Second Best

Nobody likes losing.

In some cases losing might mean coming 50th in a race, in others it may mean coming second.

There are few things more important in life than love. Most of us have been there, most of us have felt it. The moment when you realise that you adore someone- that you would do anything for them and that you would rather be hurt than let them be hurt.

Seven billion people in this world. 7,000,000,000,000.

Imagine all of those people in a crowd. Your mind won’t even let you.

So when you fall for someone, and I mean truly fall for them- (I’m not talking about being 16 and thinking you love the acne covered guy who forks out on a Maccie Ds and a cinema ticket for you and takes every opportunity to practice his sloppy kissing with you when your parents aren’t in the room.)- it’s a BIG deal.

To discover that the feeling is reciprocated. That you make their heart skip a beat. That you are the person that they think about last thing at night. That they want to spend the rest of their lives with you. It is bloody amazing. You are onto a winner.

But, what about those people who are not. The people who are “losing”?

In many ways hearing that your feelings for someone are not mutual (although obviously painful) is one thing to endure. But, what if the person you like, likes you back? Perfect. But, what if- as much as they like you- they like somebody else, more?

It is this scenario that I am currently facing.

Daphne Du Maurier highlighted this in her novel “Rebecca”- how one woman felt that she was living in the shadow of her husband’s deceased former wife. She was torturing herself with the idea that she was second best.

This is not too disimilar from my reality.


I know that the subject of my attraction is fond of me. We flirt. We laugh. We enjoy one another’s company. But it’s torture. I have seen how he looks at me; how when I enter the room, he smiles. But- I have also seen how he looks at her; when she enters the room, his eyes light up.

I try to ignore it, boy, I do all I can to turn a blind eye.

I have spent hours studying her. I have tried to work out what she has that I simply do not. She is pretty but no prettier than I. She is clever but I am more so. She is witty but I know that I am too. I have been to hell and back scrutinising her and when I finally worked out what it was- I did not feel liberated.

She is enchanting. I have never heard her utter a bad word about a single soul. She has this way about her- I cannot describe- a sort of carelessness that I know I lack. A spark. It’s effortless.

I look at her and I know that I am second best; there is nothing that I can do about it.

I am consumed by these emotions for him. Constant butterflies in my stomach. An endless feeling of warmth inside. Song lyrics have newfound meanings. Sayings suddenly make sense. It is the most confusing uncontrollable feeling in the world- yet, it makes sense. It provides clarity to my life.

How am I feeling so much? How is my life focused on one single human being? How is all of this love wasted into a dark abyss because the feeling is not returned? I have nobody to open up these feelings to, to be flattered by mutual emotions. Do you know how hard, how soul destroying that is?

I know that I am not alone.

I am the homosexual man who is in love with his straight best friend.

I am the mistress who loves the married man but will never be chosen.

I am the woman who is cheated on by a partner for whom her feelings have never changed.

These obstacles are unconquerable- it’s torture to receive partial affection yet to know that you are not loved in the same way. What can be done about it? Nothing.

That is the saddest thing. The man I love has and sees the very best of me- and he doesn’t want it. How does that bode for the future? I’m good, damn good- just not good enough.

One thought on “Second Best

  1. Of course you’re good enough. And when you meet the one who’s heart you set on fire, who does the same for you, it will be even sweeter because of this.

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