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I Didn't Mean To

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I didn't mean to. 

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Just so you know, I really didn't mean to. 
I want to make that clear. 
I'm not sorry, though. 
But I really, truly didn’t mean to. 
I sincerely, honestly didn't mean to fall in love with you. 
I didn't mean to like you. 
I didn't mean to enjoy your company so much more than I expected to. I didn't mean to wait for you in our classroom with anticipation, just sitting there, pencil in my hand, staring at nothing in particular, textbook open in front of me, forgotten, every morning. I didn't mean to wait for you to greet me every morning, say 'hi', and sit in the desk next to mine, instead of getting my things ready and preparing for class. 
I didn't mean to start little whispered conversations with you before we start taking notes. I didn't mean to cherish those moments, those little talks, short and sweet as they are. I didn't mean to laugh heartily at the inside jokes only the two of us shared and understood. 
I didn’t mean to smile uncontrollably every time I found out during those little talks of ours that a favorite show of mine also happened to be one of your favorites. I didn’t mean to blush and feel all giddy and excited whenever someone from my family teases me about you. I didn’t mean to feel a weird, immense sense of satisfaction whenever we get partnered up for anything at school, whether it's some class activity or a school talent show. 
I didn’t mean for my heart to melt the first time I heard you sing, so shyly and quietly, under your breath, practically inaudible, but I heard it, anyway. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean for my ears and my brain to catalog it as the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I didn’t mean for my mind to think “He should sing more.” I didn’t mean to want to hear more. 
I didn’t mean to feel a rush of pride and a sense of victory when you finally agreed to sing in front of our entire class, even if I had been the one to convince you. I didn’t mean to feel so heavily disappointed and sad when you didn’t show up for school the day you were supposed to sing. I didn’t mean to clap my hands and cheer ‘Yes!’ as loud as I did when you made up for it by singing a Christmas song with all of us come December that year. 
I didn’t mean to feel special that day when you gave me half of your sandwich because I’d forgotten my lunch and your mom packed you an extra one. I didn’t mean to forget to eat it, too. 
I didn’t mean to finish dinner more quickly than necessary some nights because you said you were going to call and it was almost time for you to do so. I didn’t mean to rush to my room as quickly as I did the minute I heard a ‘RING!’, phone already pressed to my ear, poised to answer after the second ring, patiently waiting for the sound of your voice to filter through the line as soon as I picked up, grinning in delight like a little kid once I heard your “Hello?” I know we didn’t mean to talk through the late hours of the night, but we did just that. 
As we shared more of our jokes, stories, and talked about anything under the sun, I didn’t mean to feel right at home, like I belonged right there, safe and steady, free and at peace, and extremely, inexplicably happy. Listening to you - your quiet chuckles, your laugh, your angry ranting, your soft tones when you’re either embarrassed, divulging some harmless secret, or feeling particularly subdued, your joy and excitement whenever you talked about something that means a lot to you, something that you really look forward to. I didn't mean to learn to love all of that. I didn't mean to love all of you. 
I didn’t mean to treasure every single layer, every page of your book, every piece of the funny, sweet, smart, intelligent, hot-tempered, beautiful puzzle that was you. Every part of you, from the inside out, every quality, every facet, I didn’t mean to love all of them. 
And I know I definitely didn’t mean to feel some unexplainable, unknown, unexplored, undiscovered, undefined, unbridled feeling after what happened next. 
I truly did not mean for my heart to soar and fall, helplessly and hopelessly, at the same time, when you said that out of all the girls you knew, I was the best one yet. 
“You’re the weakest link.” You said. 
“What? So I’m last? I’m at the bottom? I’m out? I’m the weakest?” I asked, wildly curious, a tad confused, very annoyed, slightly offended and a little bit hurt. 
“No, that actually means you’re the best out of all of them. I’d choose you.” 
I could not believe what I was hearing. I could not process your words. I could not grasp their meaning, and their realness, right away. And it definitely didn’t help that you were saying those words in such a matter-of-fact, nonchalant way. Casual as can be, as though you were just talking about how good vanilla -flavored ice cream was, or how hot the weather had been lately.
Caught up in my confusion and disbelief as I was at that moment, however, I still had time to notice that tiny detail. I didn’t mean to. 
You would choose me,, you said. I didn't mean to believe you. 
Oh, but I did, anyway. 
Perhaps it's because I wanted to. 
Deep in my heart, oh, how I wanted to. 
I didn’t have time to marvel at it then. But as soon as we hung up the phone and said our good nights, I did. I didn’t mean to roll your words over and over again in my head that night. I did, anyway. Stubborn head. Stubborn heart. Stubborn me. I almost didn't sleep that night. 
“Really? I am? You’d choose me? Wow, that’s really so sweet of you to say! I'm glad you told me that. Thank you!” 
I couldn’t believe you. I simply couldn’t. I told myself I didn’t want to. 
