I’m sitting in my room doing my homework when all of the sudden, I hear a familiar ding. My phone and my eyes light up. There are butterflies in my stomach. My heart flutters, and I open it immediately.
Falling in love is so interesting. In the movies, they always talk about this concept of “love at first sight.” The moment you see the one, you know, and that feeling remains steadfast.
I think love comes at a second glance though. Love isn’t having the same music taste or thinking she’s the most beautiful person in the world. Love is her laugh when she tells you about the wonderful day she had. Love is her eyes in the sun and her hair in the rain. Love is waking up every day and wanting to be a better person — for you and for her.
In the movies, the end of a relationship is so clear-cut. Some grand event makes the couple realize that they were wrong about their original feelings, and they split for good.
However, much like falling in love, falling out can be just as gradual, caused by the smallest of things. I can’t identify any single moment when I knew for sure.
It wasn’t when I caught her going through my phone; she may have invaded my privacy and broken my trust, but she told me that it shouldn’t matter if I had nothing to hide.
It wasn’t when she told me that she was switching out of her psychology major because dealing with me made her realize that she didn’t want to be a therapist.
It wasn’t when she would raise her voice at me and make me feel like less than nothing, only to then text me later that night: “I’m sorry for yelling at you. I love you.”
While I’m not sure when I fell out of love, I remember when I realized it had happened already. She was telling me that she was having a bad day, so I was trying to be there for her as best as I could. Our conversation went something like this.
“I’m sorry you aren’t feeling good. Anything I can do to help?”
“I don’t want to talk right now, Kino”
“OK. I’ll leave you alone for a bit.”
“That’s the exact opposite of what I want.”
She took the words right out of my mouth. I had fallen out of love but was too scared to accept it; I didn’t want to talk to her, but I didn’t want to be alone.
For so long, my name was lumped with hers. For so long, she was the only person I talked to.
I’m sitting in my room doing my homework. All of the sudden, I hear a familiar ding. My phone lights up. My stomach is turning. My heart stops. I don’t open it.
This wasn’t just falling out of love; I was slowly realizing that this person who was supposed to love me was mistreating me. I used to make so many excuses to see her, but now I would make any excuse to not see her.
This is why I fell out of love.
Every conversation became a confrontation. Nothing I ever did was right. I didn’t get her the right vinyl for her birthday, so I must have barely known her. I’d screenshotted all of her favorite Spotify scan codes and put them on polaroids to put on her wall. They weren’t centered well, so I should’ve tried harder or not at all.
We spend so much time trying to get the person we want that we forget to love the person we have. She spent so much time trying to craft a Kino who didn’t exist — one who makes no mistakes and can read minds — that she ended up hurting the Kino she had. Rather than accepting one another’s flaws, we honed in on them, attempting to “fix” one at the expense of the other’s feelings.
Much like how our relationship was built on these small but beautiful moments, it was broken down in a similar fashion: one small mistake at a time.
Sometimes we forget that, when we love somebody, we need to love them in the moment, imperfections and all. That’s what makes falling out of love so interesting.
Once our relationship finally ended, I was stuck for a long time. I was scared to be hurt again. I started to close my eyes to the idea of any relationship, platonic or romantic. I had internalized all of the horrible things she said about me and assumed that everybody else felt the same.
I’ve been slowly, but surely, getting out of this mindset. I’m still scared to be hurt again, but I can’t let myself be alone, unhappy and insecure out of fear. I finally accepted that our names aren’t lumped together anymore.
I’m ready to be just Kino.