July fourth, 2012. My good friend was having his annual 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 do not know the name of half of them. One would think that I would, having lived in this beautiful state for twenty-nine year, my whole life.
I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be at his party. I think I had only met one or two of his friends before, so there was no way I would remember their names. It was just a regular barbeque. Sure, there would be drinking and fun.
As I walked into his house, all that was going on in his backyard sounded very interesting. He knows how to have a good time. I’ve been lucky enough to hear some of his good college stories. To me, it sounds like a school trapped under snows, being the school furthest in the UP. I didn’t even think there could be anything farther than Northern Michigan University, which I thought was our only school up there.
The good part of his school is his new friends. And the better looking of it. I can never judge him by his looks, having known him our whole lives. Judging him would be like judging my brother, if I had one. I could, however, look at his friends. I could stare at them, judge their physic, and sense their smells. If I wanted one of them, I could want on. They would be mine. I would make him mine, one of them, all of them.
Him and some guys 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. Just back and forth, back and forth, perhaps even aiming at each other. His 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 that I actually wanted to improve my “talent”. I told him I didn’t really give a crap about this game; I was just in it for the drinks. He thought that was funny. After that, we were in love.
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 that I am feeling attraction towards unless I have my friends around 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 my usual rejection, I don’t have very far to back away to. I was having no problem actually spitting out a full sentence to Mark, though. I know the few drinks I had had were also partially helpful. This probably explained why I don’t remember anything else that happened that night. Except that I got his number.
The next day, though, he had to return to school, the farthest one in our state. Of course to me, only moose and grizzly bears lived way up there. No folk lived past Mackinac. Apparently there is more population in the UP. Man does live up there with moose.
This began to make me more thankful for text messaging. I was beginning to learn so much more about his, I was telling him so much more about me. The inner me was making her way out. But I felt that I needed to see him, I didn’t care how far his school was. Christmas was such a long way away. He wasn’t even planning on being home to give thanks to 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 have been a shorter flight, if I ever chose to go up his way. I had researched 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 bridge since high school. It was a three hour trip, both ways. Three hours that I was willing to travel to see him. And that he was willing to travel to see me.
The entire drive, I just imagined seeing him. I know I wanted to just wrap my arms around him. I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to share a room with him. But we weren’t even on the same side of the bridge. Stupid Mackinac Bridge has to stand in my way of who I thought was the potential love of my life.
That 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 on my cheeks; my heart would begin to race at paces I had never felt before. I wanted to spend more days with him.
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, though. 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 this as a good thing, but I couldn’t wait to see him. It was even better because we were having to meet in Chicago. When he told me thing, I thought to myself, “Why Chicago? Why that far? That’s a whole other state!” but it is actually another measly 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 I stopped smiling once the whole time we were there 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 were one of my favorite days that I will always have.
As I drove away, I could feel the tears start to build up in my eyes. Just from my thoughts when I see would see him again. He wouldn’t be home until Christmas, three months from now. I didn’t know if I could wait until that long. I am not a patient person.
We continued to talk daily. I needed someone to help me through my boring days. Even though I felt we were growing close, I was still not looking around at whoever crossed my path. This meant I just stayed up looking at Match.com while watching Conan.
At least I thought we were growing closer. Suddenly, I began to feel ignore. One day, it seemed like we spoke daily, the next 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 my friend described it as, I figured the guy to girl ratio was more 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 the replies, at times not even getting any. I emailed one day, just straight out asking him was his problem was. I tend to be able to get my thoughts and words out better in writing.
A few days later I learned why; apparently there were other females at his school. He just didn’t know how to tell me that he and she had been seeing each other. Although, they had the ability to see each other daily, where as I could only see him through Facebook. They were in a relationship now, though. He didn’t know how to tell me, since his feelings for me had being growing the same.
This was the worst my chest has ever felt. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from my screen for what felt like forever. I could feel my waters building. I wish what he has just written me I had received in the actual mail because I wanted to tear it into a million pieced. I just threw my magazine across the room.
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.