I confess that I am a shit person.
I strung along Zechariah Symonds for four years, without thinking about his feelings or how my actions would degrade him. This boy is the first person I could really talk to. Like…three hour conversations on a school night. He’s the first person I told about my romantic experiences, which he then provided back some of his own. That level of honesty and comfort was great, but his best feature was his personality. His looks were an entirely different issue. His eyes were a dim green, hidden behind dirty glasses. He never got his hair styled. Worst of all, he got hit hard with acne. I mean, I-can’t-bring-myself-to-kiss-you, bad. I secretly wanted to give him a makeover in high school, but he transferred schools before I could propose the idea.
I know my reasons are shallow because I am shallow.
I could see myself with him when I was thirty. By that time I would have either given up on true love or settled for a friendship that could lead to something more.
I started to develop the warm and fuzzies for him before I went to Azusa Pacific University. He was aware that my mom was hyper protective and he wasn’t okay with it, but he at least understood the precarious situation I was in until I moved away. We went on micro dates. One hour at his house, two hours at the mall (with my mom trailing closely behind), a single movie at the movie theater.
For his birthday my mom allowed me to spend a couple of hours at his house. This bargaining for time thing, was the bane of my existence, but whatever…at least I could see him. We ended up watching one of those terribly unfunny Netflix comedians. I put my legs across his lap. We ate leftovers that his mom brought us. As predicted our time was coming to a close and I was wondering if he was going to kiss me…no not wondering…dreading it. (My first experience wasn’t the best). He hugged me and I got a whiff of his minty cool deodorant. I looked up and he leaned in to kiss my forehead. Butterfly wings, wasp stingers, toadstools, crocodile spikes, dolphin-crack!
I forgot about him when I started college. He messaged me sometimes and I always answered, but I figured he was on his ninth or tenth girlfriend, so it wasn’t worth becoming a statistic.
“You’re a four.”
He got my attention during midterms. We talked about him visiting me at the University, but I was surprised when he took me up on the offer. He took the metro and two buses to get to me. He shaved his face, because he knew I didn’t like bearded fellas–rug burn isn’t attractive.
The way I greeted him was awful okay. I deserves a brick thrown to the head. I treated him like he was a burden.
He was sweet and energized by the fact that he was finally seeing me.
I wanted to control the situation in a timely manner. I carted him off from place to place just so I could get to the end of the day faster. When the end of the day finally was upon us we were sitting in a quiet outdoor amphitheater. The sun set expressing itself in brilliant hues of mauve, gold, and vermilion. He tried to snap a picture of me. Forever memorializing my shit self. I knew I didn’t have time for him and for this whole dating thing. I wanted him gone. I wanted this to shut down. Forever closing the possibility of any further romantic interest. So I reduced him down to a number on the invisible scale that everyone has referred to at least once in their miserable lives. Let’s play the rate game.
“I give you a four. I like your personality” I said.
Damn. Shoot her. She’s awful.
He took the bus home in the dark. I long boarded to the theological library and ugly cried into some of the reference books.
As you can expect there was barely even a friendship after that. It took me a year and some change to realize that I needed to apologize because that shit is bad karma. I couldn’t have that in the universe. Summer of my Sophomore year, I reached out to him apologizing for my selfish actions. He forgave me. We dipped into each other’s lives little by little until it was like nothing had changed. We had our long phone calls again. He just got out of a relationship and I confessed that my initial fear is what kept me from pursuing any relationship with him. Mistake.
We made plans to meet each other halfway, at Central Station. I met him and that old persistent need to control kicked into overdrive. I shuffled him all over chinatown. In the dull moments he tried to hug me or kiss me, but I evaded. I either turned my head at the last minute or blamed my revulsion to proximity on the summer heat. It was just too damn hot!
If I kept moving then maybe it would end. I just had to get through this day.
When we finally made it back to central station he asked if we could talk a bit. Sure, fine, whatever. I led us to a bench outside and we talked about the heart of the matter. He sat there for two hours listening to me go over the pros and cons of starting a relationship. The sun sank behind a willowy tree as butterflies kissed its leaves. We ended with, “I don’t know maybe.”
He wasn’t surprised, but a mustard seed of hope he kept.
Netflix and Sleepover
We remained in contact but we barely talked due to how much time our significant others took up. We mainly told each other how happy we were.
Eventually both our worlds crumbled within a few weeks of each other. I thought I was done yanking his chain, but apparently I had one more ruse in me. I wanted to legitimately see him and I didn’t want him to take the bus home in the dark. So I asked if he could sleep over. We had two couches and how often would I have almost a full 24 hrs to hang out with one of my friends? This is why you choose your words carefully friends. I put the idea out there and I let him think what he wanted.
He came we acted like two human beings who have been friends for years. Which isn’t a lie, it has been eight years since first we met.
In a quiet moment he told me that I had left him in an ambiguous place since Central Station.
Oh, yeah? Sorry man.
“We’re friends” I said.
“Thank you for clarifying” he said.
I swung my legs across his lap and we watched Netflix.
It’s funny how you draw up an image of someone in your head and when you actually see them your like…nah.