When it broke.

The music was louder than normal. The lights bright, pink, and piercing through the light fog of the dance room. I was laughing like a lion and dancing how you imagine I would. It was midnight, and 30 seconds into the song before I realized what was playing. Our song.

I felt as if I was searching for something I knew I wouldn’t find throughout the night—as if you’d teleport to this bar 3,000 miles away—but now that you’ve filled my ears I regret finding you.

It was a mistake to snapchat you the scene of the dance floor even though we admitted that we wanted to talk again like nothing is different. We were more ourselves with each other than we are with anyone, but now, everything has changed.

I’ve filled the white noise of my life with any conversation, song, podcast, or video that I can. I’m scared your voice will preoccupy the space otherwise. But you have to understand whatever heartbreak I feel right now isn’t some constant pain in my heart. I think this is where we have the greatest disconnect. I can hurt and live without hurting all the time.

I’ve accepted that you can’t like me in the way I once wished you could. And you and I both have people we love that we can spend healthy time with to heal from… whatever we’re healing from, without ever talking about it.

But here’s what I don’t understand: I don’t know what the “normal us” is, and I don’t think you do either. When I reflect on my happiest moments talking with you, it’s when we were silent. After we joked about something goofy, absolutely wild, or something for just us—after our laughs subsided—when we smiled at each other, and the world went still.

That’s what normal felt like to me. My heart never rested like it did in those moments—not with anyone I’ve dated or friends I’ve loved like family. Your personality pierced through any wall I had ever built within myself, and mine did through yours.

I’m not glorifying those instances anymore, even if they still glow in my memories. They were times that lived and died and there’s no guarantee that chasing them will cause us to run to a different place.

I’ve concluded that reaching for the normal us is like grabbing for something that isn’t real or can’t be actualized. Neither of us knows which of these it was, but we always had an incredible appreciation for each other. Universes exist out there where we are happening; where we’re resting our souls with each other right now. There’s a universe where we were always just friends, and there’s one where we’re more.

But that isn’t this place and I’m accepting that I was a fool who fell for a different reality. It wasn’t your fault and I don’t regret a moment of it. Those memories with you are lined with gold. I hope that feeling returns for each of us with people who deserve to feel the butterflies we felt; who want to maintain something bigger than themselves for the rest of their lives. It’s a shame we’re not those people for each other, but it’s incredible to know that feeling exists at all.

Maybe you were hoping for a letter that said I’d do anything to have you in my life right now—that it’s been unbearable to be without you so I’d put my feelings aside to make it happen… but that will happen, and if you can’t wait for me to be ready, you’re not the friend I know you to be.

I know that it’s hard to let go when neither of us did anything wrong, but it’s temporary. I cannot want to be yours. We have to build a new reality authentically, one where I shouldn’t be nervous about falling into my feelings for you and where you can say anything without fear of hurting me.

So no matter the bar, the song plays on, and I’ll never not think of you when it fills my head and I’ll never not appreciate the happiness, the struggle, and the respect we gave each other as I dance through.

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