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Endings and Beginnings

I met a girl a while back, and we became fast friends. We hung out, we watched movies, we took walks, we talked until 4am. We tried new things together and had a lot in common. We smiled, we laughed, and we cried laughed some more. I was as happy as I've been in months to have this new friend.

Then I kissed her. It was an intimate night, as I lay in bed with her, and our emotions were running quite high. It was the right thing to do - it was what I felt at the moment - and she later affirmed "it just felt right." She later asked me "where did you come from?" in that amazed "wow, maybe I found the one" sort of voice. We talked about how we don't get into relationships unless we think there's serious potential for a long-lasting relationship. I'm not afraid to admit that I was thinking long term: marriage, white picket fence, and a few little geeks running around. Not seriously thinking it, but thinking about it all the same. I was happier than I'd been in years.

It was a great two and a half weeks. Then it ended.

I'm not sure what changed, but she didn't feel comfortable anymore. I'd noticed it for a day or two (or three), and we decided to "slow down and back up." My mistake? Not asking her how much we were slowing down or how much we should back up. The answer, as I now understand it: slow down to the point of stopping completely, and backing up to about a day before I kissed her, or more, I guess.

I'm a firm believer in the whole "'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I blame her for nothing, and myself for everything, even though that's unfair. Nobody is to "blame" and nothing "bad" has happened. But I can't escape the part of me that wants to say "I should have noticed. I should have done what I could to make it easier for her."

She and I shared a magical two and a half weeks. If anything, the experience has made us closer. We showed that we could communicate, we showed that we could have an amazing, incredible time with each other. I wouldn't be opposed to going there again in the future, and I've told her this, because the hurt I feel right now is the good kind. Nay, the great kind. I got a peek at what I want from life, and I don't feel bad at all for having it taken back from me. Instead, I simply feel grateful for getting to share the experience with someone for whom I care a tremendous amount.

The number - and variety - of thoughts that pass through one's head in the hour or two following such an event (the "discussion") never cease to amaze me. Most often I've been witness to these thoughts, and not an active participant, as people often come to me with their problems. Oddly, this leaves me with nobody to turn to, as does my sense that talking about what's on my mind is selfish. And even more oddly, the person I most wanted to talk to was the very same girl whom I wanted to talk about. And so we did.

But back to the number and variety. Am I not attractive enough? This is a particularly difficult one for someone with fairly low self esteem regarding his appearance. Yeah, I'm a "great guy" but I'm certainly no Abercrombie & Fitch model, right? It's amazing how destructive and critical - even without a shred of proof - our own minds can be. Another popular one is how am I going to resist kissing her? Should I stop seeing her? Will it be too difficult? What's wrong with me? Why didn't I see this? There are a billion others.

Some (like those listed above) are quite easily answered, but the point I'm making here is that they keep coming up in my mind. Should I stop seeing her? No! But then it comes up again later. It's not doubt. It's more a matter of my mind going a thousand miles a minute. Sometimes I even chuckle at the absurdity of some of the questions, and sit amusedly by as right brain and left brain compete for attention.

A week ago, which itself was a few days after we decided to "slow down and back up," I spent two hours on my couch with her. We were awake, laying side by side, cuddling, legs intertwined. I was slowly, lightly kissing her neck, shoulders, collarbone, etc. I wasn't sure how far we were slowing down, and I wasn't kissing her lips, so I thought at the time that it was all okay. My hands roamed over the soft skin of her shoulder, pushing the spaghetti strap down her arm so that I could feel the skin of her shoulder more fully. My hands roamed over her stomach, my fingers through her hair, and my eyes over her face and body.

Even when I closed my eyes, and relied on the feelings coming through my fingertips, I couldn't help but think "this is one of the most beautiful people ever created." I still think that, of course, but that moment - those two hours - was one of the most intimate of my life. We're back to "just friends" for now, but we're friends that have shared a moment like that, and for that I am eternally grateful.

