I walked by him at a party, surrounded by strangers and the piercing sound of rap music that I had no interest in listening to. I had never seen him before, despite him being in the same grade as me.
“Beth’s the kind of gal you take home to your parents,” he drunkenly announced to his friends. He showed me off as we talked for a bit and something about him drew me in. Drunken conversations usually don’t have much of an effect on me, but for some reason I never wanted this conversation to end. I was into him, like, really into him.
“I wish I had met you sooner,” he confessed.
Leaving the party, I had instantly regretted not getting his number. I don’t know what it was about him, but something had stuck with me. I didn’t kiss him, I barely even touched him. I just hoped I would see him again.
He eventually became just another drunken encounter in my mind, and I allowed myself to forget about him as the end of senior year was quickly approaching. The following weekend, my friend tapped my shoulder and said, “Beth, isn’t that the kid who told you that you were wifey material?” I looked at her with confusion, my memory being fogged by the vodka soda that I had just quickly drank. She pointed over at him, and I looked. It was him.
I wish we had met sooner.
I told her I was going to the bathroom, but I was really just going in the direction of him, hoping that he would notice me and say hello. I started running into him every time we went out, but it was usually just a brief hello drowned out by the loud music and flashing lights in the background. I briefly acknolwedged him and we, again, parted ways. However, the anticipation of seeing him never seemed to die out. (Do I sound crazy yet?)
After countless run-ins at the bar, I had just expected to see him out by this point. He approached me one night and said, “I have been thinking about you a lot,” he admitted, “You’re just one of those girls that never really left my mind.” The words sounded genuine, but I wasn’t entirely sure of his intentions and I told him I felt the same way. Our conversation was nothing less than enjoyable, as we stood next to a few guys shooting pool. The feelings of our initial encounter came back, and once again, I never wanted the conversation to end.
So, it didn’t. We went back to his place that night.
The night I spent there wasn’t forced, it wasn’t uncomfortable, it wasn’t something that I regret. We stayed up and talked for hours, and I felt myself wondering what he was thinking about. He called me beautiful, he admitted to creeping me on Facebook after the first night we met, he told me he couldn’t stop reading my blog, that I was a fantastic writer. Was I just another girl to take home, or was he kind-of-sort-of-weirdly feeling the same type of connection that I was?
“I wish I had met you sooner,” he said once more.
The days after our night together sort of felt like a dream. Our texts back and forth were like a game of ping pong. Natural and fluid, but entertaining. He expressed interest in seeing me again, being forward in wanting to spend time together. However, I didn’t really expect much, because, are we ever really supposed to?
I felt myself wrapped up in this weird connection that I had been feeling that looking back, the words “I wish I had met you sooner,” should have stung. They should have been a red flag, a chance to escape the connection that I was feeling and solidify the fact that this was nothing.
I was kind of expecting something to come out of nothing.
I waited for his text the next day, and the next day after that. And the next day. But it never came. Ok, I thought, he’s clearly not into me, fine.
“Are you staying up in Amherst this week?” The notification popped up in my iPhone and I hated myself for smiling at it. “Yeah I am,” I replied.
Honestly, why did I care so much about this random person, and why was I sort-of-kind-of hoping for something to come out of it? I couldn’t say that I “liked” him, since our conversations mainly occurred under a few drinks deep, but sometimes it’s impossible to escape the feeling of hoping for something that seems out of reach.
He shouldn’t have mattered, but for some reason, he did.
He seemed to have lost interest pretty quickly, so I did too. I was no longer a “girl that he thought about a lot,” I was just another girl. Throughout the week, he texted me a couple of times but only to inquire what bar I was going to. There was no conversation and the interest that was once there seemed to diminish.
In his eyes, I was just another girl.
Two can play this game, I thought to myself. I strategically delayed my text response and eventually invited him over one last time the night before I left Amherst for good, and I was a bit nervous to get myself wrapped up in the fake connection that I had believed to be true all this time.
To my surprise, I didn’t feel anything. Although, I was sort hoping he would. We woke up the next morning, and he was quick to make his exit…not to my surprise.
“So, when are you planning on moving?” he asked the next morning as I walked him out.
“Um, this summer at some point.”
“Oh, OK, well we don’t live too far from each other, so maybe I can see you before you leave.”
I smiled and awkwardly kissed him goodbye, metaphorically saying goodbye to the college dating culture that has become all too familiar.
And, that was it. I would love to tell you he texted me immediately after, wishing me luck with everything, reiterating the fact that he wanted to see me again. But, he walked away and that was the end of the kind-of-sort-of weird connection that I had built up in my mind so quickly. It was the end of wishing something to come out of nothing.
At some point in our lives, we have all experienced a connection you can’t quite describe. We have all encountered that one person that you wish to see again and wonder if they feel the same way. I don’t know how he felt, or if I was just another girl in his mind. I don’t know if he wanted the conversations between us to end, or if he wanted them to last forever in the same way that I did.
It was senior year, so the timing was bad, I suppose. However, is there ever really a right time for anything? There are always things that you wish you had done or said sooner, people that you wish came into your life a little bit earlier. There are always going to be those people who you wonder if the “drunk words are sober thoughts,” statement rings true for them, or if they simply use the same lines on every girl they meet.
Or, maybe, there was never a connection. Maybe I just wanted to be someone’s somebody. Maybe I just wanted to hope for the impossible, because, don’t we all at some point? I know you told me that I was a “wicked awesome girl,” but I suppose I wasn’t awesome enough.
I don’t hate him, there are no hard feelings between the two of us. In fact, I think he’s a great guy. Disappointment has no perpetrator, it’s an emotion that we set ourselves up for. I’ll probably never see him again, and if I do, I’m sure the acknowledgement will be brief, if there is one at all.
I didn’t want nor expect it to turn into anything, but do we ever? Do we ever meet someone at a bar or a party and think “Yeah, this guy’s totally gunna fall for me.” Not usually. But, maybe that’s our problem. Maybe our problem is that we always expect nothing, even if we want to hope for something else.
Perhaps I do wish I had met you sooner, maybe the “nothing” would have turned into something if the timing was right. Or maybe I would have realized the connection was constructed out of the simple desire to feel wanted. I don’t know what would have happened, but I guess neither one of us will really ever know. Maybe I just wanted to expect something to come out of nothing because I was simply tired of expecting the latter.
Maybe I just wanted to be more than someone’s “sometimes.”