*names have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and me.
You know, there’s a saying about the Queen that she must think everywhere smells like fresh paint. The world turns itself inside-out for her, and she must just think it’s normal. You’re a lot like that, Laura. You must wander through life thinking that men fall in love at the drop of a hat, but that’s not how things are, that’s just you. Men just fall in love with you. I’m not blaming you for that; you can’t help it, but the way you handle it leaves them broken, no good for anybody else.
And I’m cursed to have the same taste in men as you, and to watch them mooning over you while you dance over their fucking hearts. Eventually, maybe, one of them will realise that they’ll never have you, and will settle for me. But why should that be enough for me? Should I make peace with never being their first choice? I don’t want to go for your sloppy seconds. I’d much rather not. But still, when these sweet, kind men get tossed aside by you, sometimes I reach out to them for a moment before realising that you’re still not done. You still aren’t finished with them. So what do I do? I back the fuck off as you pull them back in, because I don’t want to make things even more complicated, and watch you complicate it all by yourself.
I don’t think I owe you a confession, but here it is anyway: I really, really liked your ex. He was coming out of your two-year relationship with his self-esteem hitting rock bottom. I had just broken up with my partner of three years and needed some comfort. So we kept each other company some nights – just that, no funny stuff – and I did the tactful thing and made sure not to mention it around you. It would have been cruel to say anything. But how much of that was fear and guilt?
Do you remember the night we went out dancing at the Welsh Club? Rach kept saying that she really, really liked your ex, but there’s no way she could do that to you, because you were friends. Imagine how that made me feel. You broke down in tears that night and said you wanted to kill yourself; it’s the first time you’d admitted missing him. I decided then and there that I wouldn’t be spending the night with him again, and I felt a calmness and clarity of purpose in that decision. I made you my priority. Bros before hoes.
It was different when Alex kissed me. You hadn't been together that long anyway, and it was after you'd been broken up for a while. He’d already asked me to clarify what I meant when I said I was “very fond” of him, and we’d both made it clear that it wasn’t worth complicating things over. I never pursued him. The kiss was a surprise, as much to him as to me, I think. It was nice. We were hanging out at the metal night the guys were running for a while. Alex is good company.
I don’t need to apologise for Mark. Nothing happened between us, nothing at all, and that’s not for lack of trying on my part. You knew I like him, but he’s crazy about you so you went for it. I’d probably have done the same damn thing in your position. Or in his, for that matter. It could have been a good thing! For both of you! It could have been fun and sweet and uncomplicated, but you’ve already begun lying and hiding and being reckless with his health as well as his feelings.
You’re magic. That’s why they fall in love with you. You dance like you’re made of music and you dress like you’re not afraid of anything, but I’ve never known anybody more scared.
So, yeah, I’m jealous. And I’m angry. But most of all I’m frightened, because when you hurt these men you hurt yourself too. Don’t do anything stupid, okay? Come home safe.
|Yeah, dude. Yeah it is.|