I stood on the frigid cement floor of my garage in my pretty new blue and purple striped socks uncomfortably shifting my weight from one foot to another. It was the end of our goodbye ritual. I walked him into the garage. Our previous conversation continued for a while. He uncomfortably reminded me that he needed to go home trying not to feel any obligation to hug me. He hates hugging. He rarely ever does. When he finally chooses to have a crazy emotional outburst, it's that wretched excuse for a hug"¦the infamous side-hug.
He decided to go ahead and splurge that night and commense with the formalities. It was a special occasion. My life was sucking more than usual. He stepped away and there it was. Uncomfortable silence entered with all the pomp and circumstance of the Queen Mother.
I began concentrating on not stepping in any oil spots to avoid concerning myself with who was going to say the next word and when it was going arrive. I decided with determination I wouldn't be the one.
We stood still, thoroughly engaged in eye tetherball, until I finally said, "What is it?" I had given up. I have never been into competition"¦probably because I'm no good at it. That night, I had no patience for this.
"Nothing." He stated nervously, "I'm just being a guy."
I didn't know what that meant. I made that inquiry with my silence.
Then I saw it. His eyes were darting from left to right trying to avoid revealing his secret. I suddenly felt a very unexpected kick in my stomach. My air supply felt violently strangled. He was no good at saying these things and I was no good at hearing them.
I so desperately longed to feel loved by him but at the same time I didn't want to be loved by him at all. I wanted him to say he hated me, slam the door, and walk out of my life. It would hurt, but I would get over it and eventually not feel anything for him. That sounded good. I didn't want to feel anything for anyone anymore. I wanted him to leave and I wanted to run.
"I just"¦really love you." The sentiment was rich but the delivery was weak. I was a little bitter, he brought me back from my mental ramblings just as I was plotting my escape via Greyhound bus.
It felt nice to hear those words but I was painfully aware of their context. I couldn't push back the ugly feeling of jealousy that always seemed to be lurking behind the nearest thought. The nice feeling was soon replaced by the image of him walking out of my door and immediately calling her. I knew he couldn't wait to leave me to be with her. That hurt horribly. It wasn't fair. I had put in the time. I had been there when his life was falling apart. I had loved him and believed in him when almost no one else did. I wanted to scream and hit things and throw a temper tantrum and kick her in the face. Where was she when his so-called friends were ripping him to pieces behind his back? Where was she when he was jobless and seemingly going nowhere? It didn't seem fair at all that she got to flit into his life and steal his affection. It certainly didn't seem fair that she got to reap the benefits of the shiney finished product after I had spent years putting up with the rough draft.
I was angry and felt perfectly justified in my anger. After all, it was my turn to have my life fall apart and I needed his undivided attention. Now--I had to share it with her. I secretly hated her. Ok, I not so secretly hated her.
I was wrong and I knew it and that made me hate her even more. She was probably a perfectly wonderful human being that little birdies dressed in the morning as she prepared for her daily activities of playing with orphans and feeding the homeless. I couldn't help it I still wanted to kick her in the face.
I had to make a decision. It wouldn't be too long before I would have to meet this girl. I could be bitter and try to isolate her and let her feel my contempt, or I could embrace her"¦for him"¦ because he did. So I smiled, took a deep breath to stave off the flood of tears, and began to pry the determined fingers of my heart off of him as I watched him walk out that door.
I had been there before and I would undoubtedly be there again because that is what you foolishly sign up for when you choose to love someone that will inevitably fall in love with someone else. That is all a part of being the best friend of the boy"¦.the other girl.