This afternoon, someone I used to care very deeply for got married to his girlfriend of five years.
There was a time, about nine years ago now, when we were very good friends, and I cherished some hope of eventually being more than that, even as I berated myself for that hope. He's tall and slender and looks a bit like Orlando Bloom; as much as I'm still trying to convince myself that I'm actually not completely unattractive, I was even more convinced back then that I was absolutely grotesquely ugly and that nobody could ever be attracted to me, especially since we'd gotten to a point in my first-year Psych class where we were learning about attraction and love, including a statistic that stated that people tended to date and marry people who were about as attractive as they were themselves. (You can probably guess my immediate reaction to that little tidbit.) Besides, at the time there was another female piper in the band; the two of us looked enough alike that strangers would often mistake us for sisters. He called her hideous at least once in my hearing (though she herself was nowhere near at the time), and because she and I so closely resembled each other, I figured that he probably thought the same about me.
Yeah, I know. Not a great moment for either of us, I think.
Somewhat ironically, I learned years later that he'd actually had a terrible crush on me at the time but, because I'm not at all a flirty person, he thought that the feelings were totally unrequited. And even though I became a bit more confident in my own skin over the next few years, and despite the fact that we always seemed to default to an attraction to each other when he wasn't seeing anyone else and I wasn't falling for someone else, nothing ever came of it. I suspect that our involvement in my old pipe and drum band might have been a factor; by that time we'd seen the trouble that could happen when couples who both played in a band broke up. In any case, nothing significant ever happened (a bit of flirting here and there, and once in awhile we'd hug or he'd put his arm around me) and eventually we drifted apart when my depression and an injury to my hands made it impossible for me to continue with the pipe band.
I have to admit that in the past, I have sometimes wondered what might have happened if I hadn't been so dense, and/or he had actually told me in terms that I couldn't possibly misunderstand that he actually was attracted to me. I've felt a little wistful; tactless remarks about the physical appeal of the pipe band's other girl quite aside, he's a very kind and loving person in general, and for the time that we were friends, I treasured his friendship. But perhaps it's better this way. On reflection, we'd probably have been good for each other for awhile, but because of some of the more difficult things that were still ahead of me at that time, I suspect that it might have ended badly. My depression, illness (I developed bronchitis in late 2007, and it was nearly 2009 by the time I had fully recovered), hand injury, and persistent unemployment, added to the fact that I was trying to support my mother through her own depression and consequently overlooked my own mental and physical health, would all have taken their toll and I shudder to think of what they would have done to any relationship we might have had.
Regardless of what did or didn't happen, though, I am truly happy for my former friend and his wife. As long as I can remember seeing the two of them together, they seemed to have built up a good relationship; they were friends first, years before they started dating, and there's a genuine respect for each other that I think bodes well for their future. When I heard, a few months ago, that they were getting married (my dad is good friends with his dad), I couldn't keep the smile off my face; I'd seen this coming years ago, and I was glad for them. They have always been good for each other, and I have hope that they will continue to be so.
May their life together be blessed.