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I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

December 19, 2013

Yesterday, TLTL convinced me to venture out to hang with him for a couple of hours after work. “I had a good time last night,” he texted me early yesterday morning.

“Good. Me, too.” I was only lying a little bit. “I feel like there’s a ‘but…’ lurking in there.”

“No, no ‘buts,’ only ‘I had a good time,'” he replied. “I really want to see you again. Come out tonight?”

I thought about it some. I seem to have successfully chased MTIA off, so I had nothing else going on. And frankly, I was impressed that he didn’t retract the previous night’s “I love you” text. Although, I thought, it is often easier to pretend like something never happened than to face it. “I’m crazy tired,” I told him, “but as long as I don’t fall asleep at my desk in the next four hours, I’ll come out for a bit.”  Leave ’em wanting more, Twig. Leave ’em wanting more.

“Yay!” he wrote back.

The club was full of familiar faces when I got there – guys I’ve met through either TLTL or MTIA; I was simultaneously saddened and relieved that MTIA wasn’t there. Likely, he met up later in the night with several of the guys there; they tried to coax me into heading to another club with them, but I was tired, with TLTL, and not wanting to run into MTIA. I gave an ambivalent “maybe” to meeting up with some of them the next night. That’s tonight. I don’t plan on going anywhere. Seeing so many familiar faces, I realized that TLTL had right to crack a joke about my recent social upward mobility. I’m charming when I leave the house. “Sup, Twig?” a table across the room called to me. I waved. TLTL gaped at me. I grinned a  helpless grin at him and shrugged: I don’t have a clue why they remember me. I’m about 95% sure I didn’t blow any of them in a men’s room recently. TLTL smiled at me. He was off talking to another friend and missed an amusing realization between one of the guys and me: When we were younger, we both tried ‘shrooms, and what stands out the most to us in both of our experiences is an obsession with carpet fibers. We laughed.

I ran into two of my favorite comedians while out last night, one of whom is a friend, the other an acquaintance. I hadn’t seen the latter in a couple of months – the first time I hung out with MTIA, actually. This is the comedian whose incredibly dark and disturbing  jokes MTIA and I would quote to one another incessantly. I said hi, and then blushed. I dropped my gaze and stared at my hiking boots. I’ve been intimidated by him since first meeting him (the same night I met MTIA, incidentally), but more recently, I decided that he’s incredibly hot. He is entirely unapproachable. I once told MTIA that I was convinced the guy hated me (we’ve met multiple times since he, MTIA, and TLTL are friends), but he assured me that the comedian is just very withdrawn socially. I think that between his jokes and social awkwardness, that ought to flag him as potential serial killer. So of course I find him to be hot. *mental head slap* Unh.

TLTL and I both wanted to call it an early night, so we said our goodbyes and wandered out into a cold night together. We sat in my car for a bit, talking about what’s coming up next for him – publicity bullshit, tour dates, filming a dvd. He seemed quiet, though, and I realized how uncomfortable he sometimes is with success. Earlier in the night, a fan approached him to sing his praises. To an onlooker, TLTL might have seemed exceptionally rude as he brushed off the compliments, but as I stood watching the exchange, I could see his face reddening and tell from how he shifted his weight from one foot to the other that he was embarrassed to have a complete stranger fawn over him so obsequiously.

“You know you’re exceptionally talented, right?” I asked him in the car, resting my hand on his jacketed arm.

He sighed. “I do know. But it doesn’t make it less weird when people approach me. Or when I do interviews. I know people think I’m an arrogant shithead because of how I react sometimes, but Twig, you know that’s not me. It’s just hard getting used to this kind of attention. I know I should be grateful, but sometimes, it’s just painful.” TLTL moved his arm to take my hand in his. We sat there in the stillness, fingers intertwined.

“Maybe it will get easier,” I suggested finally. “But I think you needed to be approached tonight – you needed to be reminded that you are incredibly talented. You forget sometimes just how amazing you are.”

He gave my hand a soft squeeze, conceding, “Maybe.”

We talked for a bit longer before saying goodbye. We kissed lightly on the lips a few times, both of us unsure of what to do. I suspect both of us were thinking, “Shit. This is not how things were supposed to play out.” A couple months back, sure. But us, together now? No… this is not what is supposed to happen. This friendship is not supposed to be anything but friendship with a few random benefits here and there ever again. He isn’t supposed to look at me in a crowded room in a way that leaves no one mistaking that we are “together.” TLTL is not a very subtle creature. I’m sure that such looks from him confused more than a few of the guys there that I know primarily through MTIA – they have grown accustomed to seeing me out with MTIA. Then again, I suspect they’re used to seeing MTIA out with a lot of people. It hurts to think about.

Several more quick, sweet kisses, and he’d stepped out of my car. He grabbed his messenger bag that he had tossed into the backseat and stepped up to my driver’s side window. I rolled it down. “Get home safely,” he said softly. “Text me when you get home, okay?” I nodded, and he leaned in through the window for a final quick peck on the lips, then turned, and was gone.

When I got home, I texted him as requested. We said goodnight, and then he wrote, “Love ya.”

Shit.

I don’t want to go through this again. I don’t want to let go of MTIA. I don’t want to get hurt by TLTL again. I should have seen this coming, honestly, especially after the other night when we started quibbling over which of us had been a bigger asshole to the other the last go around. These things don’t come up when they don’t need to. And when they need to, it’s because we’re both trying to clear the air as we jockey for our respective positions in a relationship together. We also say things like, “I’m so glad to be single,” “I love not being in a relationship,” and “I’m tired of trying to put my faith in people. I’m done.” They are all, essentially, fabrications – bravado claims masking the cries of “I miss you!” and “Please love me! I want our life together back!” That’s what’s at stake here: our future as partners, once and for all, for the rest of our collective lifetime… Paying bills, adopting a child, working on home improvement projects, traveling together, grocery shopping, making love. These are the things we have both always wanted, and why it hurts so fucking badly when it goes so badly between us; to have our future ripped away because of our own tragic flaws and imperfections is no less heart rending each time it happens.

Shit.

I do not want to love him.

My parents are going to murder me. I think I’ll refrain from filling them in on anything in regard to TLTL for a while. If things work out, I’ll let them know in a year. But they’re still likely to murder me.

I suspect things will crumble horribly all over again. He’ll drink too much. I’ll get sick. He’ll hate my friends. I’ll hate who he is on stage. We’ll face a bump in the road and fall apart. This is, simply put, the nature of things between TLTL and me.

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