I can remember the exact moment I fell out of love with you.
It’s hard to describe the way I loved you, especially now that it’s been so long. I don’t even think about you very often anymore. I just got lost looking through old photos, nursing the sore feeling in my chest and scrolling through my camera roll looking for something else when I found yours. I don’t miss you, but it’s easy to miss the way we were. I didn’t love you in the all-encompassing throw-myself-in-front-of-a-bridge-for-you kind of way. I didn’t love you in the spend-every-second-with-you kind of way. I loved you in the way that every time I saw you, it felt right. I loved you in the way that it didn’t even matter if you loved me too, all that mattered was that you liked me enough to let me keep loving you.
But I fell out of love with you anyway, despite how much I loved you. I was at a party, a bad one to be precise. I had come with a group of people who liked each other more than they liked me, which was fine because I always liked you more than anyone else anyway. Most of the people at the party I didn’t know very well, so it was easy for me to huddle in the corner with my phone. I was drunk. Or maybe I was high, I don’t remember now. My feet hurt because I was wearing shoes that were too big for me, as most shoes that I borrowed from friends were. Even though it was April and the weather was getting warmer, I was wearing the biggest socks I had to try to make them fit. This didn’t make the shoes fit any better, though. It just made my feet warm and sore.
The night we started I should have been too drunk to remember. It was an average Friday night for us, hanging out in a friend’s room. We were friends but not yet in the way that we were when we were in love. Your eyes were bloodshot and mine were too but it was only 9 and we had a whole night ahead of us and we were sure we would get drunker and higher and forget everything. You asked me if I wanted to go to a concert you had tickets for, and I said yes. We were sure we wouldn’t remember it. I woke up in the morning to an email from you asking if I wanted to go and I remembered everything. An email! I remember laughing about it but not telling you so because I wanted to be serious and romantic. I don’t know if you laughed too when you saw my email in reply.
I like to imagine that you laughed, but I’m not sure if you did. I don’t want to imagine that you saw that email with the same cold glance that you always had, the one I always tried to ignore, the one that made me feel like you were never really ever feeling anything but just pretending. I hope you laughed, but now I’m not so sure. The concert was fun, I remember that. You said you were too nervous to kiss me but then you did and I remember trying to ignore the contradiction.
Things had been going weirdly for us for a while leading up to the moment. I could see the distance in your eyes when we talked. I could never figure out what you were thinking about, but I never wanted to ask because I was afraid you would ask me back and I didn’t want to tell you I was thinking about not loving you. There was always a lot of space with you, space between what you said and what you did, how you felt and how you told me you did. I wish I had been better at reading you, but I think that required you reading me too which you never did. But in that moment the space was so big I felt like I couldn’t see the bottom. It was filled with lights and honking horns and voices I couldn’t make out and you doing whatever was more important than the stupid party I was at. Nobody said anything to me when they saw me crying. I couldn’t stop because I kept thinking about how if you were at that party I wasn’t sure if you would say anything to me either.
You fell in love with me first, at least you said you did. It caught me off guard when you told me, and you apologized because I think we were both surprised by my silence. I was sure then I didn’t love you yet, but I had a feeling I could. You said that it was the way I looked at the world that made you love me. I pointed out the fog, I remember. I said liked the way the fog looked against the streetlight and that I wished my iPhone’s camera could do it justice and then you told me that you loved me. You told me you loved me, and I didn’t believe you. I’m not sure I believe you even now, looking back. You always liked saying big and romantic words but you never did big and romantic things, at least not for me. But it was nice to feel loved, and I wanted to love you the way you told me you did. I fell in love with you much slower than you did with me, which was scarier because my love was all the way under my skin and yours sat on the surface like a paper cut.
The night slowed down then. The night the moment happened, it felt like it had been created and drawn up just to frame the moment when I stood by the window and figured it all out. The night I looked out at the city, the moment I decided that no matter where you were and no matter where I was the space between us would always be too big. The moment I knew all the moments I spent loving you would fall away just like the way I fell out of love with you.
It’s funny. I can remember almost everything about that moment. I remember I was standing by a window. I remember I set my phone down after I got that message and looked down at the street and I felt my face heating up. I can remember the exact feeling of falling in the bottom of my stomach when I realized you weren’t going to respond to whatever I said after that. I remember the exact time, it was 15 minutes before midnight. I looked around and nobody was looking at me and I can remember feeling relieved that I had this moment all to myself. I can remember that I liked the dress I was wearing, it was blue and I had bought it especially for the event. I remember I was wearing pink lipstick that I kept chewing off and reapplying. I remember the unbelievable immensity I felt. I remember feeling like that was a moment that I was going to remember.
But I can’t remember what you said.
I can’t remember what it was that made me realize I didn’t love you, or that you didn’t love me which made me fall out of love faster than I knew I could. I remember the moment, sure, but I don’t remember you. I’m glad I don’t. I’m glad I can’t look back at that moment and hate you for what you did or said or what you didn’t do or say. I’m glad I can remember all the other moments when we were happy and when there was space. That my heart can still feel a little sore and a little broken all at once. I’m glad I can hold that moment in my heart without hating you. Just without loving you.