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The Seven-Year Itch [warning- long]

posted 7/12/2009 5:46:56 AM |
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(or When Harry Met Sally: The Real Version)

Prepare to be shocked. Mortified. Perhaps even disgusted.

Evil D has a crush. Like an actual shy, butterflies-in-stomach schoolboy crush. The depraved, cynical, womanizing pervert who just posted a blog last week about hate-fucking his ex behind her boyfriend's back has met a girl who makes his hands all sweaty and his vision fuzzy when she's near.

Actually, I should clarify. We didn't just meet. I've actually known her since about sophomore year in high school. She was my first real crush. And for seven years, I've been adrift in the dreaded "friendzone". I've never had the nerve to tell her how I felt. Partially because she's one of my best friends. It's the old cliche- I'm afraid that if she doesn't feel the same way, it will fuck up the friendship.

We were good friends throughout a good-sized chunk of high school. We got into much deeper conversations than I can recall with anyone else at that age. We had lots of inside jokes. But we were also busy, and she was having some issues with her (borderline abusively) controlling religious family. We were both black sheep in our own homes, but I found getting away a lot easier than she did. Sometimes she disappeared on me for months at a time. But when we did hang out we ate up every minute together.

We hadn't seen each other in probably 3-4 months when, still obsessed with her as ever, I worked up the nerve to call her (we didn't have cell phones- I called her house and asked her mother to put her on the phone! ) to ask her to my school's winter formal. She said yes. Before hanging up, she asked, "Just as friends, right?"

"Ouch! Of course not! I want to get in your pants," I thought to myself. "Yeah, of course," I said out loud. At least that's what I remember which one I thought and which one I said out loud. May have been vice-versa. I was seventeen.

We had a great time at the dance. While slow-dancing, we were gazing at one another (I was pretty good at keeping eyes up while dancing for a kid my age- when I tried). Out of nowhere, she blurted, "we are just friends, right?"

"Yeah, why?" I said out loud.
"I dunno. Just wondering, I guess"
"Well, I am open to suggestion if you want to change my mind," I should have said, but didn't have the balls.

Less than a month later, the Saturday before Valentine's Day, I went skiing with three friends. Remember, I didn't have a cell phone. We had a great time. I got home about 10:00 PM. My mom told me that she had called the house early that afternoon. When you're 17 and have a crush and you're land-line-dependent, every missed call is like a failure as a lover. It turned out, she wanted me to go with her to the Valentine's dance at her school. She ended up going alone. I can't imagine how she felt- had she been to nervous to call be before the day of? Was I like number 50 on her list of guys to take and 1-49 had said no? Was she waiting for someone else to ask her?

After that, I didn't see her much for close to a year. The next time I saw her, it was at a Thanksgiving party while I was home from Cali. She was in the application process to start at Ohio State in the spring. I suddenly had a serious girlfriend with whom I was madly in love and was moving to California to be with me. Surprise! I probably hadn't given her that much serious thought in some time because I was still in the honeymoon period of my relationship. I'm sure seeing her again affected me somehow. Just not sure how much.

Fast-forward a couple years to last Thanksgiving. After my late (re)start, I'm now a junior at Ohio State. She's almost a junior. My relationship with my partner is on the rocks and just starting to take on water, though I'm not exactly looking for dry land yet. I still think I can salvage the relationship. It shocks me how much we've changed but are still so much alike. We've both started drinking. A lot. We both like to get high. We're both disillusioned with the idea of monogamy and the traditional relationship. But while she reached her disillusionment through a series of short, failed starts at relationships, the longest of which lasted three weeks, I reached mine through three and a half years of domestic strife with one partner. We were both also totally jazzed about the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Wexner Center (the only stop for this exhibit in North America) and decided to go together. There, we also discovered our mutual love of John Waters, The Velvet Underground and Nico, experimental short films, and campy drag. My partner at the time liked two of those things. It became apparent that we didn't have that much in common anymore when I took her to the exhibit two weeks later (pretending I hadn't already been), and she was not very interested- we were in and out in 45 minutes. After a few years of lying dormant, my infatuation with this girl had seen an opportunity to erupt and was beginning to awaken.

