We sat there, drinks in hand, me wallowing, him trying to cheer me up.
"Don't you think he's sitting somewhere, regretting what he gave up?"
I shook my head. Looked over at him. So sweet. Trying to make me feel better.
"No, I don't." I wiped a tear from my face. Or not. Was I crying? Or did I just feel like I wanted to? I thought about my ex-boyfriend. Knew he'd probably already moved on. To her. Of all people. I seethed under my skin. And yet ... "I know it's right. I know we're not supposed to be together. I'm not even sad that we're over. It's just, ugh." I stopped. Started again. "We don't belong together." I went on and on. I could barely catch hold of my thoughts.
He sat there. We were sitting so close to one another. I could practically smell the beer in his glass. Me, with my cider, nearly gone. I watched as he took his final sip. He stood up.
"Another?" I think I shrugged. He smiled. I can still see it. Feel it.
"Yeah, sure. Thanks."
I watched him walk away. My heart jumped a little bit. I took a deep breath.
No, no, no. No, Andrea. No. You've been down this road before.
I'd tell him that, eventually. Months, maybe only weeks, later. I'd pull away. I'd feel overwhelmed. I'd feel terrified.
I couldn't risk it. I couldn't do it again.
I watched as he walked back to where I sat, drinks in hand. Friends of ours played pool nearby. I caught the eye of my closest friend, who winked at me. Shut up, I mouthed. My friend laughed and went back to his game. I probably stuck my tongue out, maybe even winked back. I was real mature. Still am, you know?
Looked back across the table, to my side. Wherever he was. Made eye contact, smiled without looking away. Threw back a few, face to face, playfully clinking glasses.
He reminded me, several times, what my ex had lost. Let go. Expressed concern for me. Confusion of how someone could give up so easily. Supported me. Told me I could move on. I would move on.
Maybe this memory is mixing with another. I had many a moment in that place. Maybe when I think back I can't figure out which night was which, in which moment I truly recognized what was going on behind those eyes of his.
He met my closest friends there. They swore he liked me. I said he had a girlfriend. They laughed it off. I had a boyfriend. They shrugged. They insisted. I laughed. Nervous. Giddy. Childish? A little.
Memories that flash back. The intensity. The attraction. The sparks. They never fade, even when we don't have the opportunity to ignite them as often as we used to.
Looking up at him, in that moment knowing that no matter how things progressed, he'd be someone in my life for years to come. Knowing, suddenly, that there were good guys out there. Who would validate and support you. And eventually, prove to you that love truly does exist and you - my dear, sweet girl - are worthy of it.
This post has been in conjunction with the Red Dress Club and their first memoir prompt: After you have died, your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see?