Before you respond to that message from that dating site, wait! What if you knew what was going to happen? I will tell you what will happen. And you will see if you still wish to answer that email.
You will meet.
You will think you could maybe fall in love with someone who treats you so wonderfully. You've maybe never felt special your whole life and so it will be intoxicating to be paid this kind of attention.
He will text "good morning" and "hi" all day long. He will take you on fancy dates where you get to wear pretty dresses. He will write on his dating profile that he has decided to focus on you. You will follow suit by turning away another potential romance. You will wonder about the person that might have been. You will tell him this and he will be hurt. The other guy will be hurt too. You will feel shitty and not know how to soothe either one but in the end, even though Mr. Wonderful will emphasize that you two are not exclusive, you will decide to act like it and focus on him. You are drunk with his scent.
You will have important conversations about values and spend a weekend away and wonder, would daily life with this person feel this easy? You'll note with approval that he neatly stores his shoes in the corner and that not only do you have similar sleeping schedules, but he doesn't snore.You will feel peaceful lying next to him.
You will ignore important signs like how he won't always hold you afterwards because he at least invited you to lie on his chest even when he will not clasp you close. You will look kindly at his wounded heart and tend to it because that's your nature. You will excuse the distance. He will thank you for being gentle. This will make you feel appreciated, as will the sporadic moments he overflows with affection. You will drink those in and send gushing emails to your best friend.
You will make him breakfast. He will love it. He will decide you're an amazing cook. You will start looking for recipes.
Then he will shift. He will visit his family and stop texting. You will wonder if he's thinking of that other girl that lives in that state. Or if he had a heart-to-heart talk with family or friends. Maybe they said, "What are you doing? Give yourself time, bro!" and maybe they were right. Or maybe he had a revelation mid-flight that suddenly made him realize you were all wrong. Maybe he looked around and saw that you would never fit into his life. That you were only part of the transition. A nice part, maybe, but a temporary part.
You won't understand the shift, but you'll notice it. You will grant him space, at first. You will feel sad and search thoughtfully for quotes, like you often do when melancholy, and will copy one carefully into your diary:
“The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own.”
You will look at it a while before crumpling it up and throwing it away.
You will wonder about the shift but you will excuse it. He's really busy, after all. You will want to believe there's a good reason he hasn't contacted you. Then you will unexpectedly notice he can't be too busy because he's farting around online. The implication will sting. It will be the first time he hasn't reached out to you at all.
He's just not thinking of you.
You will struggle with the mixed messages. You toy with the idea of saying nothing but then you decide to approach this head on with honesty. Your dad, your role model, has done this his whole life with good results.
You will think hard about what to say.
After a long time, although you won't really want to do this, you initiate a break.
You and he will talk, but it cannot resolve until you talk in person. Later, when you do talk, he will confess to being relieved. But that night, you will carry on evening plans with a heavy heart.
Your girlfriend will pick you up and you will provide an update.
She will ask you if you've ever read "He's just not that into you."
Your heart will grow heavier because you recognize the truth.
You will arrive at the barbecue. You will laugh with friends on the outside while feeling weighted on the inside. All you really want is to go home and cry. It's over and the reason is that you weren't enough. You won't know what enough is, but you will know you weren't it. You console yourself with an ear of corn and a lively discussion of art and expensive pocketbooks. Your friends will hug you and you will cling a moment longer than usual, absorbing their camraderie and silently thanking them for loving you even if no one else does. You will decide that you are the richest poor motherfucker on the planet; unloved and undesirable as you are, you have these awesome friends who seem to like you anyway.
Later in the privacy of your own home, you will mourn the loss of another dream. You should know better than to dream anymore. You will try to cry yourself to sleep but you will be too sad to sleep. At 1:30am, you will exit your apartment in running shoes with a streaked face and wild hair and run down the street until you can't run anymore. You will walk back, soaked in sweat, taking in the sweet honeysuckle air in large gasps.
You will feel a sense of gratitude that you are alive even if your tiny life has been frought with so much pain. You will still think it is beautiful. And you won't regret a thing.
Actually that is a lie. Maybe you will regret many things but oh those shards of glass you've swallowed throughout life, each one was so beautiful and shimmery and reflected such promise along those sharp edges.