What We Could Have Been


You were my best friend.

I know that might sound surprising given the fact that you know some of my other friends, some of the other people in my life, but you were someone who I came to rely on. You were important to me. No: crucial. You were necessary.

You really were my best friend.

If I squeeze my eyes tight enough I can still feel your arm lazily resting around my shoulder, your hand on the small of my back, your chin balancing on the top of my head. I can hear your laugh, I can see the lines from living around your mouth and your blue, blue eyes. I can still smell the dusk in your curls when you bent down to pick all 5’1” of me up and throw me over your 6’4” frame to prove you could.

I can still feel your fingers squeezing just tight enough to keep me close, but not enough to bruise, around my ribcage. I can still feel you grazing where I’d been previously hurt when you thought I was asleep. I can still feel the whisper of your lips saying “Good night, love” on my earlobe.

You were safe.

I was anything but. I was hurt, beaten, broken, confused. I was sporadically pacing at midnight, trying to figure out my place. You were the arms trying to tell me to come back to bed, to wrap myself up, to take care of myself, that it would all be okay despite what I was telling myself.

Maybe you knew better.

When the sun sets and I feel the first bite of fall in the air I think about you. I think about nights under blankets and sheets that are still on my bed that I wish still smelled like you. I think about forehead kisses I never deserved and promises no one could realistically keep. But, regardless, I think about you. I think about what would have happened if I hadn’t been jaded, hadn’t been scarred, hadn’t been in such a damaged place when you finally said, “I want you.”

I think about what would have happened had I took a chance.

You were all I wanted.

You are all I still want.

The reality of the situation is that I know I wasn’t ready. I know it would have ended horribly, bitterly, and in tears. More so than it actually did.

But I still wonder what would have happened had I not ran home in the blizzard to avoid facing the situation. What would have happened if I had admitted that I was a tiny bit in love with you and simply scared of falling harder. What would have happened if would have said, “I could be with you.” What would have happened if I had said, “Are you mine?”

What would have happened if I had said, “I’m yours.”

What would have happened if I had said, “I always was.”

There is a time zone between us now. We have 12 hours, almost a thousand miles, and a year without each other under our belts. And honestly? We’ve done okay. You look happy; I’m trying to be. I hear you’re doing well; I’m working towards that state.

I think you’ve met a girl. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.

Because for as often as I say I don’t want anyone, don’t need anyone, it’s that they aren’t the specific person I want. I picture myself brushing those curls away from your eyes, kissing your nose while standing on my tiptoes and saying, “You good, spoot?”

And my heart breaks because it isn’t reality.

It’s a what if.

It’s another life.

It’s what could have been.