After I had a magical night with the girl who had everything, I drunkenly dialed her number that same night. I asked her if she ever considered dating me, and she laughed. But she said yes.
Unfortunately, it went no further than the satiating of curiosity. For whatever reason, I never pursued it, and even if I did, I am not sure if it would have materialized into anything. I wished that I could fill in the gap between that phone call and today (6 years) with something more romantic, something more satisfying, and something more like a fairy tale ending than a cliffhanger that was utterly unsatisfying, but this was reality.
The story didn’t die though. As long as you know a person and neither party is dead, there is some semblance of hope for a future. What that future entails is a mystery, but it is a future, even if that future is filled with dissatisfaction and empty hope. Out of nowhere, she messaged me in the wee hours of the night. What an unexpected surprise after 6 years, I thought to myself. Both of us had transformed to the point where connecting the dots of the past to the present took some skill, luck, and chemistry from both parties, but fortunately the essences of both of our souls had remained intact. There was still a spark, even if the way we viewed each other was completely platonic.
We talked platonically and innocently about the past. We talked about how technology had changed in those 6 years, how social interaction had morphed from real life face to face interaction to “behind the screen of a phone” interaction. We reminisced about the simplicity of college, the capacity to stay up all night drinking without suffering any real consequences, and the ability to simply go get a hot dog from Puzzles at 2 am, the favorite late night eatery for the dormies at UCLA without a mess in our schedules. Puzzles is gone now, we both lamented.
Then we talked about the present. We caught up on our separate lives about having to work and go through the spin cycle of growing up. She grew up much more than I did, with a much more “successful” career path than I did, working for a well known company and a great salary, satisfying the demands of this world much more than I did. But not to great delight.
Then we talked about the future, about how everybody and their moms were posting wedding photos and how it loomed on the horizon. And the horror of having the responsibility of taking care of kids, if that ever happened. They were like aliens growing inside of your stomach, she noted.
Before I knew it, 2 or 3 or 4 hours went by as we messaged each other through Facebook. It was a ping pong chat where we went back and forth without many interruptions, just like the good old days. I can’t remember such a seamless conversation through such a medium unless I thought back to the days of AIM, Napster, and Kazaa. It was as if there wasn’t even a wrinkle in time for the two of us as we conversed that night.
Of course, all magic comes to an end and she dismissed herself gracefully. That was a great chat, I thought to myself, but thought nothing else of it. It was always like that with her. It always ended magically for a brief moment in time, but nothing was ever evoked in my mind enough to kick me into action to just simply chase her. Or maybe because the reality of it was that we lived in different countries and that to chase her was like chasing the wind.
Strangely though, I found myself acting slightly differently the next day. I went for a jog. I was so out of shape, I thought to myself. As I jogged, my memory had decided to jog with me and I started to think to myself about what had transpired these past 6 years. I gained weight and I became somewhat of a drifter, refusing to settle down and let society and capitalism completely dictate what would become of me. I fought a lot of mental battles with myself, and I won some, lost some. I became a cement mixer of a person, constantly churning the possibility of laying a foundation for a path but never wanting to stop mixing. I didn’t want my life to solidify. I didn’t want to let go of my freedom just yet.
Something about that conversation made me want to become less of a drifter, and more of a man. Something about the sheer possibility of coming into contact with her and rekindling whatever was felt from the past drove me to think about trading in my suitcase for a staircase toward a more stable career instead. Something about her made me want to become the best possible version of myself. As I jogged, my mind kept telling me: “I can’t believe this is happening. Why was I jogging, why was I imagining an altered future, why was I thinking so differently from the night before!” I wondered to myself. It can’t be this easy for her! She might have everything, but she doesn’t have me! I screamed in my mind with a false sense of bravado. I wanted to pound my chest in defiance of what she was doing to me, and yet I wouldn’t have been surprised if my heart was no longer there because she had it.
This is too one-sided and too much. From experience, effective attraction is a kind of see-saw where two people engage and then pull back, engage and then pull back, give and take, until there is some kind of equilibrium where both people are happy. This was too one sided, and I was plucking on my own heart strings too much. Plucking it too much from one side always made the heart break, something I learned from experience too well. I don’t know what she is thinking though, which was always the case anyways. But I’m exposing myself because that’s just how I am. I would be a hypocrite if I suggested to her to simply be herself and then not let me be myself just so that I could play some kind of hide and go seek game with her. A part of me is really afraid to write this expose. But another part of me is not afraid. Because she might be the girl that has everything, but she doesn’t have me.