I’ve always seen the world through the eyes of a dreamer.
My upbringing was chaotic, fueled with screaming and yelling, hiding in the cupboards, hoping not to be found, just to inevitably be mercilessly shaken and beaten by my older brother. Given my naive thinking and young age, I believed him when he said he would kill me if I ever told my parents what was going on while he was babysitting me and my other brother while our parents were at work during the day. I went to hell and back for so many years until he finally moved out of the house.
Life seemed to be looking up for me. I endured the days of my mother drunkenly scolding me for not being the proper little girl she wanted me to, telling me I wasn’t normal when I wanted to play with the boy neighbour’s toys, telling me I was hurting her by not wearing dresses and playing with Barbies, telling me she regretted that I was born.
My first day of school, I thought everything would change, I finally found a refuge from my home, I could make friends and play with them! I saw a boy during the formal enlisting where all the children and parents were gathered, as we one by one went up to shake the hand of the headmaster as we lined up with our new classmates. This boy sat behind me, and I couldn’t stop turning around to look at him. He looked like someone I would get along with and have lots of fun playing TMNT with. As the headmaster called out my name, I rushed up and hoped this boy would be in my class, but alas, this was too good to be true. I never saw him in school again, he must have switched schools or something. I remembered his name because it sounded funny, and I had never heard a name like that before. The week after, we had our first real class in school. During math class, my teacher called up our names, and as he reached my name, he stopped up, asked me to raise my hand, then proceeded to say: “I know your brother. I don’t care much for your brother, you must be like him.”. I didn’t know how to respond, so I just looked down at my table. The teacher asked us to answer some simple math questions. “What is 2+2?” and so on, and so forth. Each student was asked a simple question until it became my turn when he asked “What is 2X2?” I, of course, had not learned this yet, and just remained silent and felt my face burning as my skin resembled a tomato more and more from the severe blushing from being ashamed.
He got up from his seat, walked slowly over to my desk and told me to move over to the table furthest away from the class. When I had sat down by my new desk, he lifted my head up, looked me straight in the eye, knocked on my head and said “Is anybody in there?”.
He told the class to not be stupid like me and resumed his seat.
During recess, I was feeling very small, and kept to myself. I had recently gotten glasses, since a regular checkup had revealed that I was nearsighted. A couple of boys in my class rushed towards me and took my glasses, then proceeded to push me over and step on my glasses.
After school was finally over, I went to sit outside the classroom where a neighbouring girl was in. She had offered to follow me home since I didn’t know the way home.
When I got home, I was “put in my place” for being home by my brother who was as per usual not in the mood to be babysitting. So I wound up bruised and scolded, rushed into the attic where I wouldn’t bother him, and fiercefully told to be quiet and stay there. The lights went off. It was cold. This would turn out to be a regular occurrence whenever I got home from school.
I remember the time when everyone began hitting puberty in school. Very vividly, due to the fact that I didn’t hit puberty as fast as the others, and one girl in my class found it thrilling to announce this to each and every student, making me feel like an alien in that school. Gym class was terrifying for me, as I knew what laid in store for me. Yet another announcement of not having feminine curves or any sign of puberty, and very fierce comments about my weight which managed to pierce themselves into my mind, making me stop eating. I developed Anorexia, to the great dismay of my mother who would force me to go to my room during dinnertime because: “I can’t stand looking at you poking your food, if you’re not going to eat, then get out of here and go to bed!”. Not quite the procedure you’d expect from a mother, but I obeyed as usual, not saying a word and went to bed.
The school nurse was keeping an eye on me, as she had to measure each student to see how we were doing healthwise, and to make sure we were informed on what to do once we had our period for the first time, painkillers, pads and such. She called me to her office once a week or so, telling me just how far below the curve of development I was, and how low my weight was for my age and height. I merely looked at the floor, obeyed, and went back to class once she was done talking. The last visit I had with her, she yelled and told me I wouldn’t go through puberty if I didn’t start putting on weight. She noticed the wounds and scars on my arms. She told me she would be forced to contact my parents if things didn’t change. This just made me feel like an even bigger failure, and made me eat less. She never contacted my parents, and she never came back to class for me again.
Due to the overwhelming stress from my home, the bullies in my class, the bullying from my teacher, I just snapped. We had gotten a new teacher who told me to wait when recess started, and told everyone to leave. He said he didn’t care much for how lazy I was during the class, and how I seemed to be half asleep during his class. His voice turned to yelling, and I just snapped. I screamed at him, let out all those years of silent frustration out on him. I kept on venting until I noticed what I was saying. I just told someone everything. He knew what was going on in my home. He knew everything. I saw tears forming in his eyes as he left the room.
