loved me. But you did. You just can’t let her know that, because then she’d have to wonder if the little things you do now that make her feel loved will some day be magically disappeared by the very person who made her believe they existed. Like you did to me.
At least it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s like recalling an old movie that you’ve seen dozens of times. Only you don’t really like the movie, and some people in the movie are saying you remember it wrong. I suppose we all take something to, and away, from things like that.
I remember when I was gutted. When it felt like I could never get to a place of indifference. And even if I did, it would be tragic.
It’s not tragic. It’s freeing.