Afraid to Fall

Do you remember your first love? Were you filled with butterflies in your stomach? Did you blush around them, or stammer when trying to speak to them? Did you dream of a life with them, getting married and having children together? Many of us often remember our first lovers or crushes. Some may regret being with them, some miss that experience with them, and some never got to be with them. Now that last part might not seem important. However, consider this: How many times has it happened? Most of you might say, "Well, only a few times. I didn't have that many crushes growing up." That's perfectly normal. Some people fall easier than others.Yet, can you imagine what it must be like if you had so many crushes that you can barely remember them all? About 110. I have had 110 crushes, some of them on the same person multiple times. That's just a quick estimate. It might have been more, maybe slightly less, but can you guess how many of them liked me back? Only about 15--despite dating 16 people, one had fallen for me but I only wished to give them a chance because of our beloved friendship--had fallen for me as well. Do you know how many were loyal to me until the very end, and vice versa? Only three. Tony: boy #1. Cause of breakup? Died tragically in a hospital at 3 in the morning during late August two weeks after we started dating. He was shot attempting to save a man being robbed, received surgery, and his body rejected the transplant causing him to die. I was only around 11 or 12 at the time. Bryan: boy #2. Cause of breakup? We slowly drifted apart after nearly a year of being together. I don't know what went wrong, but we just stopped talking. We mutually agreed it was for the best if we saw other people. Finally, boy #3: Dani. My current partner. We had dated once before, back in my freshman year and his sophomore year. It was less than ideal and I left after almost a month. We continued to be friends after that. Then, late into my sophomore year after a traumatic event, something had sparked again. I'm not sure how or why, nor do I know now, but in early spring I started to develop feelings for him again. I had held it off for a good few months believing it was just a fluke. I told myself, "There's no way. He's just being nice, that's all. It'll go away eventually like it always does." Yet, the feelings never left. They grew and grew until I started to see signs that I had been trapped with possibly unrequited love for him. I remember how rumors began to spread, and he had admitted to them, that he had his eyes on a particular girl in our friend group. Shamefully I admit that I was outraged by this. It had happened so many times before, and I was a fool to continue to love those people for prolonged periods of time. Like my childhood friend, and a girl we both knew from another school on the campus grounds. I didn't want to be hurt again. So I continued to push those feelings away. They didn't stop. They pushed back, and I was forced to feel this way for so long. Then I had made a decision: sink or swim. He either loved me back or he didn't. I had yet taken another unsure dive into an unfamiliar lake in which I had drowned in many times before. I wrote him a small note at first, telling him my feelings in French. He returned to me and asked me why. I could not give a proper response. We left it off at that. A day or so later I gave him a longer note explaining in full detail what I meant by those small words. He took it, read it, and said not a word to me afterwards. I had believed myself to be rejected, and like many times before I was heartbroken. "What else did you expect?" I told myself that evening. "Of course he doesn't want you back, idiot! Why even bother?" I had prepared myself to be content with the loneliness I felt that day. That was why I was taken by surprise when he acted unusual the very next day. It's hard for me to recall everything that day as I write this, but I do remember one thing: that kiss we shared spoke more to me than words can ever manage. Now we are content and happy with one another, lasting a total of about 6 months, but that fear I felt back then still lingers in my mind. The fear of now losing him like the others. The fear that something will come between us, something neither of us can control or stop, and I'll be alone again. My mind works strangely in these situations. While I am outwardly happy with my life now on the exterior, my mind races with endless possibilities all ending with me being left forgotten and abandoned. I suppose that is my reason for not wanting to fall. All the failures pile up until it's too much for me to bear any longer, and they begin to haunt me day in and day out. My only hope is that this time is different, and I can finally share my love with someone properly again.

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