While browsing MySpace many, many years ago… Wait! That sounds a bit creepy… Technically, I was on the page of a friend when I stumbled across the best smile ever. I say it was the best smile because the “happy, happy, joy, joy” mantra of Ren and Stimpy instantly popped into my head. The guy behind the smile literally looked like the happiest person EVER! The smile was huge and I’m not sure why but it stopped me instantly. I’m sure I stared for a minute or so.
Now, I’m not the friendliest person in the world. Actually, I’d consider myself to be the least friendly out of all of my friends BUT there was something about his smile that made me want to know him. You know, be friendly… So, for the first time I can possibly remember, I reached out to a total stranger!! Well, I guess he wasn’t a complete stranger considering we had a friend in common…right? As I typed the message, I definitely thought about the possibilities of my early demise and becoming the lead story on a future episode of 48-hour mystery. I could see my parents and sister talking to Stone Phillips sad and confused as they individually questioned why I suddenly decided to be friendly. That would be my luck.
So, I sent a message to him to let him know how great of a smile I thought he had. Truths? Yes, I was hoping he would respond. I actually refreshed the message several times hoping he was online and would be as eager to reply to my message I was to let him know how great his smile was. Needless to say, there was no “instant message” back from the mystery smile guy. To prevent myself from breaking the mouse and not wonder IF he would respond, I logged out and shutdown my computer. This was way before cell phones had the capability to do more than just make a call so logging out meant just that.
I spent the remainder of my day wondering if this guy would respond. I wondered what he would say. I wondered what I would say if he responded. I don’t remember exactly how long it took him to respond but he did. It was a cheeky exchange. I think he complimented my smile as well, which started the conversation. At some point, we began talking on the phone. He was a lot of fun to talk to. We laughed a lot. We had our own thing. We were perfectly in sync. We both had unique personalities and we both seemed to be sensitive to the feelings of not just ourselves but others as well.
He was extremely thoughtful. He was the sweetest guy I’d ever met simply because there was no doubt he was genuine. He made me feel special, like I was the center of his attention. I loved that! There was something about hearing his voice at the end of a long day at work that made everything okay and nothing else matter. I knew I was falling fast and it scared the hell out of me. I was scared for many reasons… I had just moved out of my parents’ house and bought my first place. I was “independent” and didn’t know what that felt like because I was just getting settled. At the end of the day, things didn’t work out because I was young, needed to grow, mature, and figure out who I was. I sabotaged everything because I didn’t understand why this guy wanted me in his life. I thought he was too good for me, too kind for me. He deserved more. He deserved someone better than me. Of course I didn’t say that to him. Instead, I flipped the switch and became ratchet so he would hate me…and I believe when it was all over, he did.
We’d run into one another three times over the years… The first time was a few months after we stopped talking. I saw him at a concert. It was awkward, painful, and unexpected. He has no idea but I cried after seeing him. I remember the friend I was with telling me to “get it together” after seeing him as the tears streamed down my face. She tried her best to distract me for the remainder of the show but all I could do was think about what I did and how I most likely lost the best guy I’d ever met. I saw him again a few years later while celebrating my sister’s birthday. He was walking with a friend and I realized who he was as my sister and I walked in his direction. It was, yet again, awkward and painful but I was happy to see him and to know he was doing well. I was in a relationship at the time but I still thought back to the time we spent together and how sweet he was. Seeing him was bittersweet, for sure.
The funny thing about life is you truly don’t know what you have until it’s no longer there for you to grab. Although I knew in my heart he deserved better and I was a hot ass mess when we were together, I still had feelings for him. I thought about him often over the years and wondered, at times, what things would have been like if we were still together. Then I’d realize we probably wouldn’t have been together because I was certain he would have left at some point out of sheer frustration.
A month ago, I decided to hang out with my sister and her girlfriends. It was a holiday weekend and I couldn’t remember the last time I went to a club or a party. When we got to the party, I told my sister that I thought he’d be there. The thing is, I never go out and every time I did, I’d see him. There was something that made me believe he would walk through the door. As time passed by, I stopped looking at the door and decided to enjoy myself…and I did!
As we were leaving the party to go to the second location I heard my sister say ” OMG! Look who you talked up” (this is all a vague memory as I admittedly partied at the party). I remember seeing HIM as I walked towards my sister. I don’t quite remember his face or what I said BUT I remember the color of his shirt. It was turquoise. A turquoise v-neck t-shirt. Perhaps I only remember the shirt because I’m vertically challenged standing (drumroll please…) 5’1 and his shirt was in my direct line of sight. My sister claims I yelled out his name and was extremely friendly…which, by all accounts is definitely a result of my partying. I have no idea what I said but I know I felt happy to see this guy. So happy that I immediately sent him a comment on Instagram (yes, despite not speaking to one another for many years, we remain “in contact” thanks to the world of social networking) to let him know it was good to see him. He wasn’t quick to respond. It took him a few days but he did with his number. I don’t recall the entire response but I know he ended it with “holla” (I deleted the comment once I wrote down his number…to protect his privacy, of course).
