“Kendra, you should take my friend home,” Merchant Marine tells me after the three of us have been joking and laughing for the last hour. I roll my eyes and continue on our conversation as if it had never been said.
Merchant Marine wandered off and we took very little notice of it, except to charge more drinks to his bill. I had only intended to stay for about an hour when I first arrived. It was Friday night and I was feeling starved for social interaction. When I saw my friend the Merchant Marine, I was so excited because he had been out on his ship for the last several months and I hadn’t seen him in forever.
At first I had taken relatively little notice of his friend because I was too excited to see him but when he joined in the jokes and could easily navigate the flow of our banter, I started to give him my undivided attention.
My hour turned into a few hours of sitting and talking with this boy. We were trying to wait for our mutual friend to return but just as we were about to give up on that, he popped back in. He only stayed long enough to smile widely at both of us, order another round, and leave.
We stayed another hour or so before he invited me to join the party that was assembling at Merchant Marine’s loft just down the street. I went without a second thought.
Despite the fact that there were several other people there, we might as well have been alone for all the notice we took of anyone else. I don’t think our eyes left each other for more than a few seconds the whole evening.
The hours we spent talking turned into cuddling on the couch. When I looked up at him at one point to answer a question, he finally leaned in and kissed me.
It was one of those slightly shy and tentative kisses and, while there were no fireworks of kissing amazingness going off, it was sweet and nice. It was definitely nice enough to repeat… a few times.
It was getting really late, though, and when he offered to walk me home, I didn’t object. I also didn’t leave him at my door. No, I had no intention of that. We sat on my loveseat together looking out at my view and talked for a few more hours with interspersed kisses exchanged.
That spark, that connection was just… there. It was clear that this was something worthwhile. By the time I was getting too sleepy to keep an intelligent conversation afloat, it was too late to send him walking alone back to our friend’s place. My neighborhood is not the kind where I let anyone wander alone during the night.
I wasn’t going to take this all the way. I didn’t want to cheapen it by turning it into a hookup. Besides, nothing on my body was clean shaven and I wasn’t about to expose my yeti legs to him. As I ran into my bathroom to change and make sure that I found a pair of pajama pants that were NOT knee length, I looked in the mirror for a moment and realized how happy I looked. It’s been so long since I felt this spark with someone. I’d met lots of guys over the last several months and only liked one of them before this one. The previous one had turned out to be married but I hadn’t found out until a few months after the fact so it hadn’t stung that much. His relationship was his problem, not mine.
I smiled again and went to rejoin him. As we snuggled up and exchanged a few more kisses I realized that I actually liked cuddling with him. I only had a second to register the thought before drifting off to sleep.
A few hours later I heard a noise I didn’t recognize. A phone? An alarm? I was too sleepy to immediately register if it was mine or not.
Oh, that’s right, I’m not alone. He didn’t snore and I slept so well that I had forgotten, despite his arm still across my side.
He jumped up, grabbed the phone, and said, “I definitely didn’t set an alarm, I was supposed to be somewhere at 7:30.”
It was almost 8:00 which not only meant that he was going to be really late for whatever it was he was supposed to be present for, but that his car was in severe danger of being towed very quickly.
After a quick goodbye, where I worried more about the state of my mascara and breath than anything, he bolted out and I fell back to sleep.
When I woke up again, I remembered that I had left my wallet at Merchant Marine’s loft. I spent the morning in a state of “Did that really happen last night? It seems too good to be true.” And was all smiles.
When I got to Merchant Marine’s place, he brought me my wallet and started telling me about all the people who were at the party last night. I didn’t really care about any of them, I had hardly noticed them. Then he looked at me a little more seriously and asked, “Did you and my friend get into trouble last night?”
“Trouble?” I asked. “Um, we didn’t have sex if that’s what you’re asking.”
“That’s not what I’m asking. You did make out with him, though. Didn’t you?”
He shook his head, “He has a girlfriend.”
Merchant Marine didn’t expect my response when I laughed and said, “of course.”
“Look, he’s a really good guy, like, a really good guy. Don’t say anything to anyone.”
It felt like, once again, the universe was dangling the proverbial carrot just in front of my face. It was an authentic connection. He didn’t even try to hook up with me despite sleeping in my bed. It seems like if a guy’s going to cheat, they’re going to try to take it all the way. Right?
I felt a combination of anger, sadness, disappointment, confusion, and an overwhelming sense of being cheated.
After a few days of feeling pretty crappy over it, I mostly feel better now. It was a really nice evening, the end.
Later, as I sat with one of my best friends, talking over the whole thing, I said, “Well, at least I’m moving in the right direction. The last one was married and I slept with him. This one only has a girlfriend and all I did was kiss him. That’s progress, right?”
Never mind, sometimes I still wish I were the get-angry-and-break-shit type.
Oh, and I still maintain that when it comes to love, everyone’s a douche.