I googled the meaning of the phrase “the one who got away” and it showed up many different definitions, one of which is “the person dated casually, but never seriously, who could have been more.”

I guess it describes us perfectly and I know how much you don’t want me to misunderstand what’s actually going on between us. There’s nothing really going on between us, I know, because in the end, you told me clearly, you don’t have any special feeling for me.

I have accepted it. I have already anticipated it from our first date, how it ended and how you followed it up the next day. I’m too smart to lie to myself and my intuition also warned me but I made a conscious choice to go ahead with it anyway.

And the reasons are all so classic me: I’m young, I’m dumb, I’m reckless, I’m all about feelings and above all, I had always had a crush on you for all this time. It means my stubborn mind had set on you the same way yours does not on me.

For you, the story of us probably started from the day I asked you out. But in reality, it dated back to last year when I saw you for the first time at a networking event. It was love at first sight for me. Well, maybe not love — I really don’t know anything about love but it was definitely something. I just got this strong feeling that, I need to find out who this guy is.

Every time I saw you around campus, my heart would skip a beat and I found myself doing silly things like a little girl in third grade. When we officially introduced ourselves to each other, it felt unreal. And that’s why when we finally dated, the deal had never been fair and I couldn’t treat you the same can’t-be-bothered way I treated other guys in my life.

I guess it explains why the ending was particularly hard on me, for how easy it was for you, or why I was having a hard time making sense of what I felt, whereas to you, it was probably just getting rid of an arrangement that’s no longer convenient.

It’s the problem with undefined, temporary relationships these days, isn’t it? All the feelings and memories held dear to me are unjustified because what we had was supposed to be only casual, hanging out, having fun, and so we are not supposed to care or feel. We are supposed to be chill and cool about it, and walk away with a smile on our face.

Ideally, I should have treated you conveniently like you did me and us. I should have just shrugged my shoulder and said nonchalantly, yea it was fun when looking back and that’s all. But I couldn’t really. I felt dumb and ashamed for caring and feeling. I felt dumb for treasuring every moment we had, or missing you, or thinking about you till now.

I couldn’t even write about you or tell you how I felt properly because my pride wouldn’t allow me to acknowledge your significance to me when you only regarded me as a friend, a girl you lusted and had fun times with. You see, this cognitive dissonance has been torturing me and keeping me from healing. Isn’t it silly?

I’m only 21. I’m too young. This is the time of my life that I need to stay true to myself because it’s the only way I could ever figure out how I truly feel, what I’m capable of, physically and emotionally, and ultimately find out who I really am. Meeting you and being honest about all this is all part of the process. There’s no point in hiding, lying, diminishing.

So, I’ll say it. I was happy being with you. Even when we did the most random, boring, stupid things, I had fun because it was with you. We were fully present and we treated each other fair when we were together and I love it a lot. When I came to give you back your book after our first break-off talk, I couldn’t go to you straight away because I wasn’t at all ready to let us go.

Unbeknownst to you, I hid myself between two bookshelves, far away from where you sat, walking back and forth nervously with messy thoughts in my mind. When I finally gathered all the courage and found you, at the first glimpse of you, it surprised me deeply that I could feel this instant joy flushing through me and thus I thought I was being in love with you.

Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn’t. But those feelings were real. So was the hurt you carelessly caused me several times. I was hurt when you didn’t listen to what I said. I was hurt when you never really asked anything about me. I was hurt when I proudly showed you my writing and you shamed it and turned away mindlessly. I was hurt when you never made effort to see me and it was nothing but convenience to you.

You hurt me because you never liked me the same way. But don’t worry. You’re off the hook, like you said and wished before. I forgive you and plan to let you go from my mind for good. It’s not like I want us to be anything differently, to be honest. I initially thought I let you go a month 14 days too late but I actually don’t really want to change anything at the moment. I just want to be real to you and myself.

Will you forget about me? Did I ever mean anything to you? Did you ever think about me dearly? Did I leave any remark on you? Did you find the way I smiled at you when you opened your eyes and turned to me sweet and adorable?

I don’t know, will probably never know and I’m okay with it. I’m also okay with us never amounting to anything, with missing you now and then, or even crying a little thinking about the moment I thought I was in love — it was beautiful to me.

But hey, it’ll be alright. I’m a real girl, I’m human, I have feelings, I remember things, I miss people and it’s just who I’m and I embrace it. Because, seriously, how often do you meet someone and they have sincere feelings for you? Exactly.

Though, don’t you try to ask me how I feel about you now, or even a year later, because I really don’t know. My feelings are the weirdest thing I have encountered. They are powerful and unpredictable. They don’t listen to me. They are their own boss. They just do what they want. So I will just let them be and keep going forward.

By the way, if you ever stumble upon these words, I’ll tell you something. On the book I gave you back — well, if you still have it, I wrote something in the middle of it. I bet it will make you smile. I love it when you smile. Your smile is beautiful.