July Fourth, 2012. My friend Andrew was having a barbeque. His new home was near a lake that I had no idea what the name was. Missouri may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Michigan is the Great Lake State, and I don’t know the name of half of them. One would think I would, having lived in Michigan for twenty nine years, my whole life.
I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be at Andrew’s party. One; his college friends were going to be there. I think I had only met one or two of them before, so there was no way I would remember their names. And B; my parents were coming, too. It wasn’t a PARTYparty. It was a regular barbecue. Sure, there’d be drinking and fun. But, there is only so much fun I can have around my parents.
As I walked into his house, all that was going on in his backyard sounded very interesting. Andrew knows how to have good time. I’ve been lucky enough to hear some of his college stories. He makes it sound like a “party” school. To me, it sounds like a school trapped under snow, being the school furthest up in the UP. Now, to you non-”Michiganders”; the “UP” would be the “Upper Peninsula”. I believe even farther than Northern Michigan University, which I thought was our farthest school. The good part of his school is being his friends. And the better looking of it. I cannot judge Andrew by his looks, having known him since he was born. It would be like judging my brother, if I had one. But, I could look at his friends. I could stare at his friends, judge their physic, sense their smells. If I wanted one of them, I could want one. They would be mine. I would make him mine, one of them.
The first thing that drew me towards Noah would have to be his hair. He had the cutest, bushiest, red beard. His mustache and beard covered his face, though he knew how to maintain it, keeping it nicely combed. He also kept his wavy, out of control red hair combed back, but under control. I couldn’t stop staring at him. I had seen him before, I know I had. He had a face you never forget. But, me being me, I knew I couldn’t speak to him. Until I had drinks in me. So I began.
Andrew and Noah were playing horse shoes, and needed two more people. I volunteered to be a partner. I had no idea the rules to the game; I had no aim at all. I did know that you had to be gentle, so I tried to toss as lightly as I could. My first shoe didn’t make it half way across the yard.
As the game continued, I began to learn there was actually a point to tossing this metal back and forth. There was even a score. I thought people just enjoyed hurling horse shoes around tiny poles for no reason at all. Just back and forth, back and forth, perhaps even aiming at each other. Andrew’s friend Mark was his partner, so he stood on the same side as me.
Suddenly, conversation began between Mark and me. He could see that I totally sucked at this game, so he started to give me some suggestions, thinking I actually wanted to improve my “talent”. I told him I didn’t really give a crap about this game; I was just here for the drinks. He thought that was funny. After that, we were in love.
Haha. Yeah right. But, we couldn’t seem to stop talking. I am the type of girl who is unable to have a conversation with a guy I am feeling attraction towards unless I have my friends around. I don’t need them standing next to me; I just need them in my general vicinity, to make me feel like I am not alone on this Earth. I need another person near me, so when I get rejected, I don’t have very far to back away to. I had no problem actually spitting out a full sentence to Mark, though. I know the few drinks I had had were also partially helpful. They probably explain why I don’t remember anything else that happened that night. Except that I got his number.
He had to return to school the next day, the farthest one in our state, of course to me, only moose and grizzly bears lived in our upper peninsula. No folk lived past Mackinac. Apparently there is more population in our UP. Man does live up there with moose.
I am so glad text messaging came to be. You can have so many long conversations throughout the day without actually speaking to someone. I was learning so much about him, I was telling him so much about me. The inner me was making her way out. I felt that I needed to see him, but he was away at school. Christmas was such a long way away. He wouldn’t even be down to give thanks with his family! Granted, it didn’t make sense for him to come home every weekend, like some people, since he was ten hours away. It would be a shorter flight, if I chose to go up his way. (I researched all this.)
We both seemed to feel that we needed to see each other, though. But how? The half-way point I could think of; Mackinac. I hadn’t seen our beautiful Mackinac Bridge since high school. It was a three hour trip, both ways. Three hours that I was willing to travel to see him. And he was willing to travel to see me.
The entire drive, I just imagined seeing him. I know I wanted to do more than just wrap my arms around him. I know that I wanted to kiss him. I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted to share a room with him. Or at least the same hotel. We weren’t even on the same side of the bridge. Stupid Mackinac Bridge had to stand in my way of who I thought was the potential love of my life.
