(Photo courtesy of the billyllama)
I've never found myself at the center of a love triangle. I have never had two men fight for my attention. So Saturday night, in the midst of pleasant conversation and the faint glowing pin pricks of light in the dark Queens night sky, I was surprised to see a text from C. He was sitting across the group from me.
"Are you with that guy?" I looked to my left. J. had seen the screen on my phone light up and C.'s name. I texted discreetly back with the truth. "Nope. We dated last year. Things are a little ambiguous now, but he's not quite boyfriend material."
J. isn't boyfriend material because he doesn't want to be. I am a believer in sparks and I have a hard time denying chemistry when it kicks me in the gut and then refuses to subside. I have always had that chemistry with J. but circumstances and technicalities kept getting in the way. And then there is my blatant fear of getting hurt again. Oh yeah. That.
Another text. "What are you and C. texting about?" In the warm April air, conversation buzzed around me but I couldn't even hear it. What the hell was going on here? "We're not?"
For the rest of the night, J. looked like someone had kicked his puppy. He tried to hold my hand and glared at me with wounded eyes when I refused. He tried to kiss my forehead when no one was looking and cowered away when I jerked at his touch. All the while, inside my head, I kept thinking, 'You are not my boyfriend. Stop acting like it. I will not be your hook up.'
The next day he asked if I'd meet him for a drink. After four games of pool and a round of beers, we headed out and I couldn't believe he hadn't brought up the previous night. So I did. "Do you want to talk about last night?"
"About how you keep trying to be touchy feely with me when we are not dating? You really confuse the shit out of me. One minute you want to be friends, then the next you want to just hook up, then you want to be nothing."
"Lauren, I like you. I have always liked you." Stopped me in my tracks. Huh? You like me?
He confessed that he had no idea how I felt about it, so I said I liked him, too. But that nothing had changed. I am in it for a relationship and I can not do the casual dating thing anymore.
"You're looking for something real," he concluded.
And with three words he lifted me straight into the stratosphere of hope. "So am I."