Is six years too long to obsess over a moment?
Actually, more like a series of moments.
Okay, okay, if we’re being honest it’s a person. Honesty doesn’t always come too easy to me.
We were sitting on the jungle gym of the condo complex’s playground. Talking about the future, when I left for college and the changes that would come with it. His relationship that had just ended and how he loved his family, but had been ready to come home after a week at the beach.
We were laughing about something stupid, and it was getting late so I was about to go. We had always had our silly flirtatious tickling fights, and that night was no exception. Something happened though. There was a shift. Like, the teenage hormones normally directed at basketball players and tiny blonde girls veered off their usual course. And then, in that brief instant, I thought it was all going to change.
We looked at each other with an intensity that had previously been reserved solely for the boy I had lost my virginity to and the girl that he was dating whom it turned out hated me. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a Taylor Swift song came on, or the credits of a rom-com began to roll.
We didn’t kiss. The moment ended and I thought about the confusion and complications that would come with it. What would happen after we kissed? Would our friendship be over? We couldn’t date; I was going off to college. Everything was perfect, I had the emotional support of a relationship and the ability to go off to college and meet guys, why would I ruin that? On the car ride home I just kept asking myself what happened and did I make it up.
I was bewildered, “I can’t believe… did that almost just happen?”
“But what if, would that be good?”
“I mean…did I make that up?”
I had no answers for myself.
As it was summer and we were best friends, we hung out again the next night. Except, the term best friends doesn’t properly describe just how intense our relationship was from the get go.
We had met two years prior, at the neighborhood pool. I was a lifeguard and he was the obnoxious guy double bouncing on the diving board. After the initial disdain I had for anyone I had to blow the whistle at, we hit it off. From that time, we were in constant communication. Our friendship was the poster child for texting. Had text message limits still been around, my monthly bill would have skyrocketed.
The next night however, as opposed to hanging out on a jungle gym, it was Netflix in his room. Something pretty common for us and my first experience in what the kids now refer to as “Netflix and Chill.” We kissed almost immediately. I pulled away and asked, “This almost happened last night, right?” He nodded and kissed me again. I was confused, but ecstatic. However, had I been Lizzie McGuire, a cartoon version of myself would have been in the corner waving a red flag as he said, “So…. If we’re going to continue this, we probably shouldn’t tell anyone?” He posed it as a question, but I knew it was a statement. I was flustered, embarrassed, and a million questions were running through my mind. “Oh yeah, I mean, yeah of course not.”
From the second he “asked” that question, I was someone else entirely. I wasn’t his best friend and confidant; I was a girl he was making out with when convenient.
I don’t mean to place the blame on him. I’m just embarrassed now, six years later, thinking of that night. I want to grab that 18-year-old version of myself and shake her. “Don’t let a boy make you feel less than, especially one you care so deeply about,” I would tell my teenager self. I’d warn young me to be honest, and what I wanted from this and what did he want.
There are so many things I would go back and change. The possessiveness I “wasn’t allowed” to feel, or as time went on, the way I let him treat me. I was so focused on being the “cool girl,” the casual hook up, that I lost sight of who I was a little bit.
And maybe that’s why I’m obsessed with this person– this moment in time. We went from being so close emotionally, to being close physically and so distant in every other way. I think I loved him, but was never open enough with him, or myself, to figure it out.
So here I am, six years later, with him occupying a space in my mind so often it’s like he has a timeshare in my dreams. But at least I’m being honest about it now.