I have heard it said that you should not put all your eggs in one basket for things are sure to go awry, but when you are fifteen you do not think twice about what could possibly happen to your precious eggs. I began to pile egg after egg into the first basket I found. I piled every last egg I had into that one basket. I naively had all the hope in the world and not a single doubt that the basket would hold up strong. However, the basket let me down; failed me in a way. My eggs did not survive the fall and no matter how hard you try, you cannot put an egg back together. Sure, I can change them, transform them into something else, but they will never, ever be the same.
When the leaves turn from green to crimson and gold, I am reminded of him. When I see a spinning tire swing, I am reminded of him. When I watch the movie Aladdin, when I have trouble with my computer, when I have a rough day at work, when I play the piano, when I trip on my way to class; I am reminded of him. And, I hate it.
I am currently just shy of twenty-one years old. Therefore, I have known Naoko for six years now. I have told him everything there is to know about me. I have shared so much with him. I have connected with him in a way I almost feel I could never connect with anyone else. How can you undo six years of some variety of love? How can you undo six years of pain?
We never really had an official relationship: we never even kissed, and yet I feel we went through the same emotional process that people in relationships go through. It started as a crush and then it progressed into a good friendship, transformed into a friendship bordering something more, converted to a love/hate relationship, twisted into a just plain hate relationship, and finally it came to rest at a friendship once again. We cycled through these stages until in the end we just ended up being really nothing at all.
Naoko is a guy full of contradictions. He would say he did not want to date me, but then he would ask me to go get dinner with him, and he would pay. He would talk about things like possibly kissing me, but he would never follow through. He would imply one thing, but do another. This series of contradictions forced me to learn to translate for him. For instance, when I made a statement about him not liking me and he stated, “That may not be true anymore,” what he really meant was, “It’s not that I suddenly like you, it’s just that I want to keep you around as my backup in case I am not able to get anyone better”.
He tore me apart. The little comments he made; they killed me. “Nobody likes me. At least, nobody good”, “I like girls who are skinnier”, “I like girls with darker hair”, and so on. I just felt I was never good enough. He knew I liked him from day one. It is actually the reason we ever started talking in the first place. I feel like it would be common sense that you should never reveal to a girl who likes you all of the qualities you look for in a girlfriend that she just happens to be lacking. I feel like this would be common sense, but I could be wrong. In fact, I truly do not believe that Naoko realized how terrible a lot of his comments were. Although, I will admit that not all of the comments were direct attacks, they hurt all the same. To be honest, I cannot deny that in my mind, a majority of what I have heard for the past six years is, “Maybe someday, but not today”.
It has taken me six years to realize he completely tore me apart and he completely demolished my self-esteem. He got me to believe I was “not good enough” and I needed to change. He convinced me I was “crazy” when I got upset about the hurtful comments he made. He got me to believe that I would rather hear his “brutal truths” than some white lies. He verbally and emotionally abused me for years and the worst part is that I allowed him to do it. Now, I am sure your next thought is “Why would she let him do that?” Well, this answer is simple. The reason is the same reason any girl allows any guy to hurt her time and time again. The answer: SOMETIMES, things are good.
It would be wrong and completely unfair for me to tell you every negative aspect of Naoko without mentioning some of his positive qualities. I would never deny that he did have some positive qualities. For instance, one day I was having a horrible day. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I found myself sitting at a lunch table alone. He left his group of friends to sit with me, just so I would not have to eat alone. Another time, I was caught up in a lot of family issues and I was just sobbing in my room when he offered to help me take my mind off of things by making me a pancake breakfast the next morning. It was things like those that caused me to like him. Those were the good times. The problem is that other 90% of the time. The part of the time many of us choose not to focus on. The part of the time we somehow forget.
Sometimes, I tell myself things can go back the way they once were. We can put all the pain and heartache behind us. Sometimes, I want nothing more than to forget the bad times once again and forgive him for the thousandth time, but then I remember what he said to me. The single most painful sentence I have ever heard. The one sentence that continuously runs through my mind that will not allow us to go back to the way we were. It is the one sentence that allowed me to finally get over him. Imagine hearing the guy you have loved, in some way, for years say to you, “If it ever seems like I am interested in you, it just means I am getting desperate”. Imagine how you would feel. I have never felt so hurt before in my life. It verifies the concept of being the “backup”. It reiterates the fact that I mean close to nothing to him. It proves that the guy I once considered to be one of my best friends was never a friend at all.
It’s funny how one non-existent relationship can impact the rest of your life. Naoko and I have been at the “nothing at all” stage for quite some time now and I can honestly say that although a part of me will always care for him in some way, I am no longer in any stage of love with him. Yet, he impacts every new relationship I enter. I can no longer pile all my eggs into one basket. In fact, I feel reluctant to pile even one into a basket, no matter how promising it seems. There was a time when I was the most open book you would ever meet. There was a time when I would tell you anything you wanted know. Now, I do my best to protect myself. I have read poems about people building up walls after being hurt so badly that they fear ever being hurt again. I never truly understood this concept, until now.
These walls keep me from making emotional investments out of fear. They make me feel like I am safe, like I can never be hurt again. Yet, I know that if I do not take the steps necessary to break these walls back down I will never be happy and what’s more is I will never experience “true love”. I will never know what it is like to really be “in love” (which I define as to love someone and be loved in return). These walls of protection are really more harmful than beneficial and although I understand that people’s ways of thinking change over time, I never want to let go of the part of me that is an avid dreamer ever hopeful about the world and what it has to offer. I never want to lose hope that somewhere out there is a basket that will not break.