I hurt. The New York Times recommends Tylenol, which a quick Google tells me I would call Paracetamol. I have hesitated to call my hurt Love, as my reaction appears ridiculous to me, self-destructive, chemical, against reality and my rational mind. Neurons in my anterior cingulate cortex and insula start firing, the NYT informs me. Like Melissa Hill, I hate how much it hurts.
Yet I will call it Love, for I am beautiful and worthy of Love. And my reaction has been a reasonable one. My love has never been requited but always encouraged just enough to keep me simmering. Like that kiss: never a kiss on the lips, hugs allowed but not kissing, then we hugged just before I left and you kissed me on my bare skin, above the low neckline. Or that email, or that one- I would not suggest you did not mean the word “bravery”, nor that it meant love rather than friendship, but I printed it out and read it again and again.
I do not give up easily. At times there felt such a spark. We fit: without language for it, you like men like me. I like women like you. You have such wonderful charisma that I have definitely gained from your company.
Do I resent that encouragement? Yes. People push boundaries- you most of all, your freedom is delicious. If a woman is beautiful, vital and charismatic, men may resent her power. I must own my feelings, and not blame you for them, or imagine that they impose some obligation on you; and that kiss kept me coming back longer than was good for me. I call it encouragement. I knew I was getting little from this, and still I kept coming back: we agreed to meet, and I obsessed about it for a week until the time arranged. And eventually the pain got too much for me, and I gave up. It is a process rather than a decision.
I would not want you to be other than you are- you are very beautiful, and I am glad of the opportunity to have got to know you.
I beat myself up. I should have seen. I should have protected myself. My reactions are ridiculous. Or I could treasure little hints in order to blame and resent you- “You held my hand! How did you think that would make me feel?” Anger inwards or outwards is pointless: it was as it was.
I have said, I do not want to see you in this way. I am on tenterhooks: will you respond? But I will take paracetamol, and recover.
New York Times on falling in love and breaking up.