There Was Never An ‘Us,’ But You Still Haunt Me


In the beginning, I acted like it was nothing. I acted like I wasn’t affected. I pretended I didn’t look at your back every time you walked by. I pretended I wasn’t counting your steps in my mind until you were out of view. I didn’t want to admit it. I never wanted to admit that you, stranger, had a place in me.

Then I learned your name, and you went from being ‘the guy in the elevator’ to guy that was constantly on my mind. Every single conversation we had I saved in my handwriting in a box beneath my bed.

In my head, we were something: we were the kind I would love to read in a book or watch on a big screen. I used to stare at you from the first floor and wonder how you could look like that, then catch myself and wonder how I could be that pathetic. I’d do it the next day, again.

I tried to pretend it wasn’t a big deal, like I didn’t need you to look back at me, but everyone knew. Everyone could see me look at you. I guess I’m not as good of an actress as I thought.

I know it now. I know the reason why I was so taken by you, the reason why I caught all those feelings for you. It’s pretty simple and maybe a little cliché too: you saw me. You saw me once, and then you saw me all the time.

You were always the first to call out my name in the room full of people and the first to wave from the other end of the hallway. I thought you wanted to know everything about me, and in turn, I wanted to know all about you. The more I found out about you, the more I wanted to know.

I don’t think I ever really stopped to take a breath and use my head. My heart was the one doing all the thinking, and I let it lead me down a dead end road.

It was all kindness. That’s what I think it was now. I don’t think you were fascinated, I think you were just kind; you were kind and I was about a thousand steps away from reality.

Maybe you were just making conversations for the hell of it; maybe you touched my shoulder to get my attention because you were curious to see what we could talk about that day. Maybe you laughed for real, but only because you thought the joke was actually funny. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I’m the one that found strings to attach to every little thing you said; I’m the one that made it more than it was ever going to be. I guess I do blame myself after all.

A couple of months have passed now, and I don’t get to see you all of the time. I’m relieved, but some days, I also miss everything we weren’t. I no longer hold my breath when you walk into the room or try to avoid eye contact. I no longer feel the need to hide, but maybe it’s because I don’t think anyone will be looking anyway.

Okay, maybe I might not be relieved, but I’m at peace. A lonely kind of peace.

Whenever I see you on my screen, my lips move upwards before I even notice: I smile, and I hate it. I wish I didn’t do that all the time. I wish I didn’t jump out of my skin every time I see someone that remotely looks like you. It’s never you, and a part of me is always disappointed.

If only I could cut that string; if only I could set you free from my heart. Why do I still catch you in my dreams? Why do you still haunt me?