Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mr. Cellophane

In Ed Theatre we talk a lot about Transparency.

As educators we will often use dramatic activities as a sort of "sly" inroad to get students thinking seriously on a topic without having to come right out and say "Today I want to talk about Sex/Racism/Politics/Peer-Pressure/Etc." Transparency is when you don't occlude your aim--though a more effective lead-in is something along the lines of "We're going to explore some themes surrounding..." but this is not a lesson in classroom theory.

Transparency can also apply to honesty about yourself, i.e.- "I've never tried this particular exercise before, so we'll see how it goes," or stopping an activity that is crashing and burning by saying "Okay, this doesn't appear to be working... let's talk about why."

And once again, Transparency also appears to apply to my personal life, and my seeming inability to hide my total infatuation with Maybe Crush from anyone but him.

This evening before class I was smoking on the sidewalk with Maybe Crush and Slater, and MC goes inside because he is freezing. I made some silly comment as I watched the back of his head recede through the doors and Slater looks at me and says "You're totally crushing on him."

"You're right," I say, "I totally am," and we both dissolve into giggles.

"It's okay though," he says, "I think he kinda is too."


I proceeded to tell him about yesterday's conversation with C and he tells me that he too has been asked several times whether Maybe Crush and I are dating...

See, this is the point where I have a confession to make: I have been living in a complete state of déjà vu for the past month. You've all heard me mention the English Ex before... well, let me give you a little background:

I met the English Ex while I was studying abroad in, well, England. The first semester I was only taking one module (course), which met 4 days a week, nearly all day every day. This is where I met EE, though we didn't start hanging out until about a month into the term. Class had let out early due to inclement weather (don't ask), and one of the girls therefore had a few hours to kill before catching a train. So I, English Ex, and another guy from our class popped across the street to the pub to have a drink and keep her company while she waited.

She eventually caught her train but EE and I stayed in the pub and continued drinking... and drinking... and soon a few of his mates and his girlfriend showed up to take us back to his house to continue drinking.

Yes. His Girlfriend. I really can't come up with a polite nickname for her because in all honesty I couldn't stand her, so we'll just call her... Her. They'd been together for 5 or so years and lived together in the student house they shared with several other people--and whence our merry band retired to continue drinking until the wee hours of the morning, and in whose spare bedroom I slept a very drunken sleep.

At this juncture, I couldn't have cared less that She existed. I didn't fancy EE at all, and while I found Her somewhat irritating in general, I made nice as EE and I were spending more and more time together--in fact, we were nearly inseparable. He was my best friend. She was hardly thrilled, but I thought nothing of it. Come on, I wasn't any sort of threat! What was her problem anyway?

Then one day we were having lunch somewhere and somehow She came up in conversation. I don't know what prompted it but I simply asked him "Are you happy?"

"Yeah, I guess so," was his response, and after a few awkward seconds conversation resumed as normal. We left the pub where we'd been eating and were heading off to go boot shopping (for him), and I couldn't quite let go of this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that something had changed.

A few days later I was on a trip with the other students studying abroad from my university, and EE and I were texting each other the entire time. Finally my friend HC asks who I'm talking to and I tell her. And then she drops the bomb: "Do you fancy him? Because it kinda seems like you do."

It was like someone had flipped a light switch and that nagging feeling that had been lurking in the back of my head for days slammed into the front of my skull like a freight train.

I fancied the hell out of him.

And what's more, it seemed like he fancied me too.

But then there was Her.

So what the hell was I going to do?

Things became increasingly bizarre after that, suddenly I didn't know how to behave around him. And worse, our mutual friends all began teasing us, asking what was going on. "Don't be ridiculous, he has a girlfriend! It would be like dating my brother!" I protested, as every fiber of my body cried out for just that.

And then one night we kissed.

We lingered, our faces literally millimeters apart, for what seemed like hours. I was so torn, I didn't want to be That Girl. The girl who breaks up the happy couple. The Homewrecker. And also, even there with his lips so close to mine that I could feel his breath, I still wasn't sure that he actually wanted me. But eventually the gnawing longing building in my chest won out and I closed that millimeter gap. I kissed him.

The next day he broke up with Her. I'm sure he felt worse about it than I did but the guilt was killing me. We were together, but keeping it a secret to avoid hurting Her. He had tried to tell her it wasn't because of me, but the girl wasn't a fool... she knew long before either of us did where our relationship was headed.

In more ways than one.

We eventually came out into the open--drama students aren't stupid, they all knew. They'd already been teasing us for months, when he left Her they all immediately concluded that I was the reason, no matter how much we denied it. I think they were relieved actually, the sexual tension was driving more than just us crazy!

Then I went home to the States for Christmas. When I came back he dumped me and went back to Her.

So I lost the man I cared about AND my best friend, all in one fell swoop. And that just sucked.

I share this long and somewhat self-pitying story for two reasons. First, it shows the sort of luck I have with relationships.

Second, that feeling I had from the moment the lightbulb went on in my head until that moment when I kissed him... that is exactly how I have felt for the past few months. And that's not all bad, by any means! There's the happy silly moments when I think that maybe he could actually like me too... but there's also the moments when I am thoroughly convinced that I'm kidding myself.

And there are the moments when I remember how it all turned out the last time I felt this way.

But after what Slater said to me tonight, and even though optimism has bitten me in the ass before, I can't help but hope that I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And maybe, just maybe, it's not an oncoming train.


distracted spunk said...

I say be optimistic. Also. EE sounds strangely like an experience I had. Granted. They broke up before we hooked up. But there was still a lot of similarity. Be well!

Hope said...

If I had to honest with myself, the main reason I am single (besides not meeting a man that really really excites me) is that I am scared to get burned again.

But, it is such a silly reason.Maybe Crush is not EE and the circumstances are totally different.

So, definitely be hopeful. And you know, just let yourself enjoy this moment! Even if that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train! ;)

Princess Pointful said...

Great ending!

I, too, once had that feeling like you had with EE. I kept on wondering why everyone wouldn't leave me alone about what I kept on insisting was a completely platonic friendship... until I realized I was head over heels.

You know what you should do? Next time you are hanging with MC, tell him that someone asked if you two were dating, and see what he says. You can always laugh it off if you don't like his response!!

libby said...

what a story! and optimism never goes outta style so i say hope for the best with MC. if others notice your chemistry, its only a matter of time before he screws up the nerve to just go for it!!