Posted by The one and only "B"... on 9:15 PM
I’ve been promising to post something for a few months now, and I haven’t actually shared anything besides my disappointment of losing Twinkies and a rage comic video of T scream singing… As D so kindly pointed out a few days ago, I've been a little preoccupied. He’s right, I have been preoccupied, but I guess that’s what kind of happens when you start dating one of your best friends.
Yup, that’s right world. I am dating one of my Jersey boys.
How this all came to pass is kind of a long story. One I think is worth sharing. It all started five years ago…
It was a simple conversation, something that usually wouldn't have taken such a strong hold in my memory. I remember it vividly though, even before I realized I had feelings for him. I was sitting on the bleachers in the gym, being pestered by some of my friends about who I was going to Prom with. The dance was only a few days away, and I didn't have a date yet. Of course, I was the new girl, and in the first few months I had been living in the Del, I had insisted that I would be going stag. It was Senior Prom, and I’d never been asked to a monumental dance before. So my hopes for being asked to this one, even with my attending a new school, were pretty dismal.
C, of course, would not accept that I was going alone. He insisted that I go with someone, which brings us to this conversation. He asked me who my ideal guy was. At first, I didn't want to answer his question. Unfortunately, C never takes no for an answer, and trying to evade his questions are simply impossible. According to him, it was an embarrassment to go to Prom stag.
At the end of my little explanation, C declared he knew someone that fit my description perfectly… And that person was J. I brushed it off at the time, because he had barely ever said two words to me. I mentioned this fact, as well, but C claimed that that didn't really matter. Keeping this in mind, I thought maybe I would approach the subject with him in a nonchalant way. Later that day I was in the library when I saw him, and mustering up what little courage I had, I made my way over to talk to him, only to have my thunder stolen by two of my friends.
The twins had be privy to my conversation with C, and decided to “help” me by rushing up to J first and asking him if he was going to prom, to which he scoffed, and said, “No, fuck prom.” Annoyed by his response, I threw my hands in the air and said, “Well, fine then!” before storming off. That was my first real interaction with J. Needless to say, I didn't really walk away with the best first impression of him. During the next few months, what little interaction I had with J, wasn't exactly great. We tended to butt heads often, mainly because we are both extremely stubborn, and because we always found a reason to bicker with each other. Well, more like he tended to scold me for doing something stupid, and that annoyed the hell out of me.
Eventually, we all went our separate ways. J went to Rutgers with R and T, while I went off on my own. I went to Stockton for a semester before moving to Colorado, going to school and working. I would come back and visit during the summers, but my interaction with J was very little.
It wasn't until three years later, on a visit home in April, that that conversation came back to the surface of my mind. C convinced me to go with him to Rutgers to see J’s band play. I was apprehensive to say the least, because there was really no doubt in my mind that J hated me in high school, and I wasn't exactly a fan of him either. What I didn't understand was why the thought of seeing him made me so incredibly nervous. I hated all of my clothes, my hair wasn't doing what I wanted it to do, and my contacts were bothering me. I was antsy, I felt like I had butterflies bouncing off the walls of my stomach. I couldn't understand why I was so out of my element.
I don’t think it was until I was standing in a crowd of people, watching him play on stage, that I realized how much he had changed. After the show, I was standing in the dark with C, R and one of J’s band mates. We were all catching up with each other when it started to rain. I remember turning to look over my shoulder, when I saw him coming out of the shadows, smoking a cigarette, and walking towards us. I couldn't tell you what he said, or if anything was said. I was frozen. It hit me in that moment that C was right. He was perfect. How I knew this, I don't know. I just did. It's never been something that I could explain.
The rest of the night was a blur, somehow ending up at his house, hanging out in the attic. Catching him off guard when he and C were discussing their COD stats, and I commented on how one of my friends was really good at the game, and got nukes three times in a row. He looked up at me like he was seeing me for the first time and incredulously asked, “You know what we are talking about?” I responded that I did, and the conversation continued on.
A few days later, I went back home to Colorado, and I tried to push thoughts of him out of my mind, but he lingered there. I tried to convince myself that I didn't have feelings for him, because that would be ridiculous. I hardly even knew him. We might have hung out in the same group of friends, but we rarely interacted with each other, except for a few sarcastic comments from him towards me. In his defense, I was obnoxious, annoying, and hyper in high school. When I decided to move home during that summer, there was a part of me that wanted to go back so I could see him again. So I could find out whether these feelings that had developed, without my permission, were legitimate or something I had just built up in my mind.