The weekend went by too fast. I remember nothing of what we did, just that I could not look into his eyes. When I tried, I would feel a redness begin in my cheeks; my heart would begin to race at paces I had never felt before. I wanted to spend more days with him. I would have gone back to his dwelling with him, since I had nothing to do throughout my days. Work is difficult to find in these times, the reason I was still living with my parents. But he was in his last semester.
As we parted ways, I still expected our first kiss. The picture in my head I had of him was something that will not leave. I only came up to his shoulders, he was a tall man. We would look into each other’s eyes for a moment, silently saying our farewell. He would bend down as I would reach up, our lips would meet. Only for a few moments, I would be smiling, as we pulled away. Sadly, this did not happen. But our eyes did meet as we said our goodbye. He wrapped his arms around me, told me he wanted to do this again. I told him I couldn’t wait. His musty scent made its way into my nose. I knew he watched me as I walked to my car. I really didn’t want to return home. I’d rather live with him and the moose.
We continued to talk almost every day, mostly through texting. I can’t really converse on the phone with most people. I felt like I was with him throughout the day. We also emailed all of our thoughts to each other. I told him my feelings for him were growing; he said he was feeling it as well.
Our next chance to see each other came when, sadly, his grandmother passed. I know I shouldn’t have looked at it as a good thing, but I couldn’t wait to see him. It was even better because I was going to Chicago. When he told me that he would be there that weekend, I was thinking “Why Chicago? Isn’t that far? It’s a whole other state!” But when I actually looked at how far Chicago is from Detroit, it’s another mere three hours.
I had forgotten the wonders of Chicago. I had been there once before, also in high school. It was still just as dirty and amazing as I had left it. I was not there for their pizza, though it was delicious, I was there only for Mark. I don’t think we stop smiling once the whole time we were together. I wanted to spend the whole weekend with him, but sadly we couldn’t. He was down for his family. The hours that I spent with him, one of my favorite days.
As I drove away I could feel the tears start to build up in my eyes. Just from my thoughts of when I could see him again. He wouldn’t be home until Christmas, three months from now. I didn’t know if I could wait that long to see him. I am not a patient person.
We continued to talk daily. I needed someone to help me through my very boring days. Though I felt we were growing closer, I still didn’t stop looking around at whoever crossed my path. This meant I just stayed up late and looked at Match.com while watching Conan.
At least I thought we were growing closer. Suddenly, I began to feel ignored. One day it seemed like we spoke daily, the next I got nothing. I tried to convince myself that he was just studying hard for his upcoming finals. To me, no other females attended his school. Judging by the type of school Andrew described it as, figured the guy to girl ratio was more than likely in the 50:1 Mark, if they were even that lucky.
I was getting tired of initiating the conversations though. I was sending the texts and waiting for replies, at times I wouldn’t even get one. I emailed one day, just straight out asking him what his problem was. I tend to be able to get out what’s on my mind in writing. I wrote, rewrote the email and I believe it took me an entire day to actually send it to him, but I got my aggravations out to him.
A few days later I learned why: apparently there were other women at his school. He just didn’t have the balls to tell me that he and she had also been seeing each other. Although, they had the ability to see each other daily, where as I could only see him on his Facebook. They were in a relationship now, though. He hadn’t known how to tell me, since his feelings for me had been growing the same.
This was the worst my chest had ever felt. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from my screen for what felt like forever. I could feel my waters building. I wished what he had just written me I had received in the actual mail because I wanted to tear into a million pieces. I just threw my magazine across the room.
Fine. He had his happiness up there, I didn’t need him anymore. I immediately opened my cellphone and deleted his number. I was never going to call him. This also meant I didn’t need him on Facebook anymore since he was not a “friend”. I almost felt like deleting every picture I had taken of my Chicago and Mackinaw trips, but I really like how beautiful those cities are.
So this is what love felt like? Weird. If love pained, and I had never been in an actual relationship with anyone, I began to feel there was happiness in no one. Well, there was happiness in one. But it was not mine.