After the museum, crush started coming to my regular Monday night watering hole every once in a while (my partner had stopped going about a year prior). One night, she came with two friends. Her friends did not drink. They didn't talk, either. I get the feeling she dragged them there against their will. She got completely shitfaced. I got fairly buzzed as well, but I either bike or bus to the bar when I plan on drinking a lot. When they were leaving, I was walking with them to her car, half-carrying her. She was trying to say something but whatever it was, it wasn't English, Spanish, or Hebrew. Might have been Wookee; I'm not fluent. But at some point in this captivating one-sided conversation she decided to plant a long, sloppy kiss on my cheek while we were walking.

I was 21. Poly, BDSM. I did things with multiple partners that would make Larry Flynt queasy. I didn't really mind never knowing if fireworks really go off in a virgin's eyes when they lose their virginity on their wedding night. But if the feeling is anything like what I felt when I recieved that vomit-scented kiss on the cheek as she tripped over the flat sidewalk, my hat's off to them.

I made her friends swear on their mother's very souls that someone other than crush would be driving home. They assured me this was to be the case and I went back inside. We hung out at that bar once or twice more that winter, sometimes going for coffee after hours and talking and laughing until the sky was starting to go from dark navy to dull grey in the east- it's never completely black in the city. I never did mention that kiss to her in conversation- I don't know if she even remembers it.
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The right to be kinky pt. 2
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Fuck my life
The Ant and the Grasshopper- continued.


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Jul 12 @ 5:52AM  
Time went on, and we had yet another period of separation. I was getting busier with work and school, and my relationship with my partner was still sinking, eating up my desire to be social, and my energy. We messaged each other online sometimes, but did not see each other in person much. I was smoking more, and starting to experiment with some other mild consciousness-altering substances. I was also starting to lose weight, so that's a plus.I also was involved in a bad car accident driving home from a ski trip over Christmas break- I was hit by a drunk driver, lost a lot of expensive stuff, was stranded for a day in Kansas City, and looked like hamburger meat just in time for the holidays. I did see her once, in late May. I was doing some Spanish homework outside at a picnic table when she snuck up on me and almost made me toss my papers across the plaza. We only talked for maybe 3 or 4 minutes, but I guess it revived us, in a way. We started talking online more. My partner and I, at that point had been apart for a couple months, though she was still living with me until the end of June. I hadn't yet run into an appropriate juncture in conversation to work in that bit of trivia. We made plans to hang out together at Comfest, this 3-day music, art, and drug festival.

I met up with her about 1:00 Saturday of the fest- she had brought a date. I shouldn't have been as surprised as I felt- after all, she still thought I had a girlfriend because I hadn't mentioned otherwise, and plus I had used the phrase (and all our friends) when talking about getting together at the festival. They're "kinda-sorta" seeing each other, nothing super-serious. He's going to start his PhD candidacy at the University of Edenburgh in Scotland in September, and probably not going to be visiting Columbus often. But this guy is a trip. He's highly intelligent, thoughtful, soft-spoken, generous, and was even so nauseatingly cool around me, I couldn't even bring myself to be awkward or standoffish around him- I just like him too much. Maybe it's because he makes her happy. I don't know. At any rate, at some point we were talking about a couple's sensual touch massage clinic that we saw an ad for when I mentioned in passing being single. Crush almost shit a brick- I could see her date's eyes sort of bug out when she started acting so flabergasted and asking me a million questions about how, when, and why the relationship ended. I tried to be humorous, self-depricating, and just a tough wistful in my storytelling, because I knew what a potential mood-killer talking about the ex can be.

Jul 12 @ 5:53AM  
Later that night, we were talking about getting fucked up, and I had mentioned that my new favorite high was magic mushrooms. This was something she had not yet tried, and really, really wanted to. I told her I would be happy to hook her up. Her date, who seldom drank and did no illegal drugs of any kind, just stared at his plate. The next day, back at Comfest, trying to get a hold of my hookup dictated a good-sized chunk of the day. Crush invited me and some of their other friends to his apartment after the fest, where we sat talking for several hours- like I used to do just with her, but with about three other people there. It got late, and crush decided to give me a ride home, as she had driven and although it was only a ten minute walk, I accepted. Wouldn't you know it, we sat in the parking lot talking for another two hours, just us two. Our past failed relationships, our hopes (well, I didn't really talk about what I was hoping for), the future. It was also the first time she let on that she really did like this other guy. I hope they don't make the same stupid mistake me and my ex did when I moved away for school- for their sake, and for my own selfish reasons.

