I wasn't looking for this. I never meant for this to happen. But then again, who falls into unrequited love on purpose? We tend to stumble on it when our minds are turned elsewhere and we least expect love. This is what happened to me.

My story was dependent on so many little things, any of which could have happened differently and kept me safe--or perhaps forever ignorant of the treasure I'd missed.

If I hadn't decided to help clean up your house last summer. If I hadn't decided to start judo this semester. If I hadn't decided to sleep in that day and skip my first class. If I hadn't gone to the coop office before going to the bank. If any of these things had happened, the last month of my life would have been very different.

We shared a month of late-night conversations, movie-watching, and fleeting physical closeness. You tell me from the start that you are not looking for a relationship, and that we will not be exclusive. As the days pass and we talk more, I soon understand why: you are still very much in love with your last girlfriend. You speak more and more about reconnecting with her, and I see the end of our fling approaching even as my feelings for you grow. But I do not shy away--I belong to the "better to have loved and lost" school of thought, so I rationally, methodically, recklessly allow myself to fall for you.

You text message like a fiend, and I find myself texting for the first time in my life. In turn, I convince you to use email for communication. We hang out at potlucks and art museums and coop parties. You teach me jiu-jitsu grappling techniques, and we roll together in the Trellis living room. Over the course of four weeks, I watch more movies with you than I have in the past four years. We share ramen and spicy pad thai takeout while sitting on your bed, laughing at cheesy chick flicks and martial arts films. Used to sleeping by myself, I learn how to fall asleep next to your warmth. We wake up in the middle of the night and have conversations about social rituals, gender roles, our past relationships, and the meaning of life. We share soft touches and passionate kisses, these bittersweet moments made unreal by the moonlight shining through your window.

You are so beautiful, inside and out. You accept me as I am--over the course of many long conversations, it seems that nothing I reveal, no matter how embarrassing, can change your acceptance. It doesn't faze you that I have little experience with physical intimacy, and you are careful not to push my boundaries. You teach me how little gestures can show so much affection. You show me that I am not the only one who feels like a social misfit. You are a true friend to me in so many ways.

I know from the start that I will come to love you as more than a friend. I know that I will get hurt, but I am an adult and I can make this choice. There is no joy without pain, I tell you.

I regret nothing.

I was just a supporting character in your fairy tale, but I consider myself blessed to have played a role at all. Thank you for making me feel more alive than I have in a long time.

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