So, by now I think we're both aware how much of a wimp I am. I don't like conflict, embarrassing moments, or awkward conversations. So much that I'll avoid contact with people who will stir up any of those situations. I spent much of the following nine months after the "cheek kiss" incident doing this with both Jason and you.
Jason and I were still a couple. I can't speak for him, but I wasn't happy in our relationship anymore. I didn't see it going anywhere good. He and I didn't have the same morals, same ambitions, or same level of commitment to the relationship. I was just holding on still to avoid the inevitable drama of our breakup. Jason and I had gone through so much together. He had been my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first everything. I devoted so much time to him that I lost touch with some of my closest friends. And emotionally, I had been through tough times with him; when his mother and grandmother passed away, when my brother was incarcerated, and just the day to day issues of our teenage lives. We were growing up together and unfortunately, now we were growing apart. Every "I love you," "I miss you," and kiss was a lie that I told over and over, because of my stupid fear. Breaking up with him at that point, just before Military Ball, prom, his birthday, and his graduation, would be the biggest slap in the face ever. Especially if I then felt the urge to let you know how I felt about you, immediately afterwards. It would have been as though I cheated on him all along, and was just plotting for the most opportune time to break his heart into a million pieces. So, I put on my happy mask, and rode out the next few weeks, making sure not to ruin this special time in Jason's life.
By early June, school was winding down, and I was getting acclimated to the summer mood quickly. Jason had taken his finals early along with the rest of the seniors, so for the last two weeks of school, he wasn't around. And in confirmation of my emotional disconnection from him, I wasn't feeling all that bad about it. You would think I'd feel lonely walking by myself between classes, or not riding home with Jason, but it felt fine. I had survived before without a boyfriend, and his absence had proven I would be able to do it again, when the time finally came to say goodbye. Besides, if Jason had been around, one of the most conflicting moments of my life would never have happened. I remember the day fairly well.
June 2nd, 2010; a day before Jason's birthday. It was Wednesday, and we had a common schedule, meaning that classes were all a few minutes shorter, and we got out early, so the teachers could have a staff meeting. I dressed up that day, for the first time since I had started going to that school, because I had a presentation to do. Skirts were not yet my thing, but all day long I had received compliments from people. I hadn't seen you all day since, yet again, you were skipping class. It had been a pretty normal day. I had left the building after my last class, and realized soon I had forgotten to tell my mom about the common schedule. I decided to walk over to the benches on the side of the building so I could call my mom, and sit to wait. As I started walking, I spotted you in the distance. You looked up about a second later, and we made eye contact. We didn't say anything for a few moments. We just kept looking at each other. Then I smiled, and you smiled back at me, and yelled, "Hi!" from where you stood. I waved at you and yelled,"Hi!" back. I was walking towards you so we could talk, seeing as I had some time to kill. Before I had gotten to you, you turned to some guy I didn't recognize and said audibly, "That's number seven."
I sort of slowed down then, thinking to myself, Um, number seven? What was that supposed to mean? I guessed that I would just ask you then. By the time that I had walked over to you, you had pulled out your cards, and had two guys standing next to you. After you shuffled the deck, you handed me a random card from the deck. You then proceeded to do your trick. It was a standard "is this your card" type of illusion, except when you asked the question, they said "no." Then you looked at my card, snapped your fingers, and when I turned it over, low and behold, it was their card. Just another example of how smooth you are. The guys walked away, you put away your cards, and then flung an arm around my shoulders. We were walking towards the benches. "So Cam, guess what?" you asked in your most casual voice. "What?" I asked, non suspectingly.
"You're number seven on my f*** list."
Yes, I had to drop it like a bombshell, because everyone must at least come close to the emotions that I felt at that moment.When I say that my brain exploded, and died for three seconds, it is not at all an over exaggeration. When my brain restarted, it didn't even have a good response planned out. Every single question and comment I had after you said that, met up on the same convergence point in my head, smashed into each other, scrambling all the words into incoherent word vomit, which I then spewed up. I honestly do not remember my exact response to you, but I'm guessing the only intelligible word I managed to say was "what." I remember there being a lot of heat, particularly in my facial region. I might have taken ten seconds to confirm that it was indeed real life, then I walked away from you laughing weakly and mumbling "Yeah! Right!"
Now I am going to attempt to pose every question that I had for you when you said that, with the overall question being, "What the hell were you thinking?!" Okay, it's obvious you knew I had a boyfriend, who was your friend, and who you had a conflict with over you being too friendly with me about a month earlier. So what in the great stars made you think this was okay territory to step in? Then, for the lesser known information, you weren't single anymore, either. I knew at this point that you had been with this sophomore named Nicki for a little over two months. Why were you saying this kind of stuff to me while you were with her? And the fact that you just straight up said that you wanted to sleep with me led to this whole other issue. Was that all you wanted from me? Or did you actually have emotional feelings for me, too? And how long had you been thinking this way? But most of all, how could you think I'd have a good answer for you right on the spot?! I was struggling with figuring out if you liked me, and having this presented to me was way more of an answer than I needed! I mean, so many people who knew me and Jason were out there that day, and even if could have answered you, anything could have gotten back to Jason in a matter of hours. Then I was questioning if I even thought that was a good idea. I knew I wouldn't cheat on Jason, but if he and I weren't together, would I?
Answer: not immediately. Every moral I had embedded in me told me I wasn't close enough to you for that to be an option at the time, but you were someone I'd like to take that road with. I wasn't even able to work out all those questions until I got home later that night.