I was shaking, either from anger, shock or fear of him having me expelled or calling my parents.
I sat down by my desk, awaiting some sort of yelling or beating, but nothing happened. The bell rang, everyone slowly returned to the classroom and our class began. Like nothing ever happened.
A few months later, all the 7th graders were to go on a school trip to one of the smaller villages in my country. We all had to write an essay about the trip, so it was mandatory. I had befriended a few girls in my class, and we would always sit together and have fun. On the trip, we were lucky enough to find sleeping spots for all of us, and it was actually turning into quite a fun trip. As I was sitting there talking with my friends, there was someone who kept catching my eye. It was a boy, laying on the floor on the other side of the room (it was a very large hall) with his back leaning against the wall, staring at his phone, wearing this funky black beanie with a yellow and red/purple stripe on it. He seemed so interesting to me. I asked my friend if she could find out who he was. But as she got up, I noticed he wasn’t laying there anymore. We decided to go outside to smoke, where we saw him walking off, talking on his phone. My friend said she’d figure it out later. When we found a spot to smoke, where the teachers couldn’t see us, we bumped into a boy and a girl who seemed to be strangers struggling to keep smalltalk, so we just started a conversation about how ridiculous it was to plant so many kids in one room, making jokes about it becoming very smelly after a short while. We had some laughs, and the boy introduced himself to us as the other girl seemed to be very quietly moving away from us, seemingly uncomfortable with our smalltalk. Once we were done, we went back inside and sat on the giant bench they had placed around the dinnertables to fit all of us. The boy with the beanie was probably still outside, since I couldn’t see him anywhere. As we’re sitting there, my friend noticed the beanie boy’s friend sitting about 12 seats next to us and yells “Hey, Pringles!” (he was wearing a Pringles T-shirt) and asked him what his friends name was. He said his name, and I had this butterfly feeling in my stomach. It was the boy from my first day of school! We talked to Pringles for a while, until we were interrupted by the teachers to do some activities. I can’t explain what I was feeling right then and there. I just wanted to find him and say hi or something, the dreamer in me was seeing this chance encounter as a sign of fate, that there was a reason why we would meet up like this again. But being so shy, I just followed the teachers along with everyone else, trying to focus on writing the essay and gathering up as much information about the assignment to bump the butterflies out of my head and tummy. My friend had managed to talk to Pringles again, and found out beanie boy had just broken up with his girlfriend, and that was why he looked so sad and kept being on his phone. I decided this was not the time or place, I would not talk to him, I would let him be alone to talk to his ex. The trip felt a bit like a let-down, I was feeling bad for not being more sociable with my friends, and felt bad for beanie boy, wondering what he must have gone through, just wanting to comfort him. As the trip came to an end, and we were all on our way to the bus, a teacher came over, asking us to sign our names and phone numbers on a list, to make sure everyone was accounted for. When I got the list, I couldn’t help but peruse the list a bit, saying I wanted to make sure my friends were already on the bus etc, while actually looking for beanie boy’s number. Found it! I quickly scribbled down my name and number, while intensely memorizing his number so I could save it on my phone. Saved! Now I felt relaxed, ready to have fun with my friends on the bus, knowing I had his number!
In September, it was time to prepare for my Confirmation, which meant going to classes with a priest for a few weeks before the Confirmation itself. It was a nice, calm atmosphere, most of us were silent and listened patiently to the priest, and the few who didn’t behave were quickly and kindly asked to go watch tv for a few minutes, then politely asked to behave once they returned (this proved extremely effectively, actually.). After a few classes, the priest asked us to meet her in the church, where we would be guided through the process and told where to stand, where to sit, when to this and that. The priest guided us, two kids at a time, since we had to have arranged seats and had to know how to walk up to the aisle and where to go afterwards. As I was waiting for my turn, I was mindlessly staring at the decorative ships hanging from the skyblue ceiling, admiring its beauty as it seemed to glisten from the lighting in the room, as if water was splashing below the ships. I suddenly hear the big door open behind us. A head slowly pops out through the back of the heavy door, it’s someone our age, looking seemingly lost. The priest asks if the person is joining us. A shy voice asks “Is this the class for the 14h of October?”. The priest says this person is at the wrong church, as we were set for the 7th of October.
My heart is racing. It was him! This was the third random encounter I had with this boy, it had to be a sign!
The remaining minutes of the class felt like hours as I hoped to see him outside once we were done. But alas, looking through one of the windows, I saw a car pull up outside that picked him up, he must have gone to the other church already.
