Nobody ever wants to give up on something/someone unless they absolutely have to, do they? I've always believed you never give up until there is literally no hope remaining - this works for absolutely anything; life, goals, challenges and love. "No, don't be silly", I'm not giving up on the fund raising part of things; that will never happen for I know there is always the chance it will succeed (I know it will).
This time, I'm talking about love. Not love in the general sense for I still believe one day someone will come along, whisk me off my feet and show me what it's all about - I know, how weird is that from someone like me, after all I've experienced? The love I'm talking about is the one I've had since I was a mere 12 years old. I should never have even known what love felt like at that age, but I did, and I've felt it every day since.
Don't get me wrong; I've not been sat around pining. I got on with my life, for the most part I've enjoyed much of it, but he was always there in the back of my mind. I think the biggest problem (for me) is that it never really ended - to be honest though, it never really began either. One night he just stood me up and was never seen again until 8 years later when he was standing next to me at the bar at a wedding. At that point I was living with (and engaged to) someone else, however the second I laid eyes on him all those feelings came flooding back. We chatted, we laughed, we even had a dance together, then at the end of the night he was gone again. One thing he did say which struck me as odd though was "how come you're allowed to be with him?" in regards to my fiance (who was at the wedding with me). I remember laughing as I told him I could be with "anyone I wanted". The conversation never went any further. As the years have passed I've told myself many times I must have heard him wrong; I think maybe he uttered something similar but the noise from the reception and my own love for him, interpretted it as him saying that. Our minds can play nasty tricks on us.
It was another 3 years before I saw him next; he came into the shop I was working in. I can't tell you how I behaved, because it was utterly pathetic. I was a 27 year old woman behaving like the silly little 12 year old I had been on our first meeting. I don't know what it is about the man but he just sends me totally skitty. The job I was doing was a temporary thing; I was there helping out for just 2 weeks. 3 times during those 2 weeks he came in and one day he walked by the shop 3 or 4 times looking in (this time with a friend). I got the distinct impression it was for my benefit, however, I also think he was doing it just for something to do. My feelings for him have never been in doubt so I think him and the friend he was with were basically just being "twats", doing it for their own enjoyment because I did go bright red and get flustered every time I saw him.
Fast forward another year. My best friend lived in a first floor flat. At the time another mutual friend of ours was living there, along with her boyfriend and occasionally I stayed to - we used to laugh that we were all going to end up in a commune together somewhere. One day I was working down the road, so nipped up to hers for lunch (I'd also picked up something for dinner for us all that night and wanted to get it in the fridge). Whenever I was there alone I'd sit looking out of the window watching the world go by. It was one of those neighbourhoods where there was always something going on. This person was secretly seeing that person, while their neighbour was knocking off someone else's husband wife; Louis and I became the talk of the gossips for a while when we first got together (they could have based a whole TV series around the comings and goings of that estate). Can you imagine my surprise when as I am sat there I watch him (the love of my life) get out of the removal van which had pulled up, where he grabbed a box, marched across the green between the road and the flats and took the box into the flat directly below my best friends. He was directly below me as I ate my lunch (as least I was meant to be eating my lunch - once I'd seen him I couldn't eat a thing). I watched him the whole time I was at lunch trying to work out if it was him moving in, if he was with a woman and they were moving in (I think I would have cried if I'd seen him with a woman) or if he was helping a friend (turns out it was his workmates Mum and he'd been dragged in to help out). When I left to go back to work, I exited the building just as he was entering it. He looked as surprised to see me as I had been him. We did the whole "hey, how are you?" bit before he said "this is heavy; I'd best get it inside" He did ask if I would be about later, to which I of course replied "yes, absolutely". As I neared my car my best friends boyfriend appeared; we chewed the fat (like you do) and I could see the man of my dreams staring at us. He began to walk back towards us as my friends BF (who by this time had begun to walk away) shouted back to me "am I cooking tonight?" I replied "no I am, I popped the bits in the fridge so don't get eating them before I get home" (we all called the place 'home'). It was only after I got back to work I realised that the love-of-my-life would have been able to hear the whole conversation and had probably put 2 and 2 together to get 4.4. It could only have been interpreted (by someone who didn't know) that me and the BF were a couple. That was in 1997, some 20 years ago; I've never seen him since.
I've no idea if there was ever a chance he may have felt just the tiniest bit for me, of what I felt for him (I very much doubt it) but if he had I know any small chance I may have had of being with him ended that lunchtime.
That still never stopped me thinking about him, dreaming about him (a lot!!) or wondering the whole "what if?". Realistically I've known since that night in 1988 when he stood me up there was never going to be anything but somewhere in the back of my mind there was always that one tiny droplet of "hope".
Several years ago he did pop up on my facebook; you when you get the whole "someone you might know" thing show up. There was his face. My heart stopped. I clicked on his profile (it was private) and was going to poke him (back when it was still acceptable to do such things). His fb wasn't set up to receive pokes; instead I decided to send him a message. I just put something random (I still have the message so know exactly what I put but I'm not sharing that with you!!!). He came back with a reply, very short and mumbled something about being in Africa. When I asked whether for work or pleasure he never responded, so that was the end of that. I found out since from a mutual friend he lives in Africa these days with his wife (I'd not want to live there but I don't mind admitting I am a wee bit jealous of his wife, and I'm not a jealous person by nature). I have messaged him once since then, back in June of this year when he turned 50. I sent him a Happy Birthday. He never replied. That hurt but hey ho; I know my place and have been thinking since then I need to finally erase him from my mind (which is really not an easy thing to do - even more so when last week a friend of mine (who is friends with him only because of me) had commented on a fb status he'd put - it was something about how you met people - I'm not really sure what it was about as such, for I didn't pay that much attention; I only knew about it as she tagged me as the reason she knows him and he'd replied to her "the good old days". Even if I'd been able to I wouldn't have responded to it - he's married and I don't go down that route - not even for him. I couldn't have even if I wanted to though as him and I are not friends on FB - I'm going to assume he's not blocked me or I wouldn't have seen what she had said to him but I'm not one of those people who will go stalking someone. I've looked at his profile just the once when I sent him the first message those few years back, and I only went on it then because it was the only way I could get the link to message him.
I'd already decided I needed to get rid from my mind, then today another friend messaged to tell me he'd been in the country last month. He was staying less than 10 miles away from me. Now, I know he was here to visit his family (he has a daughter and grandson - that I know of; there could be more) but he was traveling alone, so I figure if he really felt anything for me, he might have dropped me a line to let me know he was about and we could maybe have caught up over coffee.
It's a really weird feeling, because, as I've said, I know there was never going to be a me and him, yet deep in the back of my mind, I always hoped - I believe you have to hold on to hope, or what is the point? Yet, here I am now, on this day, knowing that once and for all I have to finally let go. 35 years I've held a torch for him, I literally have no idea how I even go about letting go (shit, now that bloody awful frozen song is in my head!!!!!). I just know that I'm not doing myself any favours by continuing to hope, not that I would turn down a perfectly acceptable man if he was to ask me out. I'm not that much of a sad muppet!
I guess the final remnants of my childhood (the time when I actually, genuinely believed "anything is possible" and the only time I've really liked myself) are now properly over. Time to 'turn-the-page' and begin a new chapter, however much I may want to keep reading the same page.