I also found out something else about drunken-kiss night- her so-called friends had broken their promise, and she drove home herself. I suddenly got very serious. I explained to her that one of the more traumatic things I'd experienced in recent memory was getting hit by a drunk driver. I made her promise me she'd write down my cell number and put it in the glove box of her car, and if she ever found herself drunk and faced with the problem of driving herself home, she'd call me, and no matter where I was or what time of night, I'd come get her. "But what if it's like 5:00 AM? Wouldn't it suck to get that call and wake up?"

"Think about it from my side. Imagine that one of your best friends, someone you care about very much, is dead, or in jail because she killed someone, because you didn't get woken up at 5:00 AM. Think about how much it would suck not to get that call." That was the first time we shared a moment I could describe as genuinely tender, not just awkward or longing. Something in her eyes changed. I can't put my finger on it.

Jul 12 @ 5:53AM  
So last Tuesday I finally got my grubby mitts on some funny fungi (Murphy's law- usually isn't such a pain to score) and we've cleared out 24 hours of our schedules to trip and recover. And lo and behold, it turns out that we're going to be hainging out with crush's "kinda-sorta" squeeze. Somewhat of a buzzkill, but whatever. He, of course did not partake. He's interesting enough sober. So we had our little trip and ran amock around the campus area, staring at stars, staring at a pond, staring at flowers, staring at me. While we were still peaking, we were sitting in a little 24/7 coffee shop (Buckeye Donuts, if you're familiar), I was having a fruit smoothie, she, a black coffee. She was sitting with her guy, I was around the counter. I caught her staring at me for what felt (remember I was high) like as much as 5 minutes at a time. Whenever I acknowleged that I knew she was staring at me, she started to laugh.

Walking back up to the guy's house, he had his arm tightly around her after I'd yelled at him for failing to act when, in a moment of distraction, she almost got hit by a car. I was walking next to them, starting to come off the peak but still pretty buzzed, feeling awkward as hell about being this third wheel next to this couple, which included a girl that I wanted so badly. She was still staring at me. We turned it into a game- seeing if we could be locked in a stare while walking up the sidewalk, seeing if we could avoid sign posts and phone poles. It was while playing this game that I saw that same vulnerability in her eyes again, like in the car when we were talking about calling me to drive her home. I could have been tripping. The look could have been feelings for this other guy while she just happened to be looking at me. Whatever it was, it gives me hope.

Jul 12 @ 5:59AM  
Part of me is waiting until this guy is in Scotland and out of the way. There's a band she really likes, that I may take her to go see, playing in town about 2 weeks after he starts his program at Edenburgh. Part of me is frustrated that I'm always finding an excuse to procrastinate telling her how I really feel about her. After all, if she does feel the same way, she made the same mistake, and suddenly I was with someone else for nearly 4 years. Then I made the same mistake, and she's with some other guy for the summer. Another part of me wonders if it's really her I love, or just someone to get high and listen to music with. Another part of me wonders if I love her not for who she is, but because so much of my life has gone wrong and she reminds me of a time, as Randall Graves put it, "when we were young and the world was still in front of us" Yet another part of me reads this blog and it looks exactly like the cheeseball, Hallmark Channel made-for-TV fluff that I used to write about that other woman I've been in love with, and look how nice that turned out. The other part of me says that if she had feelings for me, she would have said something at some point these past seven years. The other part of me says, well, you never know. I never did. Yet.

Jul 12 @ 10:47AM  
Hm. For one, that gave my eyes a nice little work-out. For two, this could be a script for a nice little indie movie. For three, I can't help but to like how you convey yourself with such conviction, honesty, and would be a shame if this girl in question ended up using you as an emotional tampon. Despite gender, holy shit does being "friendzoned" suck something terrible.

Jul 12 @ 12:17PM  
I'm going to agree with Luna...this would make a very interesting indy movie....I like your writing style...

Jul 12 @ 11:40PM  
Aww thanks guys!

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The Seven-Year Itch [warning- long]