I stood there staring at him in disbelief as he looked at me expectantly; His face full of exuberance and hope. My heart felt like it was beating out of my ribcage as I tried to search for an answer in the deepest pits of my mind.
Twenty three years I’d been in love with him, twenty three years but somehow he still hasn’t noticed the look I have in my eyes when he walks past, the way my body shivers underneath his touch or the way I crawl onto his lap just to be close to him.
The love that I had for him wasn’t some silly crush, it wasn’t even something that went away, believe me I’d tried, it was something that had lasted longer than I could have even imagined.
‘Okay.’ The smile he gave me in that second let me know that I’d be doing the right thing. As long as he was happy and I was seeing that smile then I knew that I couldn’t have been happier.
He started babbling about taking her out for a meal but I allowed myself to switch off to that, instead thinking back to the times where it was only ever us. When did we all grow up? When did it go from us holding hands in the orchard, with the whole family ahhhing behind us, to him discovering other girls?
The days where we messed about in the mud, playing tag or attempting to knock each other off of our brooms just to see who’d get the dirtiest. My childhood was the days where we spent every day together, each collapsing on each other on the verge of exhaustion after Nana Molly scrubbed us clean in the bath.
It all seemed so many moons ago.
‘Lily?’ He clicked his fingers in front of my face ‘Lils? You there?’ The nostalgia slipped from my mind as I focused in on his concerned face looking at me. He couldn’t see the hurt that flashed across my eyes when I realised that he didn’t want me.
He’d never wanted me.
All I was to him was his best friend, nothing more. And I thought I could live with that but now I wasn’t so sure.
I wanted him to be talking about taking me out, for him to be talking to another girl about how to try and woo me. I wanted him to want me in his arms rather than anyone else. I wanted him to kiss me and hug me close telling me that it was me all along.
But life isn’t a fairy-tale. Then one day you have to just grow up and see reality for what it was- a mess. A huge mess scattered along the blurred line between love and hate. The mess which decided who you’d meet and fall in love with. It just so happened that just as I saw Lysander, he saw someone else.
‘Sorry Sandy,’ I started looking at him again, ‘What did you want me to do?’ I asked him meekly. He looked so happy at the fact I wanted to help him, how could I tell him that it was him that I wanted and that I didn’t want him to go with this other girl? I couldn’t.
I knew that in my heart of hearts no matter what happened, I would always love him. He would be my first love, the one that stayed imprinted on my heart forever.
Unrequited love was always the hardest, and the phrase ‘if you love someone then let them go,’ kept shooting itself into my mind. I ignored it. The imbecile that had said that had probably never been in love; they had never felt the gut wrenching sensation when you feel like your whole world is going to collapse around you. Nor the actual pain of your heart shattering, piece by piece and you wanting to just collapse to the ground.
Lysander was the only person I could think of spending every single day of the rest of my life with. He was the one I wanted to see when I woke up every morning and the one who I wanted to see last thing at night. He was the one who I wanted to wait for me at the end of the aisle as I walked towards him. He was the one who I wanted to have my children with. I wanted to grow old with him and he couldn’t see that.
He couldn’t see the tears I pushed back every time I saw him looking at another girl, or even when he mentioned one in passing. He couldn’t see the way I spent time looking at pictures of us and wishing we were more than friends.
His oblivity was almost laughable and I wouldn’t want him any other way.
‘Lily… Are you okay?’ He’d given me the opportunity to tell him what was wrong; every single fibre in my mind was screaming at me to take it. We could have our happy ever after and he would simply forget his crush on the girl and come running to me.
‘Yes.’ And then my fate was sealed. No more fantasising about our life together or growing old because to me, his happiness was worth more than my love. I wanted him to be happy, whether it was with me or half the girls in timbucktoo because that was what love was.
Love is putting that person before yourself so that’s what I did. I would help this girl fall in love with him because that made him happy. I would watch on as they got married, had children and grew old together, always waiting in the side wings to be there for him when he needed it. I would be there when he needed time out, to moan about his wife and I could deal with that…
Because in reality… fairy-tales don’t exist.
A.N Hey guys... Here's another one-shot by me. I loved writing this piece mainly because it was talking of unrequited love rather than writing about relationships as I was used to. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it and I'd love for you to drop a little note saying what you thought.