I’m in love with a friend. I have been for almost 2 years. He doesn’t know, I didn’t know myself until recently. The worse thing that could possibly happen now would be him finding out. He must never know. How could I then claim to be his friend? How could I stay composed and retain my dignity in future meetings if every time he would always know it was an act, that my insides were really writhing at his every glance, my veins pulsating with excitement, and my head dizzying from oxygen deprivation as I forget to breathe. There are multiple occasions I can recall with the clarity of sight that love is infamous for imbuing the world with, whereby a brief locking of the eyes can be twisted and mutated into a plethora of meanings, each one more colourful than its predecessor (He took a special interest in what I ordered at the restaurant. He took pains to chastise me for a frivolous comment made). Yet the episodes that torment me more are the ones which tell me unequivocally that he does not love as he is loved (He ‘forgot’ to tell me the revised arrangements for a night out. He rarely instigates a meeting even though he expresses appropriate levels of excitement when it is mentioned. He is perfect).
What I am most scared of is not that he will not love me – and believe me this is a profound fear – but that this is not really love. I am scared that I have been whipped into a frenzy intoxicated by the pheromones of infatuation. What does it feel like? Those palpitations in my chest furiously competing with the ever angrier butterflies in my stomach anxious to be released, is that what love is? Nobody can tell me, all they say is you just know.
My voyage of emotions has taken me from complete indifference at the point of our first meeting, to romantic obsession. It was a serendipitous encounter and I am a fool for serendipity; he was being shown around my house by the landlord, I was fresh out of the shower and preparing for a night out. At first glance I mistook him for another friend, at second I reckoned I was in the presence of Mr Darcy. The pseudonym of Jane Austen’s most famous character relates equally to his resemblance aesthetically and allegorically too; he appeared in my doorway in a white shirt open at the top on account of the summer heat, his hair dark and his skin fair. As I appraised him in what I hoped was a cool manner, I felt unworthy in his eyes. I despised him from that moment because I couldn’t change the me I imagined he saw. Some time later I discovered the unbearable truth: he was not as I had hoped, a pompous, entitled villain, a shameless womanizer, an obnoxious twat, he was a good man: unassuming, generous and modest. How dare he. It took a tactical and conscious decision on my part to rescue myself from the crippling feeling of unworth by removing myself from a candidate position. I refused to allow him to make an option out of me because I was convinced of the inevitability of rejection. I thought I was freeing myself, not imagining I would have to face the truth of my feelings eventually. I had so thoroughly conned myself into a friend category to the extent that I tried to set him up with my closest friend: in my mind she was everything I was not and thus he would love her. The only result has been that liking him is yet another thing my friend and I have in common.
Standing at the precipice of my adult life I realise I no longer wish to cower where fear dwells. Rejection, unworth, acceptance, beauty, ego; these words skip around my head poking fun at me. I look to past situations and my hand instinctively raises to shield my heart. I don’t want to be made to look a fool. I am no Elizabeth Bennet, I’m not even a Bridget Jones but I am in love. It may not last forever but shouldn’t it at least be given a chance to start?