Friday, November 17, 2006

Reminiscing: Part II

A and I had been friends for a couple of months. Though we'd only met in person once, he'd become a daily presence in my life, and my outlook was better for it. I didn't realize quite how out of sorts I was at the time - I think I expected that because my relationship had been ending for awhile before the ultimate end (with a breakup for a number of months, then reconciliation for as many, then the final breakup) I thought that after a summer on my own, I was starting to get an emotional grip. During that fall I took an 8 week prep course for the GMAT - and for 8 weeks test prep consumed me. But throughout this time I had this new person in my life bringing a bit of sunshine in each day, and it made the algebraic equations I dreaded somehow a bit more bearable. (side note: I ended up bombing the test - while I scored quite well on the verbal section my math score suggests I might be mentally handicapped. My sister-in-law made me realize that timing was everything with that test - I was still a mess and didn't have anywhere near the focus to pull together the bits and pieces of algebra I may have acquired over the years and achieve a decent score).

But A was getting ready for his grad program overseas - so any thoughts I had of being "attracted" to him were more or less pushed aside as I knew if anything like that were to ever develop - it would be a few years down the road. In a way I think that made the whole thing feel safe - I couldn't mess it up or worry about doing the right thing because our whole interaction was in the framework of a bigger picture I had no control over.

About a week and a half before he left his brother had a going away party for him, and I drove out with my friend whose girlfriend (though they were technically broken up at the time) had introduced me to A. It was a bit awkward at first as I was meeting a whole group of people with much more history with A - I was this random girl from California who decided to make a trip out to help send him off. In an effort to simply join the fun but not monopolize his time simply because I was there from out of town, I made my rounds with the group, drank a number of rum and cokes (to absolutely no effect - that's how you know I was nervous!) and generally had a good time (we all went dancing as it's one of A's favorite things to do). Over the course of the night A got a little flirty, and the tone of our interactions started to change a bit - we danced and I started to let in a little bit of optimism that maybe he did like me regardless of how platonic I was trying to keep it. After my friend and I drove home I got numerous text messages from A saying how much fun he had dancing with me, how glad he was I was here, etc. etc. - all with a definite aura of flirtation.

So at this point I started to let my wall down. I started to think about just how good he made me feel - just how happy I was each time we talked, the general boost of energy I got in our conversations - that feeling you can't quite put a finger on but you only get with a certain type of person. I went to sleep with a big smile on my face.

The next morning I met him at his church, sat with him and his family - was introduced to family and friends and everyone seemed to have this twinkle in their eye - like they knew I wasn't just a friend coming to visit. That may be supposing a lot - but I'm not daft, the feeling was in the air. After church we went to his parents house where his parents, grandparents and sister and her family were all having lunch. I felt so at home - they are a truly warm family and at this point my girl-drive is going overboard as I'm imagining getting to know them and potentially joining their family someday (hey, I'm a GIRL). I had somehow really started to think that this could be the real deal - not because it was even remotely close to it, but because I was seeing all these factors that I look for in a situation that had fallen into my lap and I had done almost nothing to perpetuate. While in the past I had sought things out, held the reins, gone after what I wanted - here was the potential for everything I looked for and it was coming to me, not the other way around.

After lunch my friend and I had to drive home - and throughout our 4 hour drive I got numerous text messages from A about how happy he was I was there, how excited he was. When I got home that night we talked for over an hour and he told me he'd had a long conversation with his parents about me and while he knew he was moving to Israel he trusted that something was happening with us and knew that if it was meant to be somehow it would. This was the first real, tangible evidence I had that this wasn't just a friendship - that this could really be the foundation of something much more. Like I said, I'd been playing it safe, I might have my daydreams but I hadn't communicated anything to him other than in my affirmative responses to his encouragement to attend his party, meet his family etc. After that conversation I was on cloud nine. I bounded into my roommate's room and flopped on her bed and told her all about it. "I'm excited!" Of course the conversation didn't translate to anything - we weren't dating, we weren't a couple - it was just out there that there was an attraction and after two months of constant communication and indication that under the right circumstances - something may come to be. It gave me something to hope on. He left for Israel in a week.

We talked throughout the week and he mentioned he'd met some new people through one of his friends, one of whom was a Mennonite - a religion very similar to that of the Quakers, of which his own church finds its roots. The focus in their faith is on peace - and A was all about peace. So meeting a girl who was a Mennonite was really neat for him as both sects are not very big and are definitely not mainstream evangelical Christian (they tend to be a lot more salt of the earth, love they neighbor vs. I'm more righteous than you). He told me about her and plans they'd made to go hiking and dancing with a group of friends. I didn't think anything of it.

The weekend came, and we hadn't talked. I knew he was crazy busy with preparations for moving overseas, but it was completely unusual to not be getting my regular morning calls and silly messages, at the very least. My friends said not to worry - he's busy, you'll talk before he goes. But I knew, in my gut, that wasn't the case - because that simply wasn't like him. He has friends spread out around the country and he makes time to talk to them all - and he'd been making me a priority to talk to for two months - so why would that change this last weekend?

We finally talked on Monday night. He told me he'd spent the weekend with the Mennonite. He told me they had fallen for each other. He told me they'd decided to date exclusively. This coming from a guy who had never dated, had made a resolution not to date, and two days before he leaves the country makes a firm commitment to a girl he's just met. Talk about knocking the wind out of you.


Blogger Eve said...

"In a way I think that made the whole thing feel safe - I couldn't mess it up or worry about doing the right thing because our whole interaction was in the framework of a bigger picture I had no control over."

That's so insightful and true. I've always noticed that I tend to meet someone(s) when I am moving or facing a big life change.

11/17/2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger should-be-working said...

Well, better for him to flake out on you now rather than later after you've emotionally invested in the relationship.

11/17/2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Me: The Sequel said...

I think there's a sad paradox... flakey men tend to also be spontaeneous , romantic and generally very attractive in the first bloom of a relationship - they tend to have stars in their eyes and are "in love with love" as it were... But those qualities often conflict with the emotional maturity and stability (drudgery??) needed in committed relationship...and, at the risk of sounding like a man-basher, emotionally mature men are quite the rarity! It's like they are all 19 years old even when they are 40! :P


Anyway, I'm with Eve all the way: good thing you saw his fickleness relatively early on... is he still with the Mennonite BTW? Or is that part of "reminiscences: part III"? :)

11/18/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

such good insight from all of you! Yes - await part III...

11/18/2006 3:39 PM  

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