Sunday, 15 March 2015

If We'd Stayed Together

{Because I spend 60% of my waking life living imagined situations, considering hypothetical outcomes and writing an end to every What If... This is about my dear friend Gellar, who I could not give my heart to. And, it turns out, I was right not to. I'm so glad it has worked out for us both, that we can be friends again, but if (if, if all of the ifs) I had said Yes, where would be now?}

We'd have been together about a month when you found out. If circumstances had been different, I might have fallen in love with you by then. If it had just felt right when we kissed. If the whole mess that is my life hadn't dragged me away. If I'd finally fallen for you after willing for it for so long, it would have been with a beautiful thud of pieces slotting together and a calm acceptance. 

If you had become Mine. My boyfriend. We would have clocked up weeks' worth of late night phone calls, whole albums of naughty pictures and all the other hallmarks of a long distance relationship. My phone, the vessel of our affection, would be my most precious possession; I'd think of it, of you, last thing at night and first thing in the morning.  

When you got the news, would you have told me straight away?

"Hey, is everything ok?" I'd have asked. I'd have known from your call in the middle of the day that something was up. That something was about to rock our little boat.

Or would you have left it until our regular call that evening, in answer to my unsuspecting, "How was your day?"

Or would you have waited until we were face to face, on your fortnightly visit? Would you have told me on arrival? Over dinner? After sex? Or would you have preserved our weekend together and left it til the last hour?

I don't know what I would have done in your place. But however you'd told me, I know I'd have reacted the same. 

"I've been offered a job in Dubai..." you'd have said.

"You're going," I would have said. A simple statement of facts.

It would not have been for me to give you permission. Nor would it have been up to me to help you decide. It would have been at once me giving you my blessing and acknowledging the decision you would already have made. You were going. It would have been that simple and brutal and reasonable and OK.

Because what has always made us click is the understanding that dreams and career come first, before anyone and anything. You get it. I get it. Neither of us would ever hold the other back, even if they could. We couldn't, and I wouldn't have wanted to try.

But even so. I would have been angry at you. So angry. For asking me to say Yes. For allowing me to fall in love with you when I was so scared. I would have cried and hung up the phone or thrown you out of my bed. Not to change your mind or to make you feel bad. Only because I would need to hate you, for a day at least.

If I'd said Yes last year, you would be leaving me now. And I'd be torn between happiness for your success and sadness at my loss. 

I would want to cut my losses and run. I'd want to walk away from you before you got on that plane and flew away from me. But I don't think I would have. I hope I would have stayed and made the most of the last few weeks before your departure. 

And when you finally left, would we have resisted the temptation of "let's make it work"? Would we have fooled ourselves with the promise of quarterly trips and weekly Skypes? You would probably write me pretentious love letters and read me poetry over the phone. You'd send me photos of your grand aquatic adventure, artificially inseminating endangered crocodiles. Anecdotes I'd sigh over as I commuted to and from my 9 to 5, through London's rainy, grey streets.   

In the end would we have fizzled out? At what point would we have called it a day? Would this long, gentle distancing hurt less or more than a quick, cruel-to-be-kind severing of ties? I don't know.

Could I have forgiven you? Could we be friends, like we are now? I'd hope so. How long would it have taken for me to stop being angry at you? How long until it stopped hurting?

A hundred scenarios, a hundred questions, a hundred Ifs...

But, in reality, I didn't say Yes. I predicted this would happen and I'm glad I had the strength to say no. Because the pain would have been so much worse. And I'm so glad you get what you want and deserve. More than anything else, I'm glad you are still my friend. 

Today you fly to Dubai and I'm so happy for you. Bon Voyage Gellar x