Monday, August 31, 2009

The one that got away

Every now and then I think about a guy I knew in college, a guy that I almost hooked up with but, thanks to an untimely runny nose and general awkwardness we never quite connected.

I Google him from time to time. All I've ever found is a paper he coauthored for his zoology program. I even looked him up on Facebook but didn't find anything. I'm sure he got married years ago, but maybe, just maybe, he's still out there and also thinking about me.

He lived down the street from me in an atrocious slate gray box of a house. I spent a lot of time over there. I had a huge crush on his roommate and I spent hours waiting for his roommate to get home. Yes, I was THAT girl.

The roommate was so dreamy. He looked like a slightly squashed Richard Gere; let's just call him Richard. The other guy (the almost hookup guy) resembled Patrick Swayze who, face it, was only ever hot in Dirty Dancing - and that was more about the character than it was about him. Anyway, we'll call him Patrick.

There I was every afternoon, pining after Richard who was almost never home. He probably knew I was there waiting for him. Meanwhile, Patrick was almost always home and didn't mind hanging out with me. He was sort of dating another girl and he knew I liked Richard, so there wasn't any pressure to impress him. I could be as goofy and relaxed as I wanted to be.

I was going through a teasing phase, I guess. I had just taken the infamous Marriage Prep class where I learned a little about how to flirt and show interest in guys. So I was showing interest in every guy I met, just to see how they reacted to it. Most didn't react well, sadly.

Except for Patrick. Day after day I waited for Richard in their living room and passed the time cuddling with Patrick, playing with his hair, kissing him on the cheek, just joking around. Man, this is embarrassing! He kissed me once or twice but it was never a serious smooch. I thought he was joking. He had a sort of girlfriend and he knew I liked Richard.

Then the weirdest thing happened. Patrick dumped the girl he was dating. The same week, Richard took her out on what I thought was a sympathy date. Until they showed up at a party together and then came to church and sat together (both of which are serious declarations of being an Item). I was inconsolable.

Patrick called and listened to me sob about Richard every day for two weeks. He came over to see how I was doing, since I wasn't going over there anymore. It all seems so obvious now, but I really thought he was just being a friend. He casually mentioned other girls he might be interested in. I didn't catch on that I might be one of them.

One night he dragged me out of the house and we walked around town for a couple of hours. By this time I was tired of all the drama around the now-engaged Richard but that was all Patrick would talk about. Meanwhile he was holding my hand and wrapping his arms around me. I was confused. There were very mixed signals here!

Then came the Moment. We stopped under a streetlight, facing each other. He had his arms around me, I had mine around his waist. I thought he was going to kiss me. I couldn't be sure. I waited. I waited. I WAITED! Still nothing. And it was cold outside. My nose was about to drip. I turned away to wipe it. He must have taken that as a rejection or something because he dropped his arms and we walked back.

That was it. My almost love story. I kick myself when I think about it. Damn runny nose! So every now and then I think about him and wonder what he's up to. Mostly I wish I could have a do-over.

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