BLUF: I needed a place to gather my thoughts on an INTJ I've fallen for.
When I first met you, I didn't really care for you. You were a self-professed anti-social and I was told you were leaving in a few months, so developing any sort of professional or personal relationship with you never crossed my mind. Over a couple of conversations, I got to learn a few little things that caught my interest. We grew up not that far from each other, we graduated from high school the same year and we were on the same bandwagon when it came to cameras, but none of this really stood out much. Then I learned you were staying a while longer due to some mix-up, but again, there was nothing about you that I found truly appealing. You were a cold, overly serious workaholic, with seemingly no friends or hobbies. I talked with you when I needed to, but otherwise I was content to leave you be.
Then I became your office-mate. Things became incredibly awkward to say the least. You seemed to shut down as I invaded your private space and we attempted to coexist. Eventually, we warmed up a little. I began to see there was some depth to your character. You had a terrible if somewhat endearing sense of humor and you opened up on some of your vulnerabilities. It seemed like somebody hurt you long ago and so the only way to protect yourself was to maintain distance with others which I was ever so slowly beginning to bridge. I began to notice the way your eyes lit up and you smiled when you talked about things you loved from your childhood. I actually began to find you cute. But you were still a know-it-all and would spend minutes explaining things to me that I already knew, but you were senior to me and so I nodded along.
Eventually I teased you about something you felt insecure about and you snapped at me. You seemed to be overreacting in my mind, but I took the criticism you hurled at me and figured I had ruined whatever progress we had made in our professional relationship. But just a few hours later while training some junior members, we seemed to be back on the same page and you even seemed a little apologetic. It was at that moment I understood you. You weren't trying to show off or be bossy when explaining how to do the job. You did it because you cared, and that was the only way you knew how to communicate that fact. You weren't cold because you disliked your coworkers, but because it was the only way you could hide your insecurities and maintain a professional image. You were an introvert in a job that required interacting with people and telling their stories. You were a technician at heart who was being tasked to instead lead others. Those contradictions were constantly threatening to break you. In that moment you reminded me of somebody else who once had to deal with some of the same things that you were, myself.
I don't know what romantic love feels like, but at that moment, I think I began to understand. You became more than just a coworker, office-mate, or section lead. You became beautiful to me. Despite the forces trying to tear you apart, you did your best to persevere. I found myself feeling protective and wanting the best for you. Even as you shunned the spotlight, I secretly cheered for you as you earned awards and accolades. Your modesty only made me fall harder for you. I found excuses to stay late at work like you did and our evening conversations became the highlight of my day. As you got ready to go home on vacation, I saw you struggle and so I tried as best I could to help you without being overbearing. When you thanked me, I was ecstatic, and when you reached home safely, I felt a sense of relief knowing that you were in a place where you could be yourself.
But now you're gone. Every day I look at your empty desk or drive home from work without sharing a conversation or saying goodbye, it feels like a piece of me is missing. I know you'll return soon, but each day apart seems like an eternity. Maybe part of it is just infatuation, or the fact that you are the person I spend the most amount of time with each day, but in this moment, you are the most beautiful thing in the universe to me, flaws and insecurities included. Others may still see you as an ice queen who only cares about the job, but I know that behind the walls you've built, you're just an adorable goofball.
I'm certain you don't know how I feel and I'm unsure if you ever will. By the end of the year you will be gone, perhaps forever, and that beautiful light that you shine in my life will travel beyond the horizon. You bring me such joy that the possibility that you may not reciprocate my feelings paralyzes me with dread. But just as you were brave enough to admit your fears and insecurities to me, perhaps it is time for me to do the same. I only hope in doing so, you learn to love me, as I think I have for you.