Love Labor's Lost

volumes of mis-adventures

Is it really NEVER too late?

Crushes; dates that are one-sided; feelings that aren’t reciprocated. Yep, these things are all onomatopoeias: they sound just as bad aloud, as the feelings they embody. In the second semester of my senior year of undergraduate work, I met a grad student who seemed to be everything in my book. He was tall, with curly reddish brown hair, a little stubble for a brooding intellectual effect, with green eyes behind glasses, and a black and yellow trucker hat, that he still wears every time I see him. Anthony* was athletically built, but in a toned not overwhelming way, he biked everywhere, and played Ultimate Frisbee.

 

He was in a doctorate program, and two years older than me. A funny, charming, smart, easy to talk to and equally easy on the eyes, type of guy. He had a tenderness about him that could be misconstrued as self doubt, and a sarcastic bite that tickled my humorous fancy. Anthony may not have been fishing, but I took the bate and wouldn’t let go.

The week we met, it was Passover. We diligently congregated at the one place on campus that served matzah pizza for lunch, and as I was a fairly confident student leader in my element, I walked straight up to him, and his friend, and introduced myself. Finishing our not-so-filling lunch, we walked to class together, as Iowa quaintly placed the English and Philosophy departments in the English and Philosophy building down by the river.

***

We hung out again, this time after Passover, at my apartment. We ordered a delicious pizza. We talked for a couple hours. I thought it was a date, he left after his buddy texted him about a house party.

***

The night before I graduated, we met up again for dinner: Panchero’s. I thought, once again, that it was a date (maybe I should have watched this: http://www.traileraddict.com/clip/paper-heart/its-not-a-date), but, I was wrong. I had a crush, and slowly it was crushing. Our good-bye was beyond awkward. On a scale from one to Michael Cera, this parting was filled with one too many pauses, strange one liners, emotional ‘farewells’, and ‘good luck’ with life, and in the end an incredibly unfortunate side hug that had one arm trapped between our bodies, while my face was smothered by his t-shirt. We walked our separate ways as I sighed, with the theme of ‘another one bites the dust’ playing in my head.

 

***

It’s been three years. I spent a year in SF; he had a serious girlfriend; I’ve visited Iowa City a few times; he came to Chicago a couple of times; and throughout it all he has become my graduate studies confidante. A good, distant, and reliable friend. I rely on him to keep me going, give me advice, and generally for a laugh. Every time I would see him the feelings turned on like a faucet, but faded just as quickly when I left, and my normal everyday life resumed. Anthony became a temporal crush. Convenient in so many ways because when I was bored or needed a distraction, he was a text away and I felt giddy again, but nothing breathtaking anymore, nothing permanent: ephemeral. The distance, and the time, created a heartfelt strong friendship, and I have been content with that feeling, and that reality, for quite some time now, maybe even grateful for his presence in my life in that capacity.

With a slew of unprovoked texts, I seem to be caught in torrential downpour of doubt.

Anthony: Dear [my name], you are super cool. The end. Now go to bed. (it was ungodly late, or shall I say early (2) in the morning) Also, the world would be a better place if we lived in the same place. I think. That seems right. Yeah…I mean…you scare me. Cause I don’t deal well with commitment. And I think hurting you would break my heart.

and then after a few dozen texts: Come what may, can I tell you that I really really really like you. I think sometimes it verges on another word that starts with an L.

While I’m a fan of the word vomit, as many know, sometimes emotionally purging yourself to a lady is neither helpful, nor clear. I’ve been sitting on this for almost a full week now, and I’m a bit distracted, and a lot unsure whether or not this really changes anything.

Until next time, stay cool!

*names changed.

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