JUST A COUPLE OF TWENTY-YEAR-OLDS

A lifetime ago, I met a young lady through a friend from work. We had gone out as colleagues to enjoy a meal and a few alcoholic beverages, and she came along to meet her friend who was in my team. I will not overplay her entrance in the restaurant, but it was quite cinematic. She had, and probably still does, this magnetic aura. I remember looking at her with my mouth open and I also remember not being the only one at my table. Men and women gawked at her, and we all agreed we couldn’t help but stare at her.

I looked at her as she walked towards our table and I remember her eyes, her smile and her gracious walk with her high heels. She sat and introduced herself. I tried my best not to stare like an idiot and I am not sure I succeeded. Sometimes, we meet people with such beauty that we become stunned for a while, and it takes us a while to recover.

She was cute, with a bright smile, an affable personality, and playful eyes. I looked at a buddy of mine sitting across from me and we both nodded, as dudes so often do, saying to each other without talking, “Yep! This woman is trouble and we’re in trouble!”. We sat there and continued our chitchat. She was skilled enough to engage in conversations with anyone and within a few minutes she felt like a member of our work team. As we were leaving, I don’t remember anybody not being drawn or attracted to her. For editing purposes, I will certainly refrain from talking about her physique because the text might become longer than it should. Moreover, I would like to keep this text PG!

It was before all this smartphone/social media frenzy. There were no DMs! One had to go up to the person, look them in the eye and ask them for their number! So, I summoned up all the courage I could find in my bones, and I asked her for her number. I remember feeling vulnerable, fearing the rejection, back when I was still fearing rejection, but I stood my ground. She smiled and said “sure”. So, I opened my Sony-Ericsson phone, and I took her number down. As I was going home, I was wrestling with the usual guy questions…” How soon before I text?”, “How is she going to interpret this?”, “Am I going to look desperate?”, etc. The usual somewhat stupid questions that I don’t ask myself anymore, but they were fun. The next day, I spoke to her, and she agreed to meet with me. We went for a dinner and a movie. At the end of our date, we kissed, and it felt like heaven. I mean, this hot and kind chick was kissing me! I guess young twenty old guys don’t need much to be happy, at least, I didn’t. Anyway, we met a few more times and you know…

Then, on our fifth or sixth date, she dropped an atomic size bomb on me; she had a boyfriend, but things weren’t going well, apparently or allegedly. Thinking back, I don’t know if she lied to me or if she manipulated me or if she played me or whatever else she wanted to do. I was flabbergasted, angry, disappointed and a bit hurt. I thought I was the only one! Anyway, she wanted us to keep seeing each other and I couldn’t believe my eyes, ears and heart! I wanted to scream at her “Bitch, are you crazy??? You are in a relationship with someone! Thou shalt never covet thy neighbor’s wife!”. But…she is the one asking for the relationship to continue; her dude wasn’t my neighbor, and I didn’t know him, so fuck him! Who cares? I know I didn’t! Therefore, the physical relationship carried on for a while albeit with a smidge of guilt in my heart but not enough to stop me from seeing her at least once a week for a few months! And as things go, the physical relationship, given enough time and that is subjective, brought up an emotional component so we became intimate in more ways than one.

Introspection, life experience, growth and the ever changing and evolving world allow me today to look back at that situation with a different pair of eyes and it’s astonishing. I was in my early twenties. I was young, inexperienced, easily impressionable, unsure of myself, and I was still following the standards set by others, not by myself. When I was seeing this young and gorgeous lady, I remember I couldn’t tell the difference between attraction, infatuation, love, and lust. To this day, eons later, I am not sure I could adequately define what or how I felt about her. Perhaps it was cocktail of all those feelings. Who the fuck knows? The lessons we learn along the way are priceless…

One afternoon, she came to my place, and she started crying. She told me her boyfriend was cheating on her. She had caught him. She looked devastated and hurt. Yet, I couldn’t help thinking she was also being unfaithful to him, so how could she be that devastated? The stench of hypocrisy emanating from her and myself filled my tiny apartment. Well, according to her version of events, because I never spoke to the guy as you might have deduced, he wasn’t a caring and kind guy. He was the asshole type. And he wasn’t the first asshole/macho guy she had dated. He must have been the third or fourth. I did my best to console her even if I didn’t know what to tell her to make her feel better. I guess it was at that exact moment the weight of my wickedness really hit me. I did feel like an asshole. Then she said something that hit me harder than a mad bull in a Spanish corrida.

“Why can’t I be with someone like you?”

It really hit me, and I felt anger rising in my bloodstream. I asked her what she meant. She simply answered she wanted someone kind and caring like me. For some reason I cannot explain why her description of me pissed me off so royally. Then I got it.

The past months we had spent together, I was lobbying hard for me to be boyfriend number one. I did try to make myself into a better man than her actual man. She would tell me what her man had done, and I would try to do the opposite somehow, even if I wasn’t comfortable with it. I was trying to be the exact opposite of her man, which at some point, became simply stupid and tiring. I almost lost myself in that goddamn process. I tried to get her to dump him so we could be together. I tried to be as great a boyfriend as I could. I tried to make her fall for me. I tried really hard to no avail. I tried and I failed repeatedly. Yet, I suppose since my intentions weren’t pure so to speak, since I was doing stuff for someone else and for someone who didn’t seem to care as much as I did, things never went as smoothly as I had hoped. She was never to blame for me being stupid. I was to blame for crying out loud.

Then, when she said that sentence, I had an epiphany; no matter what I did, I felt she would always go for the asshole type. Well, maybe not anymore, at least I hope, she is in her 30’s now. If she still likes assholes, she needs therapy. We were not meant to be together, and I couldn’t let go because I was attached to her; I had feelings for her, but I guess not strong enough for me to lose my dignity over. We kept talking and she left. I decided to end the charade I called a “relationship”. Call it pride or standing up for myself or awakening, call it whatever. I had to stop.

I also think the guilt of sleeping with another man’s girlfriend/wife got to me. Moreover, she was breaking up with him continuously for months and they never actually broke up. Perhaps that should have been a clue as to the situation I have put myself in so nicely.

There are no bad or good people in this story, at least not in my eyes. Sure, for a moment I thought she was bad, and I was good. Then I was bad, and she was good. Nevertheless, I don’t see this story as anything but a couple of twenty-year-olds who were learning about life and especially about themselves. In all fairness, the young lady was kind and caring and I do believe she cared about me. I believe I cared more about her than she did care about me, but I cannot fault her for that. We are all different and I have learned to never hold people’s feelings against them, except when those feelings are dipped in pure evil….

Moral of the story? I don’t know. Live life, make mistakes, don’t be an asshole to people and learn. Have fun in the process and especially, if you see a hot woman, just go up to her and ask her for her number. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Her saying “no”, that’s about it. And the best thing? Well, you might find yourself in a weird yet somewhat fulfilling relationship. You never know what might follow! Enjoy life!

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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