No, this time there was only silence.
The aftermath was like a tranquil water. Two sailboats drifting away from one another, their paths having crossed for a brief, unplanned and undefined distance, seemingly never destined to align.
And that was okay.
Sometimes, that's just the way it goes. Not all people are meant to be permanent fixtures in our lives, regardless of how good the memories created together are.
The challenge comes not in them leaving, but in learning to not be defeated because of it.
It takes courage to put yourself out there, I believe. To hold your hands up and say, 'Well, this is me. This is what I have to offer. Is that good enough?'
The reason it's so difficult is obvious. What if they say no? What if this person/company/university doesn't want what I have to offer? What if they decide to choose someone else; a better fit? What will I do then?
Often, it can seem a hell of a lot easier to shut yourself off from the world. To live inside a box, creating a safe space for yourself; barriers up at all times never letting anyone in. If you never chase who or what you want, you can never be rejected.
I've often found, especially when it comes to romantic scenarios, that it can seem sensible to adapt this method of pushing people away, with the mindset of 'If I do this, they can't hurt me in the future. I won't allow myself to be weak in front of them in order to protect myself' governing and controlling every action. But, what I've come to learn is that this mindset isn't what we wish it to be. Instead, it's a 'defence' mechanism that actually ends up doing most of the damage it's supposedly protecting us from. By pushing people away, we segregate ourselves. I won't pretend I'm old and wise in this department and claim that for many years I acted wrongly and now know the exact way to go about relationships and love with a 100% success rate. Hell no.
But, what I have learnt in the past year is that opening up to situations rather than shying away is so much better in the long run.
By granting yourself permission to unapologetically enjoy somebody's company, you suddenly open yourself up to a whole realm of emotions, experiences and moments that you'd been missing out on before.
By allowing yourself to laugh uncontrollably in front of someone no matter how many times it means you snort and/or choke, you'll cry tears of happiness more frequently than for any other reason.
By being yourself and not this air of cool, calm and collected you've been striving to maintain, you make yourself vulnerable but in my opinion, it's a risk worth taking.
Sure, it could end badly. This person could end up walking out of your life without a single word of explanation, the job you finally got could may well be the real life representation of your worst nightmare, but it'll be okay. A better person or opportunity can and will come along eventually.
People who allow themselves to be vulnerable are arguably the strongest. Why is it considered admirable or brave to say how you feel? To be yourself? To go after what you believe will make you happy? Surely we long for somebody to fall for the person we are, or to employ us based upon our true skills, not a facade we hide behind? The sooner the mask is removed, the sooner rewards can be reaped.
It's a risky game. You can and will get hurt. People will lie, cheat, and leave. You will fall for the wrong person countless times. You will work innumerable hours for horrid companies. But, I firmly believe, when it ends up being right, it'll be the best thing ever. And the only way to get there is to continue to put yourself out there no matter how many times you get knocked back.
And it is that belief that is keeping me motivated recently.