Those words said separately in any other scenario wouldn’t have carried all that much weight. Together they created a weapon formed of hurtful syllables. Even though I was quite used to riding my rollercoaster life of emotional ups and downs, I wasn’t prepared to protect myself against a statement such as that at this very moment.
Although I tried my best to conceal my disappointment and obvious hurt, I couldn’t control the speed at which my lungs were consuming and spitting out air. If we were speaking over the phone, it might have sounded as if I was hyperventilating to her. The perspiration pouring out of my head was no longer from the basketball game. It was like every bad moment from the last time all came rushing back at the exact same moment. It was nearly unbearable. Yes, unbearable, but I forced myself to at least seem as if I was remaining calm. I had to. I couldn’t let Shea know that this was affecting me in such a drastic way. It not only screamed out “over-reactor” but probably “weirdo” as well. I might as well write “Don’t Date Me” in bold black letters across my forehead.
I finally got my breathing back under control and wiped my face free of my nervous sweat. Quite afraid to ask her anything else and frankly not knowing what else to ask, I hesitantly typed:
The poor excuse for a question came out nearly as a whisper in my head. I quietly and reluctantly waited for her reply.
Yes, he did. I’m still quite shocked about it. I, really don’t know what to say about it.
Me: Well, how did it happen?
Shea: Hold on, I’m gonna call you.
I was glad and unwilling at the same time to talk to her. It was one of those situations and discussions that you should have at least an actual verbal discussion as opposed to texting back and forth but I was also afraid to speak to her for fear of spinning out of control again and having her hear it in my voice. But all in all, I was excited at the thought of hearing her voice again. I hadn’t heard it since last night after we kissed. That’s right, we had kissed the night before. But now, the last set of lips to touch hers no longer belonged to me. They were owned by someone who was obviously going to do anything he had to do to get her back.
Again, I hadn’t been in many fights in my life but when something that I held very dear to me was threatened, it became a second nature not to let it go. Had Shea become that important to me? Had she already captured a part of me that I was trying so hard to protect against this happening to? I wasn’t sure. I just didn’t know. But the sheer fact that I was even having these thoughts about her said a lot about the impression that she had left. Apparently she left a pretty lasting one without me even realizing it.
I stared at my phone until it rang with her number and I answered:
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” she replied back. She answered so softly and so quietly, you could hear the remorse and regret in her voice. I hadn’t wished that she feel bad about the situation but I admit it was reassuring and a little comforting that she did.
“So, what’s up?” I asked.
“Um. I don’t know what happened Patrick. It’s all just kind of a blur. Even though it only happened today, I can’t explain how or why it did,” she said. Her voice was beginning to tremble a little. I could tell it was really bothering her to talk about it. Even though I was curious as to how this kiss came to be, I decided I wouldn’t push her to tell me.
“If you don’t want to talk about it, I understand. You don’t have to. It’s ok,” I assured her.
“No, I haven’t told you any real details about our relationship and I really appreciate you not prying. I need to tell you about this, especially after the wonderful time you gave me last night”, she said. “I’ll tell you”
“Oh, ok,” I answered.
“I went to the record store to just look around, I was bored and didn’t want to keep bothering you so I drove there. I ran into Xander, or he followed me, I don’t know really. Needless to say, he was there. At first, I tried to give him my usual cold shoulder but he seemed different. The way he said “Hi” was different. He almost seemed normal, like he was sad about something. He has done this routine before so it didn’t phase me. But he didn’t try to keep me from walking away. He just said he was sorry about everything and that he really wasn’t following me. He apologized for the grocery store, both times. Then he said although he knew that I didn’t want to see him, it was nice to have bumped into me again. Then he began to walk away”, she explained.
As she told the story, her voice remained at a steady sad tone. When she got to this break in the tale, it almost sounded as if she was forcing back tears.
As painful as this was to hear, I figured I should keep my cool and be the bigger person by not getting upset and saying something that I know that I would regret immediately. Calmly, I suggested:
“Perhaps (cleared my throat)…well perhaps you still have feelings for him,” I responded. I didn’t want to say that. I mean I really, really didn’t want to say that. But it seemed obvious. She would have pulled away if she didn’t want to kiss him. Apparently the situation was pretty heavy. It clearly contributed to it. What else was I supposed to say? It was a touchy subject.