I didn’t mean to, at any rate. 
“Why, it’s true. You believe me, right?” 
“Yeah, I-I do. Of course.” 
I didn’t mean to believe you. Oh, I really, truly didn’t mean to. 
But I did, anyway. 
Oh, yes, I surely did. I honestly, absolutely did. 
And look at me now. 
I didn’t mean for that belief to go that far. But now, here we are. 
I didn’t mean to fall. I didn't mean to hope that you'd catch me when I did. 
The truth is, I didn’t mean to love you. 
The truth is, I didn’t mean to feel this way. I didn’t mean to have felt it back then, and I most certainly didn't mean to still feel the very same way now. But I do. Oh, I still do. But I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to love you. I did not intend for you to be the center of my little universe, the one that my heart looks for. I did not plan for my heart to choose you. I did not mean to tell myself to wait, just wait, wait for it. Wait for him. Didn’t mean to fool myself into believing that someday, one day, you will notice, you will see, you’ll know, you’ll understand just what I feel for you, you’ll realize just how much I deeply, truly love you. And I even somehow managed to convince myself that you’ll feel the same way for me, too.
 I didn’t realize loving you would be this hard. I didn’t realize that not wanting to love you - not meaning to love you - would be next to impossible. It’s so hard and it hurts. Oh, how it hurts. It hurts too much. It breaks my heart, shatters it into a million pieces, to know that nothing I could give, no amount of love that my heart could offer, would ever be enough. Maybe, once upon a time long ago, it would have been enough. But that no longer holds true. It would never be enough. 
Yes, I know, I have no right. I have no right to want you, to wish that you were mine, to hope, to long for you. I have no right to be jealous of anyone you choose to have in your life just because I was not the one you chose. Just because I was never an option, never a part of the choices, to begin with. 
I have no business thinking of you. Or recalling dates, memories and times that never even happened. Dreaming of encounters that never took place. Wishing for moments that don't even exist. 
But they almost did, didn't they? We were almost there. The love, our love, was almost there. 
But 'almost' is never enough, is it? It was never quite enough.
It is not my place to desire a future when there is no past to precede it. 
It is silly of me to miss what I never had in the first place. It is foolish of me to miss the times that we never even spent together. 
My mind has gone mad, I know, pulling up incidents that are nothing but figments of a heart’s wild and lovestruck imagination. Nothing but pieces of a long-remembered, impossible dream. A wish upon a star never to come true, for the rest of the other stars weren’t meant to align for that dream. 
I want to hold you. I want to be by your side. I want to get to know you. All of you. Not just what I think I already know by heart. I want to memorize you more than I think I already do. The beautiful shape of your heart, the deepest recesses of your mind, your innermost thoughts and feelings, the feel of your heartbeat next to mine. 
I want to love you, but I can't. I may pray to God over and over, but my wish will never come true. I know this. My heart is for you and you alone, but I'm not allowed to give it to you. 
No, in the end, that dream forever remains a dream, and that wish is never again to leave its wisher’s lips. Words of longing whispered by a naive, hope-filled heart into the night, never to reach their destination in the stars. Because now, you love someone else. You belong to someone else. You want someone else. You need someone else. And it very well may be that you were destined for each other, that you were always meant to be with her. You belong with her now. Her, not me. Never me. It was never a question. there was never any doubt about it at all. Perhaps I was not even that ‘weakest link’ you spoke of. 
But this isn't fair. Of course it's not. There's no way it could be. After all, life, especially when it comes to love and matters of the heart, hardly ever is. 
But you know what? That’s okay. That’s fine. I’m happy, really and truly happy. Genuinely happy for you. Yes, happy. I probably don't mean to be, but I am. Why? 
Because you love her. You’re happy with her. You’re happy when you’re around her, happy when she looks your way. Your happy whenever she's by your side. One glance and you’re gone. You’re happy whenever she smiles at you, talks with you, laughs with you. And she makes you smile, makes you laugh, too. You’re happy because you love her. 
And she loves you, too. She wants to be with you. She wants to be the one you talk to about your dreams, your goals, your problems, your pet peeves, your favorite books, the movies that you think are awful, your brother’s new girlfriend, and so on. She wants to get to know you better, to uncover every side of you, both seen and unseen. She wants to bake you snickerdoodle cookies and take selfies with you so she can post them on Facebook. Not to show you off, no, but to show everyone how proud she is of your love. How proud she is to love you and be loved by you. 
She wants to be the keeper of your heart. She wants to be the one to hold your hand for the rest of her life. She wants to share her home, along with the rest of her days,  with you. 
All this I can understand. I know what it’s like to wish for such things. I know what it’s like to want you. I know what it’s like to want to do everything with you and for you. I know what it's like to want to spend all the time in the world with you. 
That’s why I’m happy for you. 
Because once, my heart wanted all of that, too.