The one who got away…kind of

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who could remember everything, far from home, feeling her way through a brave new world, creating a brave new self. One day, this girl met a boy but things wouldn’t get interesting in that story until some time later, when the boy confessed to another boy, who was the girl’s very best friend in the world in that minute, that he thought she was … easy on the eyes.

Four years passed and the boy and the girl developed what the girl fondly remembers to be a strange friendship.

Why was it strange, you might ask and you would be right in asking. As we mentioned earlier in this story, the boy found the girl quite attractive indeed and she did have similar thoughts about him. And while neither were willing to share these thoughts in public, they didn’t go to a lot of trouble to hide them away either. Hugs and glances were longer than they should have been, silent moments more awkward, compliments more complimentary.

Everyone in the village knew what was between the boy and the girl, still no one dared speak of the sacrifice made when two people want the last burrito and ultimately neither one gets it. Why then did not the girl and the boy cease their tomfoolery and make their romance real?

To this day there is no answer to the question. Some say it was poor timing, some say it was fear of losing a friendship that had grown into something so comfortable. The truth may never be known. For as I tell you this story, the boy and the girl have a decade gone without seeing one another’s faces. And as time grows, memories fade. Except for the girl who could remember everything about the boy who got away.

But even with that, she knows the romance is long gone. She only longs for the friend she never wanted to lose.

Years ago, more years than I care to admit and more years than many would believe anyway, I met someone who I don’t think I will ever forget.

To be fair, that statement actually describes a lot of people but right now we are focused on one. Or at least, I am and have been for a couple of days now.

Anyway, he (yeah, he, this is one of those stories) and I connected well in the early stages of our friendship. We had one of those friendships that feels like it has lasted longer than it has; when you feel like you’ve known them forever but it’s really only been months. We talked, we laughed, we joked, we flirted, we had moments when we said nothing at all and that was okay too.

Or maybe I’m remembering it the way it never was. Early on I have a few cloudy memories of the “getting to know you” process which culminated on a horrible day in a horrible month when something horrible had happened and while I was never sure and never asked, I think he may have cried on my shoulder for a minute. On my literal shoulder.

After that, my memories are clearer. Because after that I started paying closer attention to the little things that would come to mean a lot to me later on. And when I pay attention, I remember everything. I remember talking about music and about nothing at all and I remember how his bedroom was laid out and the poster on the wall that made me smile all the way to my toes and I remember the time he offered to pay me for dancing at a party because that was how we flirted and we flirted a lot and I suck at flirting. Now – or even then, really – I try to flirt and really just come off as a drunk baby giraffe with a speech impediment, sputtering out sentence fragments and lighting things on fire (bonus points if you can find me a video of David Spade saying that last part).

Since our parting of ways, I have told a couple of people this story – or a version of – and they all ask the same question at the end: So…what happened? Why didn’t you guys hook up?

Nope. There is no answer to that question. I obviously don’t know his reasons because we never talked about that and I don’t know my reasons because my reasons are all a bunch of flimsy excuses that mostly mask the real answer – I was scared he’d say no then where would we be?

For some reason I have yet to uncover, music triggers memories but not always. So sometimes you can listen to a song and nothing happens but then the next time you hear it, you remember all the things and life sucks because all the things are gone and you just really want them back. So a couple of days ago, I heard a song that reminds me of this guy for a couple of reasons and I haven’t really stopped thinking about him since. But surprisingly not in a why didn’t we date, why can’t we just get together one time and make out like teenagers kind of way. I am missing my friend.

I’ll get over it and move on but for right now there is a very obvious absence in my life that amounts to more than just one missing person but it is largely about that one missing person.

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