Cover Art

Extroverted Heart

by

Yelena Patag

True love is challenging. And sometimes the hardest things to do are for the best, for both you, and the other person.

Final

 "I think one of the most beautiful things about this world is the sky. It's like my mind. Calm and bright and clear one day, and raging, stormy grey the next."

Ann fell backwards onto the blanket spread out on the lawn. Elise lay beside her, and they both looked up into the blinding, bright blue above them.

"You know Ann," Elise started, "You never did tell me why you decided to move in with me. I was surprised that you were willing to move this far away from your family and friends."

Ann tilted her head, staring at what she imagined was a dog-shaped cloud. 

"Oh, you're right. I mean it's a long story, but if you're willing to listen, I'm more than happy to explain everything."

 

--

 

There are a million things you have control over. But for each of those million things, there are at least another million things that you don't have control over. Life tends to throw plot twists at you when you least expect it. And it's your job to take that plot twist and own it. Don't let it ruin the rest of your beautiful story. 

Let's be real, loving in a pure and good way is probably the hardest thing to do. We as humans were created from love, to love, and to thrive on love. True love is demanding. It challenges us every single day to love in different ways, according to the current situation. Sometimes love asks of us rather difficult things. And we struggle to do them and it hurts. And that's life. Sorry for the major reality check.

One of the toughest things a person will definitely have to do at least once in their lifetime, is let someone go. Someone that wasn't quite the right fit for you, that turned out to be toxic, that just wasn't open to what you had to offer. Friends are easily made, but true friends will form you into a better person by stretching you to new heights and paving the way to a life of happiness. 

When a friendship has run its course, when that person has taught you something unforgettable and they can teach you no more, sometimes, you need to say goodbye.

 

--

 

She sat on her bed in the pitch black of her room. The covers of the bed were drawn up to her chin and she stared into nothingness. For all her extroverted tendencies, taking time to herself in the dead of night was something she reveled in.

There was quite a lot running through her head. She mulled over many things daily and this was no exception. But on a night like tonight, there was one person constantly coming back to her head, taking precedence over her other thoughts.  

Because of him, she had realized many things.

For someone who on a regular basis observed the body language of people around her, she could tell that this person just needed more people in his life to talk to, and depend on. And she wanted to be one of those people for him. She was constantly open to listening and giving advice to her friends, and they appreciated that. It had turned into one of her little gifts for her loved ones. And here was a person that she wanted to help. She could see that he hurt and struggled and she wanted to be there for him.

Perhaps you could say that she found him beautiful. He wasn't exactly beautiful in appearance, no. But rather she saw that he could be wise and mature and loving in a quiet way. She perceived that he had many struggles of his own, and she wanted to be able to help him if she could.

It was just an innocent crush, one that she expected would die out after a little while. She thought he was handsome and kind and helpful and gentlemanly. And he was. She also thought he was fully matured and wise and thoughtful. And he was not. 

There were little things she especially loved about him. Little moments she had had with him that she loved and cherished. They had fun together. There was playful banter, dancing, little conversations concerning mutual interests, and plenty of laughter. Those types of little things that make you giddy and you feel as if you're over the moon.

Friendships for her usually started out like that, and so she was hopeful that their relationship could develop into something even more amazing, a friendship where they could both work to turn each other into a better person. After all, that was the point of a friendship, was it not? To help one another mature into good human beings, and earn the life given to you. 

Maybe she was acting too much like an adult.

I'll let it be, she thought. It'll all work out and I can just see myself a year from now chatting up everything with my closest friends. And he'll be there. Our group can go on crazy adventures and fall in love with the world. We'll be the generation to show the true meaning of life to everyone. 

 

-- 

 

"I don't know if that was just the fluff of the rather fleeting relationship." Ann said to Elise, as she lazily twirled a piece of her hair and watched the clouds float along in the sky. 

"But I do know that I had mistaken whatever was going on for a true, genuine, budding friendship. There was plenty of disappointment coming for me."

 

-- 

 

For someone like her who simply wished to be acknowledged as her own person, anyone who looked straight at her and responded to her greeting was immediately classified under the 'loved ones' tab in her brain. Therefore, it was only natural that she should have many people she wished to help, constantly. She was very intentional about her friendships, and knew exactly what she wanted in one. 

To her, a true friendship isn't simply fluff, when both parties occasionally contact each other and ask how the other person is doing, and then say goodbye. True friendship is built, and constantly renewed with, genuine care for the other person. A growing trust and constant communication is key for any good relationship.

She knew that's what she wanted and she thought that she could build that with him. She didn't want it to be some one-sided friendship where she was always the one asking for advice, no. She wanted the friendship to turn out the way it should, with both parties depending upon, seeking advice from, and stretching, each other.

He was certainly helpful and kind towards her. He had offered her advice and told her he had faith in her when she was going through difficult situations. So who wouldn't think that a true friendship was forming? 

There was something lacking, though. Maybe he just thought she was too young to be of any real help to him, and so he refrained from asking for advice. It was frustrating, to say the least. Here they were, on good terms with each other, but she wasn't building him up the way she had hoped to. 

Was her idea of a friendship wrong? She started questioning the standards she looked for in a good relationship. Maybe this was one she could just cherish. She was used to immediately jumping into deep talks right after forming bonds with people. Maybe this time around, she would learn to appreciate a slow blooming one.

