TINA STAGER - TWENTY YEARS
Twenty years, since we first met. And yet, I still don’t understand. We have been through the worst times together. We have been through the best times together. We have been apart for a long time. We were friends. We were lovers. We were in love. But through all those years, we were always there for each other. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
The first time I saw you, something changed. I never used to believe in love at first sight, nor in love at all. But with you everything was different. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
We met briefly, having common friends. You had a girlfriend at that time. She didn’t even treat you well. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I’ll never forget your steal blue eyes and your warm smile. All those years, and I still can’t be mad at you, because the moment you look at me with those eyes, I forget the entire world around me. All the anger is blown away like magic. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Twenty years ago, I was completely in love with you, but I never had the courage to say anything. I am such a confident person, it’s hard to get me to shut up, but when it comes to you, all that is gone. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
We became friends. Just friends. That’s what I kept telling myself. I needed a distraction, so I found myself a boyfriend for the first two years. I told myself that I was in a happy relationship. Everything was great. But that was a lie. One word from you, and I would have kicked him out immediately. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Two years later I got tired of being in a fake relationship, so I was alone again. There was this one opportunity. You had a fight with your girlfriend. One of your thousand breakups. But I knew you would be back together a few days later. We were at a party with friends, until everyone left. We were alone. I wanted you so bad. I knew you wanted it too. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I would have reacted differently that day. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. It wasn’t good enough. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
As predicted, you got back together. Not for long. She had been cheating on you. So, finally, it was over. I saw you at parties with different girls. Some you introduced as your girlfriends. They never lasted more than two weeks. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Suddenly out of nowhere, again we were left behind from the rest of our friends. This time at a club. You didn’t know how to get home. I decided to get a cab, take you to your house and then take the cab back home. I didn’t have any other intentions. When we reached your door, you asked me to come in. You were very drunk. I hesitated. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
In the end, I decided to send the cab away and spend the night. I’m glad I did. We understood each other blindly. It was a wild and awesome night. Even under the influence, something was different with you. I could just be myself. I didn’t even have to pretend. I could just let myself go and enjoy the moment. Always. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
The next morning when we woke up. I decided to leave quietly. I didn’t want to ruin anything. After all, this night was the consequence of lots of alcohol. I rather went home with a smile and keep the good memory. I doubted the night meant anything to you. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
And I was right. Nothing had changed. You kept changing girlfriends. But sometimes, during the next four years, we kept having those incredible nights every now and then. And I still loved you. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Later I got into a lot of trouble, bad things happened, and I had to leave for good. I counted the days. I had to leave. I tried to say my goodbyes to all my friends but only got to see a few. I have called you several times, and last minute you found the time to see me. I couldn’t have left without seeing you. We sat at a café. I don’t want to leave you behind. I was crying. “This is goodbye,” I said. This was my final hope. Say something! Tell me to stay! You didn’t believe me. Why? I don’t know. I wish you did.
You must have known I would leave. I had my suitcase packed. I was on the way to the airport. But for some reason, you thought I would be back very soon. I was crying during the entire conversation. Please, just tell me not to go. Please. You were the only person that could have stopped me. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I would have faced all my problems. Wouldn’t have run. I would have stayed to be with you. Finally. Just one word: “Don’t go.” But you didn’t. You didn’t stop me. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Five years went by, we had brief contact over the phone. The friendship lasted. But I never came back. I couldn’t. It seemed like I would never get my happy end. Then one day, you came to visit me. We had an amazing week together. All those feelings were back. Or have they never left? Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Life went on, another four years have passed. I went through a terrible and violent relationship half of that time. I never gave up the hope that one day you might join me. When I broke up that toxic relationship, we started talking more again. We talked on the phone for hours day after day, night after night. More than ever before. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Something seemed to have changed, so I invited you to a weekend in a hotel. We had the most amazing weekend together and that’s when we fell in love. It was risky. We knew that. But it was worth a shot. Everything was perfect. We felt like teenagers. Butterflies in our stomachs. The first time. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
We decided to give it a try. Long-distance. Lots of hours on the phone. Lots of flights. A month here, a month there. Long weekends. Holidays. We used to count the hours and minutes until we could meet again. We were perfect together. The perfect match. And my happy end. But it wasn’t. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
We made it work for two years. The best relationship I have ever had. The only one where I was really in love. I have never loved anyone the same way. Complete harmony. As if we were made for each other. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
But there are obligations you had in your country, and there are obligations I had in my country, so after two amazing years, it just hurt so bad to be together and yet always apart. To be the happiest person for being able to be with you, but then pass months in between without being able to see you. It hurt so bad. One day you decided to break up with me. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I would have done everything to make it work. I would have suffered and sacrificed. I just needed a little more time to settle my obligations, and everything could have changed. Two more years, and I would have figured it out. There would have been a slight change that we could finally be happy. But you didn’t have that much time. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I was devastated. Broken. Depressed. I spent six months crying and drinking. The pain just wouldn’t go away. No matter how hard I tried. There was nothing I could do to get you out of my system. Believe me, I have tried. Wherever I looked something reminded me of you. I went to the doctor to get antidepressants. They didn’t work. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
We have never lost contact. We are still best friends. “Just friends”, I keep telling myself. But that’s a lie. I still love you, like the day we met. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
After two years you came to see me for the first time since our breakup. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what it would be like to see you in person. I knew you also had feelings, even if you would never admit it. We just protect ourselves so much from getting hurt, we don’t allow ourselves to be happy. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
The week with you was amazing like it always was. Not the same as the last time. Sometimes it was awkward, but only because so much time had passed. We didn’t quite know how to act around each other. But we did. And we spent some great nights together, as always. The time with you reminded me of how great we used to be. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Now you are gone again, and I feel kind of lost. I miss you so much. You don’t send me the same signals. I have never given up hope for our happy end. Some day. Not now. But the day might still come. Since you are back home, you barely talk to me. Then on the other side, we know each other so well, I assume that’s your way to repress your feelings. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I hope it is. I hope you feel the same way I do. It’s so hard for me to hide my feelings day by day. But I don’t want to be sad anymore. There’s nothing we can do about it now. I know these days you go out and drink and party. And I get upset because I feel abandoned. But it’s your way to clear your head. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
Tonight, I have one of those nights. My head is full, too. You have just told me about your last party a few days ago and I got upset. Not about the party, or what you might have done there. But because I got jealous. Not in a girlfriend way. But in a way that you prefer spending your time with other people. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
I know it’s stupid, you need to have friends and go out. It’s selfish of me. But I just miss you so much. I need you in my life. Long-distance or not. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing you. “Just friends” at least, because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t be without you. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
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