I never experienced the depth of closeness with another man that I had with Aidan. Lovers were never friends. When a breakup happened there was no friendship loss which meant I had minimized any emotional setback. It’s easy to walk out the door when you never let him get too close. Besides being petrified every moment of being exploited again I looked for cues that he didn’t care. Eventually I’d gather enough “evidence” to create a case to leave. My motivation was to avoid another Aidan situation which meant the cure was worse than the disease.
Aidan had seen me laugh, cry, be utterly weak, artificially strong, and utterly flawed. In all those moments of imperfection he was still there with me every day after school. We’d walk together to the train station because Aidan’s presence deterred the redneck classmates from hassling me. I never asked him to. He just started one day.
There is no doubt in my mind that Aidan genuinely cared for me. He made me feel safe and protected while simultaneously making it clear he would never love me back. Not the way he loved Isabella, Melanie, Jeannette, and so forth. I got a birthday card. Those ladies received gifts. Isabella and company were women. I was forever his girl.
So what was his betrayal? That is just it. Aidan didn’t betray me. He was an instrument of betrayal that I used to betray myself. Aidan is falsely accused. He always has been. Every man since has been innocent too. There are two dancers in a tango. I choose a dark tango laced with tragedy when its polar opposite was my other available option. Fear can only be attracted to its mirror. So too can love.
Only as I have gotten older and faced my self-vindictiveness, do I see that Aidan was blameless all along. He never promised me anything more than friends. I was the one who allowed my fear to hold me back from finding someone else who would have been a real boyfriend instead of a boy friend. Indulging in my fear I settled for crumbs and life can only give us what we are willing to receive. The only person I can rightfully blame is myself.
No one coerced me to remain in the forever friends category with Aidan. I chose to create an internal Berlin Wall between the left and right chambers of my heart. A split heart is one that beats with fear. Fear constricts and love can’t flow in and out freely. Courage resides in the heart. Had it possessed it, it would have sought its heart’s desires, and wrestled itself free of Aidan sooner. Why didn’t I have a High School or College sweetheart? I wouldn’t allow myself to have one.