It was his coming-out night – his first party wearing those letters he worked so hard for. He was ready to finally let loose and have some fun after months of hard work and sleepless nights. He set out to have a good time & enjoy the night.
It was THE PARTY to attend on their campus, and there was no way she would miss it. She stood in line with her girl’s, eager to get inside & start their night. She and her crew wore a similar uniform – snug dark jeans, a cute party top and black high-heeled boots. As she got closer to the door, she wondered what events would be in store – everyone knew that something memorable happened whenever you attended THE PARTY.
And then it happened…they locked eyes. It could have been just a casual glance and nothing more…but yet, something sparked between them. She shrugged it off & continued the fun with her friends, seeing no need to follow up on a spark that she felt with a random stranger. But he felt differently. Filled with the confidence that his new letters and fraternal affiliation brought, he spoke to her, hoping she’d be friendly & engage him in some light banter. To his surprise & relief, she did. She was surprised as well, there seemed to be something about him that made her want to chat with him. Somehow, phone numbers were exchanged, hugs were given, and then the moment was over.
She wondered to herself later why she gave out her phone number. She was in a complicated mess with who she thought was the love of her life, but he would soon turn out to be little more than a liar and a cheat. Discovering that knowledge weeks later caused her a pain she had never known before, at the worst possible time. Without the strength of her friends & her need to succeed no matter what, she would have been lost.
Weeks past and the summer begins…and a friendship blossoms. One night an innocent invitation is extended by her, for him to join her at her summer residence for a chat. Due to a crowded apartment and the lack of privacy, they decide to go on a late-night stroll through the neighborhood. The full moon lights a path as they wander aimlessly, sharing stories and comparing notes. They are both surprised by what they discover about the other…surprised and intrigued, and left with a desire to know more. Time passes fluidly, and it is perhaps during that night that the beginnings of a love takes root & blossoms.
Yet there is a complication…she has gone from one pseudo-love who was anything but, to a long distance infatuation. She seems him as only a friend, someone to confide in, to spend time with , but not as a new love. This is confirmed one night, as they lay on the couch – she lays with her feet in his lap and her head on a pillow. Her eyes are closed and then suddenly, she feels the weight of his lips on her face. It startles her, she didn’t see this coming at all. She is filled with a sense of dread, knowing that now she must confess that her feelings lie elsewhere. He takes it seemingly well, yet in his heart it is a different story.
They continue this friendship into the new school year. She has now realized that the long distance infatuation she felt was indeed just a fleeting thing. What she wants is him, but how can she now confess that to him, after rejecting him just a few months earlier? She chooses instead to keep her feelings quiet, and take what she can get from him. They settle into a weird space – sexual partners, enjoying each other’s company but careful to keep it a secret from everyone. It seems to work well, though both are dissatisfied with the arrangement, but neither can confess that to the other.
Things continue in this lazy way, until someone else catches her eye. It was a fleeting, temporary thing, but when he learns of it, he feels betrayed. He is angry and hurt, and lashes out. She is confused at his emotion, it does not occur to her that he wanted to be more than a friend. Pride and immaturity keep them from having an honest conversation about their feelings, and soon they part ways.
He holds on to his anger for several years. As he gallivants across the country & enjoys life, he still thinks of her. Technology allows him to see what she’s been up to, and her lack of a ring on on her finger allows him to keep his feelings for her going. She also thinks of him, hopes that he’s happy, and curses herself for being so immature and unable to put her heart on the line with him.
And then, it happens…they communicate again. It begins with baby steps, tentative inquiries into each other’s lives. They perform an eloquent dance, each trying to learn something but unable to ask it outright. She grows tired of this dance and summons the courage to do what she couldn’t before – be completely honest with him. As she shares, she feels a weight come off her shoulders. He responds first with skepticism, and then with honesty of his own. They now know how the other feels.
And finally at last, they are in the same space. She hopes it will be a new beginning for them both, a chance to love one other the way they should have before. She has pined her hopes on the fact that they can begin anew. But it does not mean a new beginning for them. Instead, he turns his back on not only what she shared, but on their entire history. Its as if he simply wanted to inflict on her the same pain he felt years earlier. She feels the stings, they bring tears to her eyes and a heaviness to her heart. She wonders how he could say one thing but do another, how he could be so callous.
And so they go their separate ways once again…left only with the memories of the love they once shared but could not express.