The first time will be great. It will be new and refreshing, spontaneous and unexpected. But you’ll go back to your life right after. You might occasionally call or text her, just to keep in touch outside of work, but you know that most of the time she’ll be with him. But that’s OK, because you both made it very clear that there were t be ‘no strings attached.’ She’ll emphasize that, and insist that no one knows. Which is fine, because it’s just sex.
It’ll happen again, and this time you’ll linger for a little while. Perhaps you’ll even hold her for a bit, but you will eventually leave. He’ll come home to her and you can go back to your day on your own. You might even make small talk that night on your phone or the internet, but that’s just out of boredom, since there are no strings attached.
She’ll call you one night in tears; her boyfriend hit her or won’t hold her, or is just generally incompetent. She’ll say that no one else was free to talk to, so she called you. Which is alright because you are still friends, and friends support each other. The sex is irrelevant. She’ll cry and cry until you calm her down with words of reassurance, and then she’ll thank you, and you’ll be free to go back to your date. And once you hang up you’ll realize you don’t have a date. You’ll wonder why, but deep down you’ll know.
It’ll happen more and more, and soon you’ll begin to hang out with her on a regular basis, laying around on her bed, finding excuses to swing by even if nothing happens. You’ll find yourself falling asleep next to her until he pulls into the driveway. And suddenly, one day, you’ll see the strings.
They’ll be tied to the way her smile lights up your day. There will be one wound up in her long auburn locks that drape over your face each time her face is above yours. Her dazzling eyes each latch onto a string; shining pools of depth and beauty. Her delicate touch, her soft voice, her involuntary movements when you hold her close; it all leads straight to your heart, wrapping into a net around it. You’ll feel them tug as you go to leave before he comes inside, and as much as they will scare you at first, you’ll realize that you love them, and what they are attached to.
But the moment you realize the strings are there, so will she, and they will frighten her, and she’ll pull away. You’ll try to reassure her with words of love, but she will only struggle more. She’ll realize that she’s afraid of what the strings mean.
One day she won’t call. You’ll sit at home moping and keeping it free for her, but she won’t text back. You’ll feel a string snap and unravel.
The next day she’ll invite you over. Giddy, you’ll enter unannounced to find her cuddled up to him, hugging and kissing, which they never used to do. Another string snaps.
You’ll finally confront her about how you feel and how you know she feels. You will show her the strings. She’ll recoil in fear and she’ll pull the rest apart, breaking them and yelling about them, before finally declaring that she is going to stay with him.
She’ll ignore your calls and texts, she’ll go out of her way to not pass too close to you at work. She’ll talk loudly about how great he is to everyone, just so you will have to hear it.
But one day you’ll catch her eye, and she’ll stop for a moment. And for one tiny fragment of your day you will realize that there is still the smallest string tied to your heart and leading right to hers, and you know she’ll have felt it too. But in the end, she’ll walk away and pretend she never saw it. You’ll see it, though, and every day it will be a reminder of her and where that string leads, and you will always feel it tugging to pull the two hearts together.
Recounting a romance that was never given a chance.