After I walked away from you, I found a nice isolated bench to sit down on and call my mother. Then I waited for her about twenty minutes, and I tried to gain control of my breathing all the while. Right before I left, you came to me again, spreading your arms wide, as if to say, Give me a hug. Against my better judgment, I obliged you. I didn't want you to think I was offended by your little comment, so I thought a hug would express that. But when you hugged me, you whispered into my ear, "I'm going to do it by senior year." Your voice was so strong and so smooth, and it sent a shiver up the back of my neck. I pushed you away from me as gently and playfully as I could, sort of groaning in false disgust. I'll be damned if you didn't swiftly reply, "You'll sound just like that." And somehow, I imagine you with an evil little grin on your face after you said that, regardless of if you actually did that or not. My entire face was red, and I couldn't look at you anymore. I mumbled goodbye, and practically jogged to my mom's car.
It was unbelievable how much information about you and your intentions I received from that one encounter. And worst part was, I wanted every last word to come true. I was feeling super guilty at this point. If I just went ahead and broke up with Jason, I wouldn't have to lock up my feelings any longer. It wouldn't get rid of your girlfriend, though. So I stuck out the final school events, trying to be the best girlfriend to Jason, while at school you were monopolizing on his absence. You were flirting so much with me, and I was only doing minimal things to stop you. I had to keep up appearances, you know. I remember we were sitting at a table once in ROTC, and I felt your hand rest on my knee. Even though no one else could see it, I knew I still needed to keep you from going too far, and I placed my hand on top of yours to remove it. Funny thing is, when I touched your hand, mine started to curl around yours instinctively. I quickly realized this, and corrected myself, pushing your hand off my knee. I was really losing control of my ability to be honest and faithful to Jason, because who I really wanted was you.
Eventually school ended, taking away all my temptation. But then I heard the bad news that you wouldn't be coming back to our school next year. Oh my little skipper, why couldn't you have toughed it out in class more often?
Well, now the only future romance I had was with my boyfriend Jason. Every bit of feeling I had for him had already evaporated though. For the entirety of the summer, I dragged out our breakup. Instead of just getting it over with, I started ignoring Jason and being less interested in our talks. I didn't go out of my way to show him I was thinking about him, and I wasn't concerned about seeing him. I even suggested that we take a break, which then lead to our first breakup. Yes, first, because with a year and eight months of us being together, Jason had learned which buttons to push, and he gave me the sweetest apology ever! I forgot all about the fact that I didn't even like him anymore, and we got back together a week after we broke up. Then a week after that, I remembered my real purpose, and did the slow breakup routine again. We finally split up for good in September, on the day of our one year nine month. The relief was grand. I had basically done my grieving over the relationship in the previous months, so emotionally, everything was cool. It was more dealing with making boundaries after that that became an issue, but I could write a whole other story on just that, so I'll move on before I start.
After about a month of being single, I felt ready for another relationship, and the only guy I had in mind was you. But I had no way to see you on a regular basis since you were at a different high school now. We also hadn't talked since the end of junior year, so it was a little awkward now. Luck was in my favor, though. You were coming to homecoming, and I had plans to find you and see if you still had feelings for me. I would have to be careful about how I did that, because you were still with Nicki. You two had been going out for about six months at that point, which was a huge improvement from your previous record of one month. For all I knew, you were completely into her and didn't even think about me. Still, I needed to try.
That was probably the worst homecoming I ever went to. I wasn't dancing much at all that night, though I did get to see you a couple times; once in the beginning while you were alone, and again when you appeared out of nowhere and grabbed me to come dance with you. I'm trying my best to tip toe around this subject, but you won't fully get it. You see, I had come with one of my best friends, and unfortunately, at the time she was pretty love sick over her first boyfriend. She was on my phone all night talking to him on MSN. And I was her ride, so ditching her on the boat, which had three floors packed with kids, was not a good option. So when she started wandering off when you grabbed me, I chose option "be a good friend', and went after her. Not the most fun moment, but I had to take one for the team. I should be glad she was still even around for me to claim as a friend, after I disappeared into the abyss of Jason.
After that I sort of went through a mini identity crisis, so I started buying new clothes and jewelry to express myself. I even got bangs cut into my hair, which was something I had been afraid to do, but I always wanted. I was also working on my confidence and accepting myself. I was definitely determined that the next time I saw you, I was going to wow you with the girl I had grown to be. Not changed, but amplified in my character. December came and I found out that you and Nicki were broken up. I really did feel sad for you. Eight months was a long time to be with someone and even as I plotted trying to figure out your feelings for me, I respected that you needed sometime to get over her. Soon, I wasn't hesitating talking to you because I thought you needed healing, but because I was afraid of rejection. Jason had done much of the "wooing" in our relationship, so having to be the aggressor this time around really made the whole affair an issue. I hadn't really had a conversation with you for months, and at this point I didn't know how to start talking to you again. I knew that you were the only one I wanted to take to prom, but asking you was huge to me.
So, I took baby steps. I started to like more of your wall posts more often, commenting on pictures, then worked up to planting little "I miss you buddy" messages on your profile. Every little bit was closer to me asking you. Soon it was March and I was becoming concerned someone else from school might ask you to prom, since you did have exes there. Then the unthinkable happened. You got back with Nicki.
On the one hand, I thought Nicki was a nice girl, and that she was the kind of low drama girlfriend that you deserved. On the other hand, this was really sabotaging my chances of going to prom with you. Technically, I could still ask you, since Nicki was only a junior and couldn't take you to prom anyway, and I could just be asking you as a friend. But it's so awkward asking someone with a girlfriend to prom, especially if you haven't talked much, except for playful banter on a social network. So I sadly was hanging up my dreams of possibly starting something with you.
I don't know or care what anyone else believes in, fate, karma, God, but that next day, something in the universe was working for me, and gave me a chance to redeem all my insecure tries at reaching you. When I thought I didn't have a chance, my phone buzzed in my hand, and I had received a text message.
That text message was from you, my friend.