“At first I thought that I might, but then I figured maybe it was because I was sad and felt sorry for him because of his aunt. Maybe it was a combination of everything. We did have some very good times. But the bad times ruled out all of the times that I did enjoy with him. I don’t know why I let it happen but I do know that I shouldn’t have,” she responded.
“So, what happened after the kiss, did you guys say anything to one another?” I asked.
“Nothing much, he apologized for kissing me, stared at me a little and then left. I immediately left the store and texted you,” she answered.
“Oh, ok,” I said. I not only didn’t know what to say but I didn’t want to say anything at all as well. There really wasn’t much from my side of the situation that I could say.
“Patrick, I feel as if I should apologize to you. I know we haven’t actually discussed “us” yet but last night truly was wonderful and I can’t stop thinking about it or you. I’m not quite sure if I’m completely ready for another relationship just yet but I also wouldn’t want to lose a person such as you in my life,” she said.
Well there it is, isn’t it? She called me a “person”. There’s nothing wrong with being a person, but with her, I wanted to be more than just a person. It’s the same as being just a friend. Instead of the friend zone, I’ve been placed in the “person zone”. Changing the title doesn’t change what it is and what it’s meant for. Bottom line, I’m not relationship material for her. Not yet anyway.
“Oh, well, you don’t have to apologize to me. You’re right, we haven’t discussed anything as far as “we” go and I have to respect any decision you may make. It is your life, not mine and you can obviously do whatever you want. I know you don’t need me to tell you that, but it is the truth and I can live with that. I actually have no choice other than to live with that,” I said.
“You’re right, I can make any decision I want but the decision that I made to not continue a relationship with Xander still stands and although I don’t know whether or not I’m ready for a new one, I do know it won’t be with him,” she explained. “It wasn’t a healthy situation to be in and I’m much happier now that I’m free of it. Apparently there are still some type of feelings there for him, you may be right about that, but they aren’t loving ones”
“You sound as if you think I want to try to find it somewhere else,” she said.
“That makes sense and I can’t be upset at that. My heart and emotions are not the strongest they’ve been right now either so we are on similar plateaus I guess,” I said.
“It would seem that we are,” she responded.
We talked a little while more and then said our good-byes. I started my car and drove home with a head filled with thoughts. Recounts of our conversation, jumbled emotions and a love sick heart. I guess that was the best way to put it, I was love sick. I yearned for love. I craved to be with someone but not just anyone, her.
I think we matched pretty well and got along on another kind of level. I wanted so bad to tell her that I would take care of her. Not in the way of compromising her independence or wanting her to sacrifice parts of her life to be a part of mine. But take care of her in the way of she wouldn’t ever have to worry about me hurting her.
I know everyone makes mistakes, people get mad at each other and fight and quarrel and stuff like that but I wouldn’t break her heart, ever. I was absolutely sure that she was someone I was positively incapable of hurting, on purpose anyway.
I would never cheat on her, I would never lie to her, I would never do anything that would bring her pain. She seemed like she had already dealt with enough of that in her life and didn’t need any more. I wanted to be the one to make her happy. But I didn’t want to be the “nice guy” that came along after a horrible experience just to make her feel better. I wanted to be “the guy”. The one that she knows she can confide in. The one she knows that she can call on anytime for whatever reason and he’ll be there. If I’m not there, I would have a really, really good reason. I wanted to tell her that I wanted to be that guy for her. Because of her. But, once again, too early in our “thing” to make that sort of declaration of love.
Yeah, I’m a great guy. Just a great guy. Nothing more, but thankfully I suppose, nothing less.
Np, ne time, and thx btw. G’night to u too.
I restrained myself from saying so much more once again. “Just let it go and see what happens” is what I kept telling myself. Tomorrow brings new possibilities and hopefully new realizations is what I thought as I drifted off to sleep. I know, lovesick.
To be continued…