The 27 of 2017: Part 1
I like to think that I'm a relatively optimistic person; especially when it comes to dating. I also like to think that even after this year of dating, that my optimism has emerged relatively unscathed. At the end of the day I'm looking for something very specific that I think most of us can agree on - someone you can connect with on such a deep level that you couldn't imagine your life without them. At least for me, that's what I'm looking for.
So let’s talk about where it all began. Like I mentioned before, I recently got out of a four-year relationship. I keep saying recently, but officially it has been a year since the end of it. When I wrote this prior, I had a very specific person in my mind and no, it wasn’t my boyfriend at the time. I would like to introduce you to Kieran. The oh-so-infamous Kieran.
Before we start.. you can't get past the putting on music part. If you keep reading and don't follow that rule, then this won't paint the picture I am constructing. Not just any old song.. Wolf Gang - Lions in Cages. Here is a link if you need it: https://soundcloud.com/wolfgang/lions-in-cages.
Now turn the song on.
When I imagine love, it is very simple. Picture my kitchen, lights dimmed, in the darkness of the night. An orange glow fills the room. But the whiteness around still ever present. The walls. My clothes. The feeling. It's light and free in the midst of the darkness. I wear my jean shorts and a white tank top. My hair is a controlled mess. And I dance like no one is watching with every neighbours' windows facing my way. He is there too. I don't know what he is wearing. Darker colours. I don't know who he is but he dances with me. Music blaring in our ears, we smile, we touch, we dance. Perks of the bottom floor, stomp and jump as you please. As a smile grazes his face, he runs his hands through my hair. His body presses mine against the counter and we kiss. Smiles plastered across our faces, we kiss. With laughter and love filling our bones, all we do is dance. Nothing more, nothing less.
That is how I imagine the love of my life. The one and the only. That is it.
Now put that song on repeat and imagine that feeling. It's the one I've been waiting for as I dance here not alone, but with hopes of love.
I tried to play off the fact that I didn't know who this was about. In the black t-shirt, I imagined his devilish grin and the fiery stare we often shared. Kieran had captured something in me from the moment I met him. I met him on the exact same day as the one I ended up in a four-year relationship with. Life is funny like that. Some small, unsuspected day became one for the books.
At the time, Kieran and I were strangers. A stranger that I bravely passed my number along to a few classes into the course but one who soon after switched out and was someone who I didn't hear from for two years. Fast forward two years later, Kieran ended up dating one of my friends in the program. After the end of their relationship, our friendship really developed. He would steal my glance from across the table in the common room of the math department where we spent most of our undergraduate lives and off we would go on a walk to wherever we could get ourselves alone to talk.
That unsuspecting day led me to one particular moment that changed everything. It flicked a switch in my brain and for the first time, showed me an alternate reality to the one I was living in. I had been unhappy in that four-year relationship for a long time. I won't go into too much detail now but he made feel self-conscious, insecure, and most importantly, stuck. When you are so far deep into something, it is hard to imagine your life any other way. I couldn't stand the thought of being alone and having that comfort, so I stayed. The thought very rarely crossed my mind - until that one moment. That one damn moment.
It was a few nights before I was planned to move twelve-hundred kilometers away to a new city for school. It was an evening, like many other Thursdays, spent indulging in alcohol, dancing, and blues. It was a place that always had this dark, blue glow to it with music that seeped into the floor to surround you with what felt like a warm comfort but also awoke your soul; and every dancing bone in your body. Every moment from that bar is a happy one. Kieran couldn't dance for the life of him; he had absolutely no rhythm for someone who was a great musician. Yet he looked so happy while dancing and that was the most attractive thing. The entire night was spent dancing like fools, even though I could actually dance, exchanging glances, and lessening the space between us.
"Tonight was so good." Kieran said ecstatically.
