Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm not really that special

     When my sister was in high school, she was in the marching band. She and a few of the other members formed their own small "band" and they used to practice in our basement. My friend and I would sit on the steps and watch them, until my sister caught us and yelled until mom made us leave. My sister is four years older than me, so I was still in elementary school and she didn't want me around her friends. One of the guys was named John, and he quickly took notice of me. I was very naive and it was quite exciting to have an older boy (two years older) pay attention to me. We started talking and became friends. I knew he was attracted to me but I didn't feel the same way about him. We never discussed it but he must have sensed that I was only interested in friendship, because he never asked me out.
     My junior year of high school I was "dating" a guy named Kevin. I had always anticipated going to the prom so when we were juniors and could finally go I was excited about it. I brought it up one day and he said he was not going to go. He didn't want to spend money on a suit, didn't want to get dressed up and saw no point in going. I offered to pay for his suit and asked him to please go for me but he still refused. I got upset and said that I was going to the prom, with him or without him. I wasn't about to let him take something so important to me away. He laughed and said "good luck finding someone to go with, I'll make sure no one will take you." Well, that got me pretty angry so I was even more determined to go. Well, who should walk into school that day but John. He had graduated two years ahead of me and had stopped by to see the band director and his former band mates. He stopped to talk to me and could tell that I was upset so I told him what was wrong and he offered to take me to the prom. I was so happy to walk up to Kevin and tell him that not only did I have a date to the prom, but it had taken me less than two hours! Ha! John drove me home and we made plans for the prom.
     Despite what he'd done and said, I didn't break up with Kevin (even though I should have) so I made sure John understood that we were going as friends. I had no romantic feelings towards him and didn't want to risk our friendship so I wanted to be very clear. To his credit, he was a perfect gentleman and we had a good time. I knew he felt more for me than I did for him but he didn't try to push the issue.
     After graduation we lost touch and reconnected recently through Fac.ebook. He has had a rough life, especially in regards to women. He's been married three times and his third wife cheated on him (so did his second) and they were trying to work things out. Then one day he came home and she told him it was over and he had to find somewhere else to live. He's been feeling pretty low so I've tried to cheer him up. When we moved back to NJ a few of my friends from high school and I arranged a potluck dinner party, which we held at our house this past Saturday. Because John works in NJ but lives in PA, we offered to let him spend the night rather than driving all the way home late at night.
     I knew how John felt all those years ago but I guess I just wasn't prepared to see how deeply he still feels for me. I am definitely not bragging, because it made me very sad to see the almost palpable hurt in his eyes when he looked at me. I had told Russ everything and he was ok with John coming and spending the night but I think he was somewhat taken aback by the depth of John's feelings. He watched with such longing as Russ and I interacted and it hurt to know how badly he wished that were his life. He sent me a message and said what a great guy Russ is and how he's glad that I have such a happy life. He said it was obvious by the look in my eyes how deeply in love with Russ I am and that he's glad for us. I'm no longer that naive little schoolgirl and I can sense the pain he feels and I just want to tell him that I'm not as wonderful as he thinks I am. I'm moody and emotional and I'm sure I'm not easy to live with. He remarked at dinner that he'd been a fool for keeping his mouth shut and not asking me out all those years ago. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it wouldn't have mattered, I've only ever seen him as a friend.
     The dinner was such fun that we all agreed that we'd like to do it once a month or so and now I have a bit of a dilemma. Russ told me that he doesn't trust John and he insists it has nothing to do with how John feels about me. He said it's just a gut feeling and Russ is usually a very good judge of character but John has been a good friend to me. Russ said he doesn't have a problem with John coming over and even spending the night but he doesn't ever want me alone with him. I am absolutely fine with that but I'm a bit uncomfortable around him now. He has asked me and a mutual friend to set him up with someone so maybe if he starts dating again he will be happier. I sure hope so because my heart hurts for him. He's a very nice guy and he deserves happiness. I'm just not it.

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