C and I drove across the country, with everything I owned in the back of my SUV, and made it in time to CD’s party. It was a monumental event, because everyone in our group from high school was supposed to attend, and no one knew I was moving home. Of course, by the time I got there, I was sick with a 104 degree fever and slipping in and out of consciousness. I remember getting in line to get food, and walking out to the CD’s front porch, where everyone was gathering to eat. I found a place on the porch steps, next to G, and discussed I don’t know what. I tried to covertly steal a glance at J, the boy I was so confused about, only to find he was looking back. I knew then, whatever I was feeling was real. I cared about him, whether I wanted to or not. It was at that point that I resolved myself to get to know him better. Part of me was hoping that I could find some kind of flaw or character defect that would help me get over these feelings that I had. The other part of me just wanted to know him.
In my own weird way, I tried to show him I cared without being too obvious about my feelings. I started doing little things, like, suggesting we play the video games he liked, and bringing over the calzones he liked. I tried to make holidays more fun. Little things, here and there, because I wanted to make him happy.
I remember how on Halloween, he told me about how one of his old roommates insisted that he looked like Aladdin. It's remarkably true, by the way. A few weeks later, I was at the Disney store, chasing after my little sister, when I saw an Aladdin doll. To be funny, I decided to buy it, and dress it up in normal clothes, similar to what he’d wear, and presented to him his very own action figure… Everyone laughed after I presented it to him, and of course, he managed to break the leg of within thirty seconds. He has a tendency of breaking things, much like I have a tendency of tripping on nothing. I fixed it up with tape, and joked that it was perfect now, because he had a leg injury as well.
Actually, it’s kind of weird to look back and think about it now. I was so afraid of my feelings for him, so scared of being rejected, that I put myself through a whole lot of hell. I remember one conversation in particular; back when Char and I were still friends.
“If it did ever happen, do you think the guys would be okay with it?” I asked, gripping the steering wheel tightly, and intently watching the road as means of preparing myself for his answer.
Char was hesitant, “Do you want the honest answer? Or the nice answer?”
I bit my lip; a part of me wanted the nice answer to be the only answer, but seeing as though that wasn't the case, “The honest answer.” was what I replied.
“No, I think it would fracture the group.” A swift reply, but that was my fear as well. Even though I know this fact, I still asked why. “Because it would change the dynamic of the group.” Char admitted.
“Would it be that way if I dated anyone, or just him?” I didn't really care about the “anyone else” part; I just wanted to know where my boundaries were.
“It would be that way if you dated anyone within the group. You’re kind of like the group mom; you’re not allowed to be with anyone within the group.”
“That’s not fair though,” I argued, “Don’t I deserve some happiness too?”
“I don’t think they can consider that objectively.”
At the time, I believed what Char said, but I still hoped that it wouldn't be the case. If it was the case, I hoped that they would at least accept the idea eventually. At the time, it was all hypothetical. As far as I knew, J had no feelings for me. No one was aware of my affections. Char was convinced that I was torturing myself over him because I was a masochist. Then again, Char had a lot of opinions about everything. Looking back on it now, I should have ignored what he said, because now I know that he clearly didn't know what he was talking about... My Jersey boys are awesome.
Unfortunately, Char's opinions weren't the only thing I had to worry about. I should have realized at the time that there would be other contenders for J's affection, but I was oblivious to it. That is, until the night when I learned about her. I went to Rutgers with C for a party at J’s house. In fact, it was the night the boys and I met the The Pterodactyl porn kid. The whole night was spent with me in hopeful bliss that maybe he possibly could see me as more than just a friend, or one of the boys. That was, until I saw him with her. She was beautiful, and edgy, and he was flirting and laughing with her, the way I wished he would with me. I looked over at C, who was watching the same scene I was, and he looked back at me. I must have looked surprised, because he gave me a look like, “I don’t know who she is either.”
She was only there for maybe twenty, thirty minutes tops, but it felt like much longer than that. I tried not to look over and watch the two of them together. I leaned up against the reinforcement pole in the basement lost in my own thoughts, and tried to ignore the constricting pain in my chest. As soon as she was gone, I tried to forget what I had witnessed, and tried to convince myself that I could win him over somehow. I've never thought of myself as a jealous person, but that night I definitely felt its wrath.
