Maybe it’s naivety, but one day you begin to realise that there are surprises everywhere in your life that you haven’t seen coming. The very definition of surprise, I guess. Most of the time we see only what we want to see though. You can read a situation and think that you know what’s going on, but do you really? You might decide one day that you know what you want to do for a living, but if it’s not what you truly want, aren’t you misleading yourself? You can like someone, but you know that there is absolutely no way that they’re ever going to like you back. What if part of you thinks that they do, are you conning yourself once more?
Perhaps we deceive ourselves because we like to be deceived. We want to believe something to be true so badly in that moment, that we end up kidding ourselves on. If we want something to be true, don’t all of us generally believe it to be true? It turns out that you can fool yourself, and whilst you might think it’s impossible, it’s one of the easiest things of all.
Haven’t we all been misled at some moments in our lives by others? It isn’t always your fault if you get things wrong or misjudge a situation though.
There’s a girl. We meet through work and whilst she’s pretty, there’s no attraction. You can find someone attractive without doing anything about it, right? Both of us, as well as others, have to interact over the next number of months on various different projects. Sometimes we all grab coffee or lunch together, and you realise the more time that you spend with someone, you enjoy their company more and more. Our work ends, but the relationship develops over time when we bump into each other randomly. One night in a bar, I’m out with my friends, she’s out with her friends, a lot of which are mutual, and we come across each other again. We hug, we chat, we catch up, and at the end of the night, a bunch of us head back to her flat to keep the night going.
It’s a late one and we’re all a little bit worse for wear. A lot of people crash out and I’m invited to stay too, and to sleep in her bed. It’s purely platonic, I’m happy to accept and not to have to fork out a fortune on a taxi. Two people in a king size bed, both hugging the opposite edges, we couldn’t have slept further apart. There’s a cuteness to it that makes me smile though, and I sleep.
As is the case after a heavy one, you wake in the middle of the night dehydrated. I get up, knowing that there are bottles of water in the fridge. As I reach the hallway, the front door opens and I smell the perfume before I see the girl. Fuck though, I’m just wearing Calvins. She closes the door and turns around. Hands down, she is the most aesthetically perfect girl that I’ve ever seen in my life. Think Margot Robbie multiplied by a thousand. She’s beautiful, mesmerising and dressed to draw eyes in her direction. She’s grinning at me, which is fair given my outfit, and I can’t concentrate. She introduces herself as the flatmate, let’s call her F, and she bravely leans in for a hug. Given my attire, I end up giving the shittest hug in history. It looks like I’ve shot myself in the foot within ten seconds of meeting her. A smile from her and an embarrassed grin from me follows, and goodnights are exchanged.
Sleep is difficult, there are butterflies. The morning comes, I get dressed, make coffee for my friend, say my thanks, we hug, and I leave. It turns out that I’ll only see her once more because she has to relocate for work, but she’s not who I’m thinking about. I don’t see the flatmate in the morning but I think about her more than I should. She has eyes that make me shy and has the gentlest whisper of a voice. I resign myself to the fact that I’ll probably never see her again.
A notification pops up on my iPhone the day after, from someone requesting to add me on Facebook but I don’t recognise the name. I click on it and I know immediately who it is. Isn’t it funny how one message can make your day a lot brighter? We don’t interact much though, and I put her out of my mind, tough as it is. I don’t have the courage to ask her out because it’ll be awkward when she says no. I’m 99% sure that she doesn’t like me in that way, but there’s always that 1% that keeps me guessing. You can want who you want, and that’s