 

--

 

After a while something clicks in your brain, something that tells you it's not right anymore. You come to a point where you're just tired of trying. She thought about it all during during the school year. Mulling over everything, coming to half-conclusions, and mulling over everything yet again. The summer before he left for college was looming overhead, and she truly wanted the both of them to come to good terms before he left.

For all her efforts to keep it at a slow pace, she was starting to be upset with the fact that she wasn't doing anything for him. She saw him regularly, and more than half of the time she could see that there was something definitely wrong with him. Perhaps she couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was, but she observed him enough and was able to detect when he was a little off. 

She would ask how he was doing, and he would respond, but she could never get him to open up to her. Frustration and worry built up inside her and she wondered if she should open up to him more in an attempt to get him to reciprocate. 

That wasn't exactly the best move, she realized after a little while. She regretting pushing things onto him, and again, he didn't try to reach out to her. A small part of her knew that if she stopped talking to him altogether, that would be the end. And that truth was difficult to hear, and she refused it and pushed it to the back of her mind.

But that truth was getting bigger, almost impossible to ignore. And her closest friends were telling her the same thing.

 

--

 

"Wasn't I dumb?" Ann laughed, hanging her head. "Yikes, just thinking about it, I still feel pretty stupid."

"Nah," Elise said sympathetically. "You were younger then, and you did what you thought was best at the time. We all make mistakes, and if we let that regret consume us, we'll never get anywhere in life."

Ann smiled at her friend.

"Thank you. I need to hear that every so often."

 

--

 

It's an ugly feeling, wanting to move on and wanting to stay. You're stuck at the crossroads and it's difficult to discern whether or not it's your business to keep trying to reach out, or to just leave without looking back. She was there. Half afraid to leave, in fear of doing the wrong thing, and just plain sick of how the situation was turning out. She was tired of being misunderstood, tired of having her hopes raised when he was nice, only for them to come crashing down when he was distant. It was a never-ending, cruel, cycle. At this point all she wished for was to sit down with him, have a good talk, come to terms with everything, and then move on from wherever the both of them were. 

She knew that he needed to find himself. And it looked like finding himself, and finding a friend in her, was pretty low on his list of priorities. She wanted very badly to help him. But maybe she wasn't meant to. Maybe she wasn't the person that would be able to reach him and help him realize what he wanted in life. 

Sure, she could be assuming far too much. She was definitely missing all the pieces. And that was why she wanted, before she completely stopped reaching out, the chance for a long, long talk. Ah, was that the mature in her speaking? Although she didn't completely know herself, she knew enough to know what kind of friend she wanted to be, and what type of friend she wanted to have. Perhaps she was closer to finding herself than he. 

But part of her hoped that wasn't so. That he wasn't very far off from finding the person he wished to be. She hoped, that before very long, he would have a chance to become that person. Maybe he'd get that chance when he went off to college in the fall. Right now her biggest wish for him was that he would live with purpose and happiness. That he would reach the goals he had set before him, and be happy where he was in his life. 

Even if she wasn't meant to be in his life, then, at the very least, she wanted the best for him. 

 

--

 

"And there you go, the past four years of my life, in a nutshell." Ann grinned comically at Elise, who stared at her with an odd mixture of awe, shock, and dismay, blooming on her face. 

"But what happened after that summer? When did you decide to move with me?"

Ann laughed and sat up, picking at slender blades of grass around them. 

"Well," She began, braiding the bits of grass in her hands.

"I thought my junior and senior years would be magical and free, because he was going to some faraway college. I would be able to take a long break from him and we'd meet again in two or three years and then maybe he would be matured and we'd have a great friendship. But apparently he didn't go to that faraway college, because my junior year came around and I still saw him coming in to pick up his siblings. It was extremely frustrating, wanting to talk to him but wanting to stay away until he came to that want to talk, himself. I didn't want to try and start anything if he wasn't ever going to be ready for friendship. 

"I'm the type of person to quite easily say I love someone, and actually mean it. I want to always be able to love. And I want to always show that love. You know that I'm a weirdly straightforward person, and the only thing that stops me from blurting out everything on my mind is the worry that I'll make the other person very uncomfortable. Every person I meet, every friend I make, every person I leave, I'm always going to love them in some way. I just find it easy to do. 

"Obviously there's some level of awkwardness if the other person doesn't understand who I am, and yet I start verbally throwing my love at them. I'm still confused as to why it's not something easily understood. But perhaps that's where humans are at, in this point in life. Perhaps we're all a little lost on the idea of love. For all I know I could be very confused as well. But I say 'I love you' to my friends and they don't push me away, so hopefully I'm going about it the right way. 

"I hope, that after spending the better part of six months just pondering this situation, I've fully realized that even the most difficult people in my life are being changed a little bit every day. And that I don't always have to be the one to reach out to them. There are always other people in the world that, like me, want to help their loved ones. And hopefully they're successful in even the hardest situations. I may have not been able to help him, but my friends have shown me all the ways I helped them, and I find myself becoming content with that. Most people don't have my way of loving, nor my way of thinking, and that's perfectly fine.

"Anyways, after little progress in whatever our relationship was, as soon as I graduated I asked my parents for a gap year to just work and earn enough money to move in with you. Every so often I'd wonder about his life, and hope that he was living the way he had hoped. Or that if he hadn't, he was getting there. This was the only way I could love him, really. Instead of just trying to fit our lives together like mismatched puzzle pieces, I chose to wish him the best in life, and then I left.

"I'm okay. And I think he's okay. And I do know, because of these past four years, that I am ever closer to finding the person I'm meant to be. "

Fin.

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