Why yes, I’m milking the shit out of this story. If you haven’t been reading the story thus far, check out parts one and two here:
“Hey, I haven’t seen you in forever. I was just thinking about you the other day and wondered why you disappeared.”
“Yeah, sorry, I was in Texas and then I got really busy with catching up at work.”
“All work and no play Kendra…”
“Because that’s ever been my problem?”
He was not the one I’d gone looking for that night. I’d shown up hoping to run into that favorite mistake of mine. We’d spent the week “running into each other” every chance we got and I was trying for that one more time before we had to grow a pair and actually call each other. Instead of running into him, though, my previous fling came walking through the door.
After about five minutes of awkward conversation about why I never called him back, we switched to less awkward topics like our shared lament over the closure of the Funhouse. It was the first bar I’d ever been to.
It only took a few minutes for me to remember all of the things I had liked so much about him. When he asked me to be his date to the Halloween party at the Funhouse, celebrating both Halloween and its last night open, I immediately said yes.
As he walked me to my bus stop and sat with me until it arrived, I forgot all of the reasons I’d stopped seeing him in the first place and that there was anyone else who might have any feelings invested in me. With a kiss goodnight, I tore myself away and promised that we’d do something later that week. It wasn’t until I got home that I remembered the boy with the dog and that he could potentially be hurt by what I’d just done.
I mean, I didn’t owe him anything but I also didn’t want to hurt him.
The next day I rehashed the story of the two boys with my therapist. She’d already known about my previous fling and had supported my decision to end it. But, as always, she let me make my own decisions.
I wanted to go to that party so badly, especially since I got to go with the fling. He’d been so exciting. Yet, I was worried about hurting the boy with the dog. I didn’t feel that same excitement with him but I still liked him. He was so sweet, so tender, and so goddamn good looking but he was also so not my type. I liked spending time with him but we were so different.
He was as introverted as I am extroverted. I like being out and about, talking to people and socializing. He liked to be alone together, cuddling up while watching TV or sipping wine. I felt like I was going to get bored with it; I mean I don’t even own a TV; it’s so not my thing.
“Well,” my therapist told me, “if you really want to go to the party, you should, but it sounds like you care how the boy with the dog feels. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to ask him how he feels about it and what he’s looking for in this?”
She was right, but I really didn’t want to ask him.
“I mean, I’d rather see the old fling again but I don’t know if he’s good for me. He’s just so… I don’t know. He just does it for me.” I said.
“Again, go to the party and see if you still feel the same way. Just keep this in mind, sometimes the people who are more reserved have much deeper levels at which they become exciting as time goes on. You might want to give the boy with the dog more of a chance to open up.”
So, when he called me to see if I wanted to watch The Walking Dead with him the next day, I did.
I was still getting kind of bored, but I decided that my therapist was right about trying not to hurt his feelings so I finally asked, “So, what is this that we’re doing?”
“Um, I don’t really know. I mean, I’m not looking for a long term relationship but I like spending time with you,” he said.
“Okay, what does that mean?”
“I can’t invest in a real and deep relationship right now.”
“So, we fuck as long as it’s fun?” I asked.
“Wait, is there anything else you want to know?”
“Um… not really. That answers my question.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, I guess… are we doing this exclusively?”
“I mean, I’m not going to see anyone else. I’m kind of a super nerd, so… but I can’t ask you not to. Just tell me if you sleep with anyone else. Is that okay?”
I agreed. Yet, the last part of that conversation bothered me a little bit. He actually could take home almost anyone he pleased and yet he didn’t want to see anyone else. It made me wonder.
When I went home the next morning to get ready for work, I felt something I didn’t expect. After all, I’d received the answer I was looking for. I could go to the party and not feel guilty. Yet I felt a sense of loss. Something about us felt valuable, maybe not terribly exciting, but still valuable. I had wanted to go to the party with the fling and yet, even more, I’d wanted the boy with the dog to ask me not to.
I knew that I was wrong to feel this way because I’d have gone to the party anyway, but I wanted to know that I’d meant as much to the boy with the dog as he apparently mean to me.
Was I wrong?
Was the value of this… thing… only in my head?
A few days later it wouldn’t matter. A few days later I’d fuck it up so badly that I couldn’t imagine him wanting to continue seeing me.