I never considered myself a writer. I don’t know if I have what it takes to write a novel. But I like the story. So I’ll make my own story. One small story at a time. This should be the first…
We met when I was 17. She was beautiful and I was cocky. She came for the Summer at the beach and I was lucky to help her find her way to her cousin. We spent the whole day talking and laughing. I think I never enjoyed the company of a girl more than I enjoyed hers.
For the next week we met a couple of times. We would go to the beach, go for long walks at night with our feet in the water. I don’t know what it was, but I never had a connection like this with anyone before. All I wanted was to be in her company. To see her smile, to hear her laugh.
On her last night in town she went to a party with her cousin and it wasn’t long before she called me if I wanted to join them. We danced the whole night so close I felt her breath against my lips. I wanted to kiss her, but I was afraid. Afraid that she wouldn’t kiss me back and she would reject me. Afraid that she would never want to see me again. And so I let the night pass.
The next day she went back home and I had no idea if I would see her again. Because I was afraid, I would always wonder “what if”.
But as fate would have it, we met again. She came to college in my city. For a while we met almost everyday. I was her only friend, but she was my best friend. I forgot that I wanted to kiss her that night. I was just happy that she was in my life. But as time passed, we grew apart. She made other friends. She had no time for me. I was sad, but I didn’t want to force anything upon her.
Time passed and I fell in love. This girl was amazing. She was pretty and smart. I think that was why I loved her. I never met anyone quite like her. We dated for a while and I completely forgot about my friend. But if life has ever taught me something is that nothing lasts forever. I didn’t want to see the signs, but before I knew it she dumped me for some guy 10 years older than me and with a Mercedes. And so, I was broken-hearted and alone. And so, in my loneliness she called me.
She asked to meet for coffee. When we met she apologized for being so distant. That she fell in love with a guy from school and she didn’t make time to see me. That all her friends from school were all about themselves and never cared for her. It was such a sad, beautiful picture with us. Two friends, both of us with hearts broken, who found each other again.
For the next couple of months we spent a lot of time together. It’s like we were this perfect couple. We completed each other in an almost poetic manner.
One day my brother came to me and told me what an idiot I was. That I had the perfect girl by my side and I didn’t realize it. He told me we were perfect together. And by the look in her eyes, she cared for me more than she let it show. Soon, all our friends told me the same thing. That we were perfect. And in my heart, I knew it was true. Everyone saw it, including myself. But she didn’t.
Then I was the one who grew a little bit apart from her. For the last couple of months I ruined all my chances of a relationship because of her. I didn’t do it on purpose, but no other girl compared to her. I didn’t want no one else. Only her.
But she never saw me. I was only her friend. The one who was always there for her, day and night. For the next years we remained the same amazing friends. But nothing more. Girls came and left my life, but I could never let her go. She was the one constant in my life.
She dated different guys, but none of them was good enough for her. No one to really appreciate what an amazing woman she was. But one day she met an Italian who was a doctor working a year in my city. I actually met him and he seemed like a really nice guy; he looked at her the same way I looked at her.
After a while, they got into a fight and she wanted to break up with him. And I did what I never thought I would be capable. I did my best to make sure they got back together. I knew he loved her and she deserved the best. It was painful for me, but I knew she was happy with him. So when they got back together I was almost happy for her. When they moved in together I was sad. When they got engaged, I cried.
At this point in my life, I knew I had to move on. I was lucky enough to meet an amazing girl and it was almost perfect. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what I needed. But still, it cut me like a knife when I received a letter from Italy. It was a wedding invitation.
I went to Italy with my new girlfriend. The wedding was in a small town near Naples, called Sorrento. It was the type of Italian town that you saw in the movies. It looked like heaven, but somehow it felt as hell.
In that moment I hated myself so much. I hated that I never had the courage to tell her how I felt. That I was so afraid of being rejected. My fear destroyed my chance of being happy with her.
And in that moment, in the church where they said their vows, I stood still. I didn’t have the courage to tell her how I felt. After all these years, I was still afraid. I knew I would always be haunted by this “what if”.
Years passed and I married my girlfriend. She was also at my wedding and she looked so happy. As much as I wanted to be with her, I knew I had made the right choice. And I was also happy. I married an amazing girl, who loved me with all her heart. And I loved her.
My life was happy. My marriage was amazing and soon I had my first born, a beautiful baby girl. So when I got a phone call from Italy the next day, I expected to hear a very warm “congratulations”. But that didn’t happen.
The second day after the best thing that ever happened to me, the worst thing happened.
Her husband called, telling me that she died in a car crash. I broke down. How can life be so cruel? How can life give me a daughter, but take her away? I went to her funeral alone and I cried my heart out. Her husband was also there, but in much more pain that I was. We bonded over our pain, but I never let him know how I truly felt about her. There was no point in bringing that up.
After I got back home, I did my best to move on. But she would always be a part of me. To honor her memory, I named my daughter after her.
I had a beautiful life. I knew love, friendship and saw the world. I knew pain, I had my heart broken. I lived. But even in my twilight, there was this thought in my head of regret. What would my life have been like if I had had courage? How would it turn out? No matter what, until my last breath, I will always be hunted by this “what if”.