After class, I walked with my best friend through town before going home, telling her about me having his phone number from the school trip. She told me to send him a text pretending I was texting her, saying “Hi! Were we supposed to meet up at your place or other friends place? Please call me, I’m out of credit on my phone, I can’t text you back”.
It took me two hours to send that text. And it took him less than a minute to call me back! I answered the phone like I would when talking to my best friend, and he apologized and said I must’ve gotten the number wrong and asked if he could help me by texting her for me. We ended up talking for over 20 minutes and promised to keep in touch by texting. Weeks went by, we texted each other every day, up until he one day before school exams asked me to go to the bathroom at a specific time, then he would do the same and meet me there for our first IRL conversation. I immediately agreed and was beyond excited! The day of the exam came, and I felt the excitement slowly turn into fear. What if he saw me and didn’t like what he saw? What if he would change his mind and tell me to never text him again? I barely managed to scribble more than 10 lines on the essay during the exam when the clock ticked into the moment when I was supposed to get up from my seat and meet him. I couldn’t move. I froze completely. I heard a chair move, and saw him walk towards the bathrooms, carefully glancing around the hall, trying to see if he could recognize me. I looked at my desk when his eyes neared me. He walked over to the bathrooms. He’s there now, this is your chance! GET UP! GET OUT OF YOUR SEAT!
I felt my legs beginning to stand up when I heard a teacher say “If anyone has finished their essay, you may hand it in now and leave.”. I stood up. I looked towards the bathrooms. I saw my hand grab my pen and write my name on the essay. I felt my arms reaching into my jacket and putting it on. I was walking. I was walking towards the exit. I handed in the essay, and as I closed the doors to the hall, I saw his face peeping from the door to the bathrooms, he looked sad.
I left as fast as I could, I unlocked my bicycle and fled so fast, I swear I melted the rubber on my tires.
I got a text from him. I was too ashamed to look at it. I went to smoke and mustered up the courage to read it: ” Now I know what you look like! Now I can say hi in the hallways! :)”.
Unsurprisingly, my self-esteem wasn’t the best at the time, I was convinced that I was not good enough, I was ugly and fat, and I did not deserve anything good, least of all love.
I stopped going out of my classroom during recess, I hid in the windowpane behind the curtains, too shy to go into the hallways and meet him. I would respond to his texts by claiming to be sick. One day I didn’t respond, and just sat by the window, staring aimlessly at the clouds passing by. Suddenly there was a loud thud from the window. Someone threw a twig or something on it. It was him. He just smiled and waved, signaling me to come outside, then holding his chest as to say it would mean a lot to him. I smiled and asked my best friend to come outside and have a cigarette with me. This became the start of a long, very dear friendship. We would take long walks together with my dog, I would follow him home, (he lived a 30 minute walk from my home) then he would feel bad and follow me halfway back home, I was in bliss. We hung out at the weekly teen-dance, where he sometimes played a gig with his band, while me and my best friend would sing the lyrics at the top of our lungs and dance just in front of the stage, doing our regular dance routine. It was the best time of my life! After one dance, he told me all about this CD he just bought, he told me how magical it was, and how I just had to experience it! It was getting late, but seeing as I had never had a curfew, and my room was right next to the front door of our house, I figured I could always sneak home and pretend like I was in my room all along.
We walked to his home, two giddy teenagers giggling all the way to the house, when he told me nobody was home, and we had the house to ourselves. We went inside, the house felt different. I had been there several times before, but something felt different. It felt safe. It felt like there was magic in the air. We went upstairs, he held out his hand to reach out for mine. He had the softest hands. We walked upstairs, he jokingly showed me his parents’ bedroom and landed flat on the bed which seemed to bounce him up again several times like a waterbed. I was too shy to take the hint, and asked to hear his CD. We went to his room, he put the CD on, sat next to me on the bed, let out a deep sigh, hugged me and pushed me over jokingly into the bed. We laid there and cuddled until the sun came up. Our hearts synced up to the music, and we just laid there, so quietly and still, floating away to the music. I still can’t hear that album without my heart skipping a beat, as if I could still feel his heartbeat against my back.
All I wanted to do that night, was to turn around and kiss him. But I never gained the courage. He noticed what time it was and apologetically said his parents would be home within an hour, and it would be tough to explain why a girl spent the night. I left, feeling that old fuzzy feeling of walking on clouds, as I ventured on home.
I told my best friend about what happened, and I told her I had never known that love could feel this strong, I never knew love could be like this.
We were 15 at the time, and as summer was approaching, I had to go on the yearly trip with my parents to our summerhouse in a different country. I told him I couldn’t wait to see him, and I would send him lots of postcards.