I was a bit nervous when I sent him the initial text just as I was when I sent him that MySpace message all those years ago. I drafted the text using the notes app on my phone to make sure my words were just right. I copied and pasted the final version into a text and nervously hit send. …and so it began again
We made plans to meet up the same weekend. As the day approached I became anxious. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I changed my clothes several times as I got ready. It was raining off and on that day. I had an annoying headache the entire day but I was determined to get up and get there to meet up with him.
We talked for a little over an hour. In catching up it was obvious we’d both been through a storm or two over the years. It was good to see him. He was doing well. He had matured… His beard had patches of gray. His eyes still told the story of sincerity. Still genuine and trusting. He still slouched when he sat and nodded while I spoke to reassure me that he was listening. It’s crazy to not see someone for so long and feel like they never left. He was familiar to me. Listening to him talk reminded me of how much I missed hearing his voice. I’ve always liked his voice. He’s got an interesting accent. To me he’s got a mix of New York, Philly, and a touch of something else I can’t place. Nevertheless, it’s catchy but cute. I smiled slightly as I looked over at him as he talked about all the things going on in his life. I forgot how his lips kinda sorta curled when he talked. Maybe it’s not a curl but more like a pout. It comes and goes as he speaks. It’s his thing. I’m not sure he knows he does it or not but he does and he owns it. He was the same, but better. I missed him.
We walked together to the garage to get our cars. He walked with me to my car. I drove him to the garage where his car was parked. Before he got out of the car we did a quick pinky promise agreeing we’d hang out again soon. We hugged. He left.
As I drove home, I had a rush of emotions and thoughts. I knew I’d have to work hard to repair any ill feelings he may have from the past. I knew I’d have to allow myself to be vulnerable. I knew if anything would come out of us reconnecting I’d have to initiate communication and be as consistent as possible. I was willing to do that and I did.
We continued to talk…well text regularly. He opened up a bit and let me know, in so many words, he questioned my sincerity because of the past but was willing to give it time to figure things out. I understood. I would have felt the same if the shoe was on the other foot. I was up for the challenge because in my heart I knew if anyone was worth me fighting for it was this guy. I did my best to let him know how I felt. It didn’t bother me to have that responsibility. I was okay with that. I knew he’d eventually see that I was sincere and my intentions were genuine.
I heard this song “Lose Myself” by Marsha Ambrosius while on a flight. It made me cry because it was the song playing in my heart from the moment I saw him again. I sent it to him letting him know I thought about him when I heard it. I wanted him to understand how I felt.
Hearing it still makes me cry. I’m such a crybaby.
In my mind, things between us were good. Slow and steady… hearing from him brighten my day. Seeing him gave me something to look forward to. So much so that when he let me know he wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to hang out with me I fired back with a sarcastic comment that ultimately led to radio silence. Initially, I didn’t understand why he was disappointed in me… I was just being sarcastic. My good friend let me know my sarcasm most likely made him think I was calling him a liar. That definitely wasn’t the case or my intention. I don’t consider him to be someone who would lie about being sick or anything for that matter. He’s always been pretty straight forward, which is why not hearing from him has been eerily deafening. I apologized many times. Explained where the sarcasm came from and apologized again. The thing is, he’s the last person I’d want to disappoint because we have a past. I disappointed him then and it’s happened again. I don’t like the idea of history repeating itself over a misunderstanding. I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard to explain myself to anyone. Not even to my parents when I got in trouble as a kid. For whatever reason, knowing he forgives me is something I need to know. It’s a pretty shitty feeling to know you’ve disappointed someone you care about…especially when they won’t talk to you. I’ve been blindsided with silence and it’s a painful feeling. I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from him again but I hope he knows my apologies were sincere and it was never my intention to disappoint him with my words. I made a mistake. I AM sorry.
I’ve thought of season 4, episode 7 of “Sex and the City” every day since. The one when Carrie begs Aidan to forgive her for cheating with Big. Although my actions don’t mirror those of Carrie, I know they were just as severe because of his disappointment in me.
Forgiveness… I humbly wait for forgiveness. I wait for the hug to acknowledge I am forgiven.