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(Broken) Promises

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I knew, from the first time you told me you loved me, that you were lying.

No… You weren’t quite lying. You aren’t that type of person after all. It was more that… you didn’t know your own emotions. That you didn’t know yourself.

You couldn’t see the things I did, the way your eyes would wander across the wide expanse of the shimmering silver of the ice, across the tens of bodies, all tangled together upon skates, across the hundreds of fans, screaming in the crowds, all only to find his.

You couldn’t see the way your hands would linger, your fingertips just brushing against his skin, even after being pulled away, always finding their way back around his neck, his waist, around him.

You couldn’t see the way your eyes sparked with something as you stared at him, something that I tried to convince myself was in your eyes as you whispered sweet nothings against my lips; but I bet you weren’t even thinking about my lips, were you? You were thinking about his. You were thinking about the way they may taste, wondering if his lips were as soft as mine.

You probably didn’t even notice when you started imagining my lips as his.

You couldn’t see it, the way I can. The way you smile at him like he is the world, like he holds everything in his hands.

You smile at him the way I smile at you.

You couldn’t see it, the way you always, inevitably, reach for his hands when he stretches them out to you, always, unconsciously responds to those lips of his as they call you like a beacon, even across a thousand miles of sea.

You couldn’t see it, the way you try your absolute best to make him laugh, the way you relish in the sound as if it is reminiscent of a thousand church bells, tolling at a wedding.

You couldn’t see it, the way you would turn your head at the deep sound of Chopin, spilling out from a piano, the way you reflexively smile every time you hear Japanese. You think it is Miki, that it is lingering memories of her prescence, but it is him, only him, him, him.

You couldn’t see it, the way that you tense at every mention of the ice, all the news about his name, somewhere on the opposite side of the world.

You.

You couldn’t see a single thing.

I knew, from the moment you told me you were mine, that you were unconsciously imagining it was his thin waist under your hands, that you were claiming him as you own.

And yet, I kissed you.

What is love, but one person desperately hanging on to the other, even as they slip away? What is love, but hands, wrapped around my own, hands, on the other side of the world, hands, intertwined against his? What is love, but empty promises after empty promises, muttered against my lips, even as you wonder what his tastes like?

What is love, but hopeless longing?

And even as you promised me forever, promised me the world, your world, I knew.

I knew that you couldn’t promise me forever, because your past, your present, your forever was already in another’s hands. I knew that you couldn’t promise me the world, your world, because your world was him, spinning high in the air, above cold, glittering ice, him, writing magic into the air, the earth, the rink, weaving history in the form of gold medal after gold medal.

And yet, I accepted your promises, tied our pinkies together and stamped your thumb against mine despite knowing that you could never keep it.

I gave you my heart, knowing that you would break it.

I told myself that this was okay, that you, lost in him, was okay.

I told myself that I loved you, so it would be okay.

And so I twisted the meaning of love so that it became late nights hearing you moaning his name in your sleep, so that it became days of smiling at you from across the screen as you grinned back, distracted. I twisted love so that it became weeks of ignoring the way you scroll through the internet, searching for a glimpse of him, months of trying to convince myself in any way, every way, that you love me the way you love him.

But then the day came that you lowered yourself onto one knee before me, opened up a velvet case and presented me with a beautiful, breathtaking ring.

And I so wanted to take it.

Oh, how much I wanted to take it.

I wanted to cry, dropping down onto my knees, tasting your lips against mine. I wanted to see that ring on my own finger, looking across to see the same ring on yours. I wanted to see the world with you, see the rest of my life with you, spend the rest of my days with you by my side.

I wanted to love you.

But I was tired. I was tired of the way his name came so easily to your lips, the way you would always be drawn back to him, no matter what I did or what I said. I was tired of pretending you were mine the same way that I was yours. I was tired of imagining that you would look at me with those eyes, full of fire and passion, eyes when you look at him.

I was tired of loving you, knowing that you would never love me back.

So, despite how much I wanted to say yes to you, despite how much I wanted to keep you forever, I knew it wasn’t going to work.

It was never going to work.

So I told you no.

And the look on your face, stricken, was almost enough to take it back, to break my resolve, to make me fall to the ground, sobbing into your chest.

But instead, I swallowed down my heart, crumbling inside of me, and told you that you had never belonged to me the same way I belonged to you.

I told you that you had never loved me.

And you looked confused, lost. But there was something in your eyes that showed you already knew. Something that showed that you understood.

So I sighed and took your hands within my own.

I told you: This ring was never meant for me, was it?

I smiled at you, despite the way something inside me only cracked further and further.

Go.

Give this to him.

And you.

You still didn’t understand.

But I knew that you would.

I knew that you would find your way back to him, like you had so many other, countless times before.

And even as you walked out of my room on unsteady legs, your eyes red-rimmed, your eyebrows knitted together, even as you walked out of my life and into his, even as you walked out of my world, out of my everything, leaving only shattered pieces and broken promises behind you,

I still wished

That you were mine.

 

Despite the fact that you

Never

Were.

 

Despite the fact that you

Were always

His.