Unrequited Love: Depressing, Interesting, and Strangely Appealing

Used To

I used to

laugh at your every joke,

sigh at every smile

you gave me,

record each possible flirt

in a diary

and create backups

and carbons

and hide CDs of the evidence in strategic points,

like under my pillow

so I could read them each night

and know,

rather, think,

that you really did have something for me.

Yes, I used to

fret over your casual text

that said:

Wednesday = kk w/me

and puzzle out the meaning of

can’t w8 2 c u 2 🙂

and analyzing their every letter right down to the font. And I used to

script my every phone call

and even the three-sentence emails

telling you that you forgot your hot, hot, hot wallet

and not mentioning that I hadn’t found a picture of me there


and by the way here’s a cute pic of me,

just in case

you’d happen to be

missing me.

Yes, I used to

feel my pulse accelerate

to 300 beats per minute

and start to feel dizzy and nervous

and like my feet were size fifteen

with my hair in a crimper


if I saw your face

a picture

a text from you

any mention of you

or anybody with your first name

or last name

or either first or last name that resembled


either of your names

or age

or address

or suit size.

I used to

dream of the day you’d propose

with a smile and the words

“Kathy, the day I met you…”

and open that ring box that contains

one fancy yellow 2-carat diamond,

and say those four magic words that make every girl’s heart stop

when they hear them


to yes, that girl:

“Will you marry me?”

Oh, I used to believe

that you loved me,

that I was the only one for you

and you were the only one for me,

that we’d be together and loving

for, well, ever.

How I used to believe

that in every one of your glances my way

there was love,

a way for us.

I used to…

I used to believe that we

would be something,

that we were something,

that we were more than just friends,

because it’s just so hard to tell

between a man and a woman

and it’s just so hard to find

that you were pouring mud down a bottomless pit

in the hopes that it would fill,

just so hard to find

that for all you’re giving

there’s nothing coming back.

And all that I did

turned into the imperfect tense

the moment I saw you with another woman,

the moment you said

she was your girlfriend.

I used to believe that wasn’t true.

I used to believe that there was a space


“girl” and “friend”,

that she wasn’t your girlfriend but a girl friend

like that which I turned out to be.

What small irony


And all those “do”s of mine

turned into the imperfect tense

and now a preterite, if you will:

My heart


My heart


you insensitive idiot,

and the worst part about it is

that there’s a piece unbroken

and that piece still loves you.

How could I have loved you,


how could I have used to love you?

Oh, the same way I used to have

a heart that was not broken.

I used to…

Unrequited love is interesting. Sure, it’s depressing and it kicks you real good and hard in the feels, but it’s a nice change from the “Happily ever after” advertised throughout the media and fairy tales. People should definitely know that real life is rarely “happily ever after” all the time. Otherwise? It wouldn’t be interesting, frankly, if you got everything you daydreamed of. Desire, and, unfortunately, some pain, are part of living and what fills your soul.

Enough of that philosophical stuff, though.

Take Eponine, for example, since she’s quite fresh in the world’s mind after Le Mis came through in glorious movie form. ‘Ponine is deeply in love with Marius, who’s passionately enthralled by Cosette, who loves him back. Typical love triangle, really. Anyway, Eponine hopes and hopes that that twerp Marius (no offense to any fans who would want to take offense of that for his sake) will at least recognize her love, although she is aware that it’s foolish to believe such a thing will come to pass. Then in the end…well, there are still some people out there who are unfamiliar with the story of Les Miserables, and though they really should see/read/listen to the recording of the original Broadway cast, it’s not any real interest of mine to spoil it. Fellow fans of the play, you know what I’m talking about, of course…

Returning to the original topic, unrequited love is sad and extremely painful for those on the outside. It’s my good fortune not to have experienced that. “They” (who’s they? No idea) say it’s best to write about what you know, but sometimes you have to write about things you don’t know. Then you fling yourself wholeheartedly into an imaginative daydream/reality experience of your character and struggle through to find what you’d do, then throw in the variables of your characters’…um, characteristics. You know, important character-building stuff like mental scarring, hopes, dreams, secret desires, etc. Such “experiences” make you more in tune with other people’s suffering so that you can cry at depressing musicals like Le Mis and feel proud of it. It makes you a better person.

Once more at the end of this extremely long post, unrequited love is interesting. But that’s what makes it the topic of so many poems and stories: it’s interesting. It’s different (ha-ha, a little irony there if you can spot it) from the “norm” (whoa, I’m using “quotation marks” a lot in this post) Here’s to hoping you don’t have to experience it!



One thought on “Unrequited Love: Depressing, Interesting, and Strangely Appealing

  1. I think what makes love lost so painful is that there is rarely that one element – that one smoking gun – that completely explains why the love was lost to begin with. There’s nothing to blame, and so a cycle of self-doubt emerges around it (and one that you captured beautifully in your poem!).


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