After dancing the night away, my friend Elise, Kieran, and I all walked back to my place where Elise parked her car. We all stood in a circle looking at each other with teary eyes and uneasy hearts. This was it. The choices in my life had brought me to this point and were the reason this would be the last moment together for an indeterminate amount of time and those feelings hit me like a freight train. I looked at Elise and as soon as we embraced, the tears started pouring out my eyes. Every final hug turned into one more and Kieran stood by observing the separation of a lifelong bond that had to be broken far too early from when it was formed. I watched Elise walk to her car and felt a comfort knowing Kieran had yet to leave my side.
Kieran stood there with sadness spread across his face as I looked up at him with my tear-filled eyes. We didn't say anything and entered a deep embrace removing the space we did not want to come. He put his hand into my hair and gripped lovingly. I pressed my body and face into his chest and got lost in his embrace, his smell, his touch, his feeling, and his everything. The tears gushed out of my eyes more than they had ever before when saying goodbye. We parted slightly and looked into each others' eyes for far too long. He looked at me like he never had before; I could finally see past all of the walls he built and saw deep into his heart. His lips were so inviting and the thought of kissing him drove me mad. I felt a sense of peace in that moment having his arms wrapped around me. I felt safe and embraced in a way I never had been before. There was nothing more that I wanted to do than kiss him in that moment but we walked away after saying one last vocal goodbye.
I received a message from Kieran after entering my apartment in tears. I broke down. What had my life accumulated into? How did I get to this moment? A string of moments flashed before my eyes and set a heart-wrenching feeling of regret and loss. My choices had led me to a point that I wasn't happy with and there was nothing more that I wanted to do than escape from that feeling and back into Kieran's arms. I wiped my eyes and after getting washed up and settled myself into bed to read his message.
“I wish I didn't have to walk away.” Kieran said.
“Me too.” I responded.
“I'm going to miss you so much. This random chick I met in first year.”
“I'm going to miss you so much too. I know right.”
There was a pause in our messages.
“I better let you go.” He said.
“I don't want you to.”
“I love you man.”
“I love you too bud.”
“In the most platonic way possible.”
“Ha.. My first year, I should have called you.”
“I know, you really should have.”
“Things would have gone so much different then they have. What I'd do for something stable. I'll stop. Totally unfair. Anyways, have a good night.”
“I always want to be close. We have really become such good friends and someone I know I can always count on. I'm so happy we met.”
“I never want to lose you.”
“I remember the last time I've heard those words. Same to you. You've been a rock, my guide.”
“And you have been a refreshing reminder to just live and be happy with what is right now.”
“The now is what you've made. Have to at least try to enjoy it.”
“Thank you for everything.”
I paused for another moment and wondered if I should even mention it.
“You give fantastic hugs.” I said.
“Really!” He responded.
My heart ached and all of me wished things would have turned out differently that one September day. If he hadn't left the class, if he had of called, if he and I became closer sooner on, if Jordan and I weren't together; all of these thoughts kept crossing my mind and making me question how I ended up here and if I really wanted to be where I was. But then, in typical Kieran fashion, I was quickly disappointed.
“Just had the strangest experience.” Kieran said.
“What was it?”
“I'll explain tomorrow. Ran into a person.”
“Haha that's vague.”
“Okay well nothing happened tonight but I got a number.”
“Why are you sorry? You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“That was a trip. Met a stranger. Shared a dart on her front porch. Anyways, I should probably sleep. That beer hit me way too hard.”
After that, I realized that no matter how many emotions I could feel for this man, there was no way it would ever work. There was always someone else, somewhere else, and something else. I wasn't going to sacrifice stability and devotion for a fantasy. In some ways, I didn't blame him. I was about to leave for a new city and I had been in a committed relationship for so long. Of course, if roles were reversed, I would get the hell out as fast as I could but so much of me wished he wouldn't. In that moment, I closed the chapter of Kieran in my heart, and vowed never to re-open it for he wasn't ready to feel the love that was tearing all I knew apart. I settled back into what I knew and fell back into the path that Jordan and I paved. Jordan came with my family to help me move to my new city. We spent our last week together unpacking, building furniture, and imagining our life together one year from now in this new place. As I parted with Jordan, I shed not one single tear.