As the night was ending, C, R and I left J's house, and started making our way back to my car. C asked what I desperately wanted to know, but was too afraid to ask. Who was the mystery girl at the party? R replied that she was some girl he had liked since freshman year, and that it was complicated, because she was dating his roommate. Anger and jealousy boiled inside of me, but I didn't say a word. I was quiet the entire way to my car, and blamed my silence on how tired I was. After that night, I started to pick up on the fact that he talked about her often. Sometimes he wouldn't say her name when he regaled stories to us. He would just say his roommate’s girlfriend, but I had connected the dots.
A few weeks later we found ourselves in Atlantic City, to celebrate R's 21st birthday. In the early hours of the morning, when everyone else wanted to call it a night, J announced that he still wanted to smoke, drink and gamble a bit more. I volunteered to join him, along with R’s roommate from school. At some point, R’s roommate wandered off to use the bathroom, leaving us alone at the slot machines together. J turned to me and asked if he could get my advice on a situation he was in, regarding the girl. I admitted to already knowing some details of the situation, and he filled me in on what R had left out. It was the first time he’d ever opened up to me. After hearing his side of the story, I told him he needed to be careful, because she belonged to someone else. He responded that he knew, but he cared a lot about her, looking dejected and disappointed.
As the night progressed, the guys had joined us back in the casino, and I was able to think about what had passed. I wanted to take back what I told him earlier, because I felt I had been too harsh due to my own feelings for him. I resolved myself to talk to him again, this time putting aside my own feelings.
Begrudgingly, I waited until I could find the opportunity to bring up the conversation, without everyone else listening in. He had wandered away from the group to find a trash can, and I followed in order to talk to him again. I told him that he should go for it. He should tell her how he felt, because if he didn't, he'd always wonder how she felt about him. Even though it killed me to say it, I wanted him to be happy, even if it wasn't with me.
He told me about how he had never felt this way about anyone before, and that he knew it was crazy, because he was so young, but he was in love with her. I stood there and smiled, and tried to be supportive, mentally resolving myself to accept the fact that, if I had to only be his friend, I would be a good friend to him. At one point he said something along the lines of feeling tortured because he felt trapped in the friend zone, and he so badly wanted to be with her. I looked away, ducking my head slightly, so that my hair was blocking my face, and quietly replied that I knew exactly how he felt. I wanted to cry, but I didn't and eventually we rejoined our friends. I spent the rest of the night forcing a smile, and trying to pretend that I was enjoying myself.
During the next few months J had started hosting his own radio show at school, and I was the first one to listen. Whenever he suggested bands to me, I’d go buy their CD’s and listen to them, because he knows his music, and I was never disappointed. When his band started playing shows again, I did everything possible to make sure I was there for them. I went almost an entire year without missing a single show, and when he asked me to take pictures and videos, I did so religiously. I thought to myself that he might not be in love with me now, but that didn't mean that he wouldn't be some day. I thought that maybe if I proved myself, that he would realize what I already knew, that we would be good for each other. Even after finding out he had feelings for someone else, I still wasn't willing to give up on him. Like I said earlier, I am extremely stubborn. Or stupid. It's debatable.
December came, and we spent more time together. He would give me rides to either TK or D's house. Sometimes we would drive around and talk for hours. He would dominate the conversation, because I liked listening to him talk about whatever was on his mind. That and I was usually so nervous that I struggled to form sentences around him. I thought that maybe things were changing between us. That maybe he was starting to fall for me too. To me, December was perfect. December gave me hope. Eventually, December ended, and spring semester came too soon, which meant he would be returning to Rutgers.
In just a few weeks, I went from hoping that this was it. I had finally shown him that I wasn't like those other girls. That I wouldn't hurt him, I was someone he could care about, someone that wouldn't let him down. Instead he became more distant and indifferent than ever. I thought I would never really recover from that disappointment. No matter how hard I tried to bridge the gap, he kept me at a distance. I would think back to December, and constantly wonder what caused the change of attitude, and wishing I had been brave enough to tell him how I felt.
During the next few months, I would hear about the girls he was interested in, and always feel crushing disappointment. I wished that he wasn't chasing after these other girls, and that he would realize that I had been here this whole time. Waiting. Patiently waiting.
I constantly looked forward to the weekends, which were the only times that I would get to see him. I wished I could have somehow prolong the weekends, because they seemed to pass by so quickly. The weekends were like fleeting moments that I waited for during the ever-so-long week days. When he would grace us with his presence, I scold myself for getting excited to see his car in front of TK’s driveway. If his car wasn't in TK's driveway on Friday night, I would immediately feel disappointed. It was ridiculous, and I knew it, but I couldn't control how I felt.
Soon enough though, I had something new to worry about. More of our friends were becoming aware of my affection. Char obviously knew, but then it was like a domino effect. One by one, all of our friends were finding out that I had feelings for J. In fact, after I admitted to D that I had feelings for J, he soon became my confidant. D has always been the voice of reason, and when I could no longer trust Char and his advice, I started to rely more and more on D for perspective.
Char and I had started butting heads, and when summer 2011 came, Char had given me an ultimatum. Either I told J how I felt, or I had to move on. Long story short, I refused his ultimatum. I wasn’t going to be forced into telling J how I felt, and I wasn’t going to move on. I was going to do things my way, even if that meant waiting a little longer… I just didn't feel like the timing was right. I wasn't ready to admit how I felt.
The months that followed were, and still are, kind of a blur to me. Trying to remember anything distinct is kind of hard. I was just going through the motions. J had found a job in the city, and I was working for my family. The first thing I would do every morning was sign on to gchat, because I knew J would already be at work, and we started each morning by talking to each other. Mostly about his commute to the city, or something he had found funny on reddit. The entire day was spent talking to each other, and when the work day ended, we would make plans to hang out once we both made it home. I would often joke with D and R that our friendship was more like a relationship, without any of the fun stuff.
I was alright with that, though. J had become my best friend, and I loved hanging out with him. He had always been so hard for me to figure out. I was always confused by him because I could never tell what he was thinking. I still don't, actually, but the more time I spent with him, the easier it became to understand him. I was fascinated by him, because there was so much more to him than I had ever realized. The more time I spent with J, the more I learned about him, and respected him. There were times when being “just friends” was incredibly difficult for me. In the back of my mind, I always wanted more than that, but I was content with how things were, at least for that time. I was still afraid of being rejected. I was afraid that if I crossed that line, if I said how I felt, and he didn't return my feelings, that it would jeopardize our friendship. I hated the idea of not being able to talk to him or hang out with him, so I stayed silent.
At least, I tried to. Once again, December became a sort of turning point for me. For Christmas I had agreed to go to my mom’s house in Colorado, and on my first night there, my best friend Hart came over. After a few beers, and an extensive conversation about J, Hart egged me on to approach him on the subject. So I did, stupidly, over text. Being very cryptic, I wrote him saying that I didn't believe guys were as oblivious as they pretended to be, referring to a conversation we had had a week earlier. To my surprise, he responded back saying that he was being an idiot. The conversation progressed, with me thinking that we were talking about us, while he was talking about something completely different. Something I didn't realize until he called me a few minutes later.
For the next two hours I talked to him on the phone. He was in Washington D.C. at a party, and had had a little too much to drink. He was having a rough night, and we talked about it until he had resolved the issues he had been having at the party. There was a pause at one point during the conversation where he asked me what I had been talking about earlier, when I had texted him. As I was about to respond, someone walked up to him and asked him for directions. Just my luck, right? His question, and what I was going to say, was forgotten, and we said goodbye to each other before I had the chance to tell him how I felt.
Hart, who had been standing next to me, listening to me talk to him for the past two hours, was beside herself. She couldn't believe that I didn't tell him. It wasn't like I had much of an opportunity, which she knew because she was standing next to me the whole time whispering, “TELL HIM ALREADY!” To both placate her, and confront my fears, once and for all, I texted him explaining what I was trying to tell him. After I sent the text, I threw my phone at Hart and immediately curled into a ball and started having a panic attack. I couldn't believe I had just done that... No, really, I couldn't. In fact, Hart can confirm that, because I kept repeating it while I was curled into a ball on the floor.
Meanwhile, Hart was telling me to calm down while she read what I had written him. Apparently she felt like I hadn't been clear enough in my original text. So to ensure there would be no misunderstandings, she decided to text him for me saying, “I really like u, J”.
She expected me to be mad at her for sending him that text. Instead I was more annoyed with the fact that she didn't spell out “you”, rather than the actual text itself… What can I say? I really hate it when people don’t spell out words in texts.
His response was… disappointing. He said he wasn't ready for a relationship at that time, that he had things he needed to work through, but I wasn't going to give up that easily. I argued that he always complained that it was hard to find a nice, non-crazy girl, and I had been right in front of him the entire time. Eventually, after some discussion, J said that he was too drunk to talk about it at the present time. So it was decided that we would talk about it on Sunday or Monday.
Well, Sunday and Monday came and went without either of us bringing up the topic. We talked, but not about the conversation we had had that night. When I came home from Colorado, our conversation that night was never discussed. I assumed it was because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I would often joke with D that I should have specified what Sunday or Monday, when I wasn’t completely and totally depressed, and whining about why didn't he like me...
The next three months were really rough. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to talk about that night, but at the same time, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Bringing it up once was hard enough, and then I had the power of my best friend and beer behind me. It wasn’t until March, when he was talking about a girl he was considering dating, that I finally snapped. I told him that even though he was my friend first, it wasn’t fair of him to talk about other girls to me. His response was surprising, to say the least.
It turns out that the night of our conversation, the night I confessed my feelings for him, and had been reliving constantly for the past three months, he had been black out drunk for. He didn't remember anything. After that was established, all I could say was, “Fuck”, because I knew that meant I would have to say it all over again. It was decided that he would pick me up after dinner, and I would tell him what happened that night. I mentally prepared myself for what was going to happen. I fully expected to be rejected, again. I didn't know what that would mean for our friendship. My only hope was that we could continue being friends. If not, then I would deal with it.
That night I told him everything. After telling him what happened that night, and how I had told him that I had feelings for him, we sat in silence for a few minutes. Let me tell you though, those few seconds felt like an eternity. The first thing he said was that he couldn't believe I had gone three months without saying anything about it. To which I responded that I thought he didn't want to talk about it. I didn't know he was black out drunk! How could I have possibly known that?
Eventually I told him everything that had been happening for the past two years. Most of which, I have shared here with you. I explained how I realized how I felt about him, and how everyone either was told by me, or figured it out on their own. To be honest, everyone seemed to know, except for J. I mean, even random strangers could see it. So the fact that he didn't realize it, and the fact that no one had told him, was kind of unbelievable. J admitted that it was a lot to process in one night, so he asked me if he could take some time to think about everything. Of course, I said yes, still anticipating that he would reject me at some point.
A week passed by, and things were pretty normal. We still talked and hung out almost every day. Occasionally he would ask me a question about how I felt, or tell me that he was still thinking about things, and didn’t want me to feel like he was leading me on. I didn’t mind it much. For once, I had been completely and totally honest about how I felt. It’s something I don’t usually do. I was out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I felt incredibly relieved.
On St. Patty’s Day, he finally gave me his answer. We were bar hopping with the guys, when he said that he needed to go to 7-11, and asked me to go with him. It wasn’t until we were on our way back when he stopped me and said that he had thought about everything, and us being together made sense.
Since that moment, I’ve been the happiest I have ever been. It’s kind of funny, writing all this and looking back on the past few years. I went from driving home every night pathetically singing along to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”, to sitting in the passenger seat of his car, and occasionally holding his hand when he doesn’t need it. Sometimes I wish I would have told him sooner, but I think that things were supposed to work out this way, and the past nine months have been pretty amazing. J is pretty amazing, although he doesn't believe me when I tell him. He usually just rolls his eyes at me, but I believe it to be true, and I will keep insisting that it is.
This is why I haven’t had much time to post on the blog. Like D said, I've been preoccupied, happily preoccupied.
Speaking of which, I need to reclaim my spot next to J on the couch. I couldn't write all this with him looking over my shoulder. I would have been second guessing everything I wrote here, because I’m shy, and I’m still working on expressing myself... and hopefully he doesn't mind that I've written all this on the blog. According to the boys though, it's my blog, and I can write whatever I want. So I will.
I promise that I will work harder to post more often though. I have plenty of stories to share, many that have been backlogged because I've been busy…
Patience is a virtue…