Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bullet Dodged

I am a Google stalker. I admit it. I look up the names of people I know, people I used to know, co-workers, relatives and anyone I have come into contact with to see what they’re up to online. Occasionally an old boyfriend will cross my mind, so I’ll Google him to see if there’s anything interesting about him (interesting meaning that his life took a serious downturn since he dumped me oh so many years ago.)

This morning I was eating breakfast and goofing around on Google, trying to come up with a name of someone to Google stalk. The name of a guy I dated for a few weeks when I first moved to Boston crossed my mind. I met him at a bar when I’d lived in the Boston area for all of five minutes. I was 22; he was 23 and impossibly handsome. We quickly began to spend all of our free time together, and I was instantly head over heels. After a few weeks of having a great time together, he broke up with me claiming that he needs some space to work out some issues in his life. We decided to be friends, which of course was agony for me because I wanted to be more than friends. But I was a good sport, and I went along with this “just friends” nonsense. One night he came over to my apartment and we cooked dinner together. Over the meal he proceeded to tell me, in excruciating detail about a woman he’d begun to sleep with—you know, because that’s what friends do to people who want to be more than friends over dinner. I decided at that moment that he could be more of a casual acquaintance than friend, after I’d grinned through dinner. I didn’t call him all week, and felt this heaviness descend on me. I couldn’t function as his friend, and my co-workers were so sick of hearing about it.

The following Saturday morning I got a box that he’d mailed me that contained a CD that he bought for me and book he’d been dying for me to read. I looked around my apartment and saw similar gifts and a few articles of clothing he’d left at my place. I scooped all of them up, tossed them into my car and high-tailed it to his apartment. I burst into the front door, didn’t bother with pleasantries with the roommates, barreled into his bedroom and dumped the armload of stuff onto his bed with a disgruntled “I can’t be friends with you. I want to be more than friends, and you want me to be your friend. This isn’t working for me,” and I turned on my heel and walked out.

He chased me down the stairs, as I carefully navigated them because my knees were shaking so hard I thought for sure I’d fall down the stairs and make a complete fool of myself—which didn’t make for a quick and dramatic getaway in which I could look cool.

“Beej, wait! Would you please just talk to me?” he called after me. I ignored him and focused all my attention to the bottom of the stairs and ran through the front door of his apartment building, trying hard not to cry and to control my rubbery knees. He managed to catch me by the shoulder, spun me around and he hugged me. He told me how much he valued our friendship, while I held up my hands between us and told him that I didn’t want to be just friends. I wriggled free of his grasp and headed for my car.

I got into my car and drove off toward home, taking deep breaths to calm my racing heart and still shaking knees. I thought for sure I’d feel entirely heartbroken and unable to continue existing. But no, actually a sense of relief came over me, with a surge of confidence. I knew my life would be great without him; after all it was great before I knew him so it only stands to reason that it would continue to be great after I knew him. And I was right. My life has been great without him; even greater than I imagined as I drove home that Saturday afternoon. I have an awesome husband, whose hair glows red in the sun and who makes sure that everything I could possibly want out of life is brought to me. He makes me laugh every single day, and makes sure I know I am loved.

It’s been almost 12 years since that fateful Saturday when I went to this guy’s apartment to return his things, and it’s been 10 years since I’ve actually seen him. He tried to remain friends with me for a few years, and would occasionally invite me to a party over email. I politely declined every invitation and asked “So, how are you?” He would write back about some “meaningless” relationship he was in (his word, not mine) and basically how he wasn’t really doing much with his life. He stopped emailing me invitations once when he’d asked me “Enough about me, how are you?” I wrote back, “Let’s see, I am engaged, just started graduate school and am restoring a 41’ sailboat. Life is awesome.”

I haven’t thought about him in ages, except for this morning when I Googled him and saw a picture of him on a web page. In the last 12 years this impossibly handsome guy has taken on a John Belushi on the morning after kind of a look.

I cannot imagine how different life would be had that relationship worked out so many years ago. As much as I hated hearing “Everything happens for a reason,” from my friends at the time, it really is true. Everything does happen for a reason.

I consider it a bullet dodged.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you Beejie..


June 12, 2008 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Don't you love it when they turn out bad :) It's some sort of revenge in my mind.

June 12, 2008 at 6:22 PM  

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