That may have been the moment I was happiest, but on the happiness scale of 1 to 100, that moment may have been a 99, and every other moment with her is in the 97 or 98 range, so it's really tough (and pointless) to rank them. Other moments that stand out include "it just felt right" and "where did you come from?", as is the middle-of-the-night kissing session that came between two of the most peaceful sleeps I've ever had on that first night we were "together."

I like to say that "I don't have any regrets, only intelligent observations about my past." I wish I had noticed that maybe she wasn't as comfortable with my definition of "slow down" as she could have been. I wish I could have had the discussion we had last night sooner, and I wish I'd realized that I was actually putting it off because part of me felt that it knew the answer, and it wasn't the one I really wanted. I regret nothing. I didn't make any conscious choices to confuse or hurt her. I only wish I could have been a better friend, or realized that that's what I needed to be sooner.

I'm left with these feelings. These "I was falling in love with this person" feelings. I feel I've got to shut those off, and I feel like that's unfair to me. It's not, though, because if I know one thing about love, it's that it's not selfish. A great person - the kind I aspire to be - puts those he loves before himself. I love her, and was falling in love with her. Two shades, one romantic and one platonic, but both love. I'm reminded of a bible verse that hangs in her kitchen window:

Love is always patient and kind;
it is never jealous;
love is never boastful or conceited;
it is never rude or selfish;
doesn't take offense and it's not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people's
sins but delights in the truth;
it is always ready to excuse, to trust
to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end.
- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Tucking those feelings of love beyond the platonic variety of love is not a burden. In fact, I feel privileged to have experienced them, and again, even happier to have shared them with someone with whom I'm still close. I can't say that there won't be awkward moments - moments where my mind will say both "kiss her" and "whoa man, back up a little" at the same time - but as she said last night, we're both intelligent people with decent senses of humor. We'll get through. After all (corny alert), we have each other.

Besides, if nothing else, all of this gives me a chance to test my theory. 🙂

9 Responses to "Endings and Beginnings"

  1. Whoah. I know how you feel about being 'attractive' enough. However, I say fuck afecrombie and bitch mentality. I am what I am, and I'm not going to change to get laid or whatever people change for.

    I know how you feel about how much is 'going back' and I've been there before. It's weird, and really uncomfortable. But it happens.

  2. Hey dude, sorry to hear about it. Been there, doen that, wrote the book on it. A while back I went through an interesting (in the chinese curse way) time, prompting much writing (see "Geek Self Doubt"). End result is a) it's a learning experience, b) it sucks c) no one can give you advice on it.

  3. What Blogs Need

    Most blogs today need more thought provoking, touching content like this post. It's rare that you find topics this deep

  4. That was a beautiful post and I'm sorry for your loss. I've always hoped for a relationship with someone who felt that way about me. I hope your friend realizes what she brought to your life. And what she's now missing.

  5. All I can offer is that something similar happened to me once upon a time. I spent about a year in limbo, and finally did break it off completely. However, in the aftermath I met someone else (or I should say she took interest in me), and we've now been dating for 4 years. They've been the best of my life, but I never could have seen that before.

  6. There is one thing that I will always remember about the Corinthians verse: hope. I hoped... I loved... I hoped some more. I didn't go crazy, I didn't stalk - hell, I didn't even live in the same country for a while. In the end, I married that girl (years later). It has at times been hard, but true love always stays the course, for love endures.

    Suffice it to say, you never know what will happen.

  7. isn't it obvious? you obviously are a lame kisser!

    j/k, you sound like you are looking too hard. Relax, it'll all happen in it's own time my friend. I was on the verge of becoming a monk after a failed engagement when it happened to me. It turns out, as you get older, women appreciate the inside too! 🙂

  8. I have a similar situation (check my blog for entries containing the subject "Priscilla"), except it's been going on 4 weeks and we haven't yet kissed or done anything else.

  9. I envy you.

    And yeah, beautiful story indeed 🙂