It felt like the longest summer ever. My phone didn’t work while travelling, and we didn’t have internet in the summerhouse, so I couldn’t contact him. It didn’t help that I had forgotten to get his address before leaving, so I decided to write the postcards anyway, then just hand them to him when I got back, thinking it would be a fun thing to do. I finally arrived back home! I texted him immediately, asking if he wanted to hang out. He told me to meet him downtown, and he was so excited to tell me something. As I got ready to leave, a friend of mine came over to welcome me back home, so we decided to go there together, as she knew all about my immense crush on this guy. We went downtown and waited a few minutes. And there he was! He ran towards me, gave me the biggest hug, kissed me on the forehead and said : “are you ready for the news?? Here she is!”. It felt like something broke inside of me. There was a girl, with a big smile and blushing cheeks, holding her hand out to me. I shook her hand, and sort of spaced out while they were talking to me. My friend nudged me and said we had to hurry back home for dinner, or some other excuse.
It took everything in me to hold back those tears, I remember my friend was wearing a white-sleeved sweatshirt, which I left with two big mascara spots from the tears she tried to wipe from my face. Well, that was it, then. I had to hide my feelings for him and be nice to his girlfriend. She did nothing wrong, he wasn’t mine, I had never kissed him. Who was I to be mean to her. So I became good friends with her, I began hanging out more with her than him so she wouldn’t be jealous. I cared that much for him that his happiness meant more to me than anything else. I secluded myself more and more, chatting online with people daily, just trying to keep my mind from everything. Whenever I did hang out with him, it was always with his other friends. I became friends with his best friend, Pringles, who told me he knew how I felt about his best friend. He was a tremendous comfort through those gatherings, he would always pull me aside if they were being affectionate, as to keep my mind off it, and help me get over him. So I just talked to Pringles instead. He was awesome. He once pulled me off to a kindergarten so we could go on the swings, just to cheer me up. His spontaneity helped me forget all about them, and even prompted beanie to join in on the fun a few times. His girlfriend didn’t like to be childish like us, I sadly admit I found great joy in being a part of those moments.
I slowly pulled away from the group when it became too much for me, and went back to chatting instead. I found someone who was kind, funny, interesting and seemed very bright. I agreed to meet him at a teen-concert when I was 16. He was 20, which I found very thrilling, since I had not had any romantic connection with a boy since I was 12 and had one very awkward and horrible kiss that made me think I was a horrible kisser.
Also, I couldn’t believe any boy would actually want to be with me. What started as an innocent meeting, ended up with a shoulder broken in 4 separate areas, still not fully functional 14 years later, a 2 year on-off abusive relationship filled with guilt-trips and manipulation which made me spend my life-savings on an abusive jackass who had two other girlfriends (which I had no clue about), alcoholic, drug-using scum, who threw me on the path of suicide multiple times because he couldn’t just break up with me. No, he had to be the victim, he had to be the one who was dumped.
I broke up with him after he had convinced me that my parents and brother (the nice one) were just using me and manipulating me, (when he was the one doing those things) and dared to attempt to hit me. I had been living in his room for a few weeks, (he rented a room in my town) when I woke up one morning not remembering what had happened the night before, only remembering having one sip of a drink he had made me, and having horrible pains the morning after. I confronted him, and he laughed while saying “I wanted to see if it worked.”. I packed my things, asked my brother to forgive my momentary lapse of judgment and come pick me up, when my just-became-ex appeared in the doorway, holding the door closed with his foot, telling me to go back into his room immediately. I told him to remove his foot, to which he responded with making a fist and preparing to punch me in the face. I very calmly told him my brother was just outside the door, prepared to call the police immediately, and this time I would tell them the truth.
He never got to lay a finger on me again.
As time went on, I met new people, I fell in love again, I was in relationships again, yet my paths always seemed to cross with beanie boy. Every now and then, I would see him, he would hug me, gaze into my eyes, then leave again. Every time I saw him, all these emotions would bubble back up again, feeling like when I was 15 again. Whenever I was single, he would be in a relationship, and whenever he was single, I would be in a relationship, so it never felt appropriate to tell him how I felt. Even after all those years. During recent years, I’ve met him once or twice a year in the pub where I occasionally go with my friends. He moved out of the country years ago, but comes to visit during holidays most years. I’ve learned to hold my drink when I’m around him, as I’ve usually told anyone who would lend me their ear about how my heart still clings to something like a magnet, even when nothing ever happened. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but the last years, whenever I’ve seen him, it has felt like he actually sees me. You know? It’s an odd feeling.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I never believed in soulmates until I met mine. I’m turning 30 in two months, and I’ve come to this conclusion:
How can you get over someone you never had?