Letters I'll Never Send: Part 4
"Almost's" really just aren't enough
This is the fourth letter I've actually written out for you. I know in the grand scheme of things, four sounds like a small number. But I'd hoped to have stopped at one letter. I wish I didn't have to keep writing these, but it's the only way to let some of what I'm feeling absorb.
I'm back from the trip. I've been back a few days. I'm so happy to see you again, to hear your voice, to be able to talk to you without worrying about one of us losing sleep cause the time zones don't match. I was only gone for two weeks and a few days, but it felt like forever. It warmed my heart every time you said you missed me, and the happiness in your face when I finally saw you again was the best thing ever.
I really missed you. I just missed your smile and laugh. The closest we got to speaking verbally while I was away was through voice memos on Instagram. Every message you sent me, though, your voice sounded sad. It didn't have the usual brightness to it. Even when I prodded at you, and tried to be playful to lighten things, you always sounded depressed. I hated it. So I'm really glad you're back to smiling and looking at me with bright eyes. Speaking to me with excitement again.
Being back though has been confusing still. The trip, as I said before, didn't clear my head as much as I thought it would. It didn't really clear it at all. If anything, it might have made it worse because I was missing you. In any case, I'm back now and we're falling into our regular routine. I've been back a week, and I've seen you a majority of those days.
One of those days won't stop replaying in my head. It wasn't so much the whole day, but a moment out of the day.
We were sitting in your car. We'd just gotten done eating, or maybe it was after we'd gotten some drinks at the tea place we both like. I honestly can't remember all the details this time. My mind was too distracted to really register anything but you.
Anyways, we were sitting. I'd given you your souvenir from the trip. We'd been talking for a few minutes about how much we missed one another, how happy we both were that I was back. It was a sweet moment. You pulled me over for a hug, which I gladly reciprocated. Because we were sitting in the driver's and passenger's seats, there were things in between to block it from being a real hug. It was still nice, though. Just to be able to hug you at all. And anyway, we'd hugged a lot in your car before, so we were practiced at how to align ourselves to achieve an embrace.
But so I was hugging you and just breathing in your scent. You always smell good and I'd missed it. You were warm, and your arms were safe as they held me. The way we were hugging put us in a position where you were slightly hovering over me. When you pulled your face away from the crook of my neck, you went to kiss my forehead like you usually do. I smiled and closed my eyes, laughing a little at just how content I was in that moment. Feelings aside, I felt warm, safe, and at home with you.
When I opened my eyes again, I turned slightly to my left to try and give you a more "proper" hug. My turning, however, put our faces very close together. I could feel your breath on my face, warm and minty cause you had been chewing gum.
I think I stopped breathing. I didn't think. I just looked at you, really just appreciating your eyes. All of a sudden though, you moved forward. It was barely noticeable, but it was there. Your face shifted slightly as you froze, and then backed up an inch, muttering something along the lines of "I can't do that..."
I didn't know what that meant, and I wasn't going to assume anything, but then you followed up with, "I was about to kiss you on the lips, wow."
As soon as you said it, for some reason, my reaction was to laugh as I just hugged you again, pressing a kiss to your temple instead. I brushed it off as best as I could, trying to make sure neither one of us would feel uncomfortable or awkward.
I just said "Well, let's just not discuss that," and kept everything very casual.
It was strangely easy to remain casual, maybe a side effect of me being an adept liar. My voice was a lot more even than I thought it would be, and I wasn't shaking as I pulled away from you. Inside, I was, but on the outside, I was solid.
I'm not sure what I feel now.
When it happened, I immediately felt good. Not because you'd almost kissed me, but because I DIDN'T try to kiss you back. The moment I saw you move forward, I recognized a sense of panic, and immediately turned further to the left. I was going for kissing you on the temple, or maybe the shoulder, or even just hugging you tighter, and burying my face in your collar. The important part was that, as soon as I saw your face, my immediate reaction was to avoid. There was no doubt in my mind, and still no doubt in my mind: If you had leaned all the way in, I was not going to let you kiss me.
Knowing that puts my mind at ease. Because I did WANT to kiss you... there have been multiple times when I wanted to. And, I've always questioned myself about "If the opportunity presented itself, would I really do that? Would I compromise my morals and compromise yours?" I'd never known the answer, and was genuinely scared to find out.
But, the moment came, it passed, and my resolve stood. My morals, my desire to protect you, my want for your happiness at the end of all this... all of that stood stronger than my selfish desires.
The part that's boggling my mind is just the fact that it happened. The fact that there was an actual "almost kiss." We'd talked before, and you'd told me about moments where you wanted to kiss me. You still tell me sometimes that "if I could, I would kiss you." But those were all just words. This was a real moment of "almost." And, honestly, I don't know how to process it.
I can't stop thinking about it, and when I do, I just get confused. A million thoughts cross my mind, all jumbled and mixed up. There's a desire for what it would've been like to kiss you. There's guilt over knowing that I wanted it. There's self-reassurance knowing what my natural reaction had been when it happened. There's the shock that it happened at all. Mostly, there's confusion over what this means now if it means anything at all.
As always, I can't ever let you read this, so you can't offer me any clarity. I don't ever want to bring it up anyways. I feel like you'd be guilty, and I don't want you to feel bad. But this is just all so confusing that I had to write it down.
Maybe if I get this all out, something will make sense.