“Maybe you should try being alone for a bit,” she said at the end of it all.

It’s true. Chasing others occupied most of my adolescent and post-adolescent lives. A syndrome inherited from someone who preached my importance was measured by those who loved me.

The three-year road leading to this peace of mind was forked, unpaved, and pot-holed. There were those I hurt and those who used my vulnerability to raise their self-esteem. I gave myself freely to anyone who gave me an ounce of attention. I fell for every smile. For every woman who made me laugh. I became the type of person who once made me cringed. I became that long, greasy-haired high school kid.

In the end, I came out scathed with a better understanding of myself. Of what I wanted. Of who I needed to become for my son. I focused on that world. And I grew in my contentment of being on my own. I learned, if you will, how to measure my worth by loving myself.

Then came you, the proverbial monkey wrench in the cogs of my machinery.

And I’m just tryna play it cool now

It happened slowly. And sometimes I find myself wondering if this was somehow orchestrated. As if that night that drove me to know you better was by designed. That someone meddled with my blossoming contentment of being alone.

Others painted you as aloof. One called you his arch nemesis. So when it came to interacting with you, I paced myself. Tested the waters before I cracked a joke. I wasn’t sure which way you’d lean. Of course, I rarely spoke to until you were invited to join in our reindeer games.

Then you gave me a ride home. And I got to know you as you are and not as you were made to be. I gave you my number without any thought later. A just-in-case for when we planned our next hang out.

I tried to ignore that pang when you confessed to me that your cat desecrated my copy of Bloodline. I failed to hide my smile we spoke in front of others. It shocked me that when your hand brushed mine, albeit accidentally, I didn’t flinch. Your touch didn’t drive my anxiety like so many others. And that scared me. It worried me.

I’m pretending you ain’t been on my mind

I’ve never been one to hide my feelings well. Never been one who wanted to talk about them either. So deniability worked well for me even though I reminded transparent on how I felt about you.

There were moments I felt we were on mutual ground. So I admitted it to you. And you panicked, so I panicked. And it was never brought up again.

But you filled up my free time. When not thinking of Shaun and being a father, I thought about you. I wrote cryptic passages on this blog, journal entries. I asked friends to help me figure you out.

I took an interest in the things you liked. I gave shows and movies I never thought of watching before. If we were a romantic comedy, the ending would be obvious. Inevitable.

“So why are you still single? I thought you were in a good place,” they ask.

There are moments when I over think the possibility  of an us. I’m not an easy person to be involved with. There are moments when my depression wins. There are moments when I become withdrawn. Where I ghost the people I love. Where I allow myself to fall into the abyss and stay there. There are moments when I feel undeserving of love. Moments when I realize how much of an asshole I am. There are moments when I drive out those who love me most. I play all the scenarios, seeing all the possible endings. I fall in and out of love. I’m selfish. I’m unkind.

But I like you. I like us. I am comfortable in this moment. I like texting you. Telling you that i like texting you. Sharing my peanut butter cookies with you. I love our conversations in the dark of your car as we leave another game/movie night. I like critiquing movies with you. Sharing those pop culture videos with you. Nerding out with you. Venting to you. I like sharing my truest self with you.

I just fear that one day I might become a source of your misery. And it scares me.

Maybe I’m just getting accustomed of being on my own. Maybe this is the doubt that I need to show me that I’m not where I want to be in life.

But I like you. And I think of you constantly. And I brighten when I receive your texts. So wherever this may lead, I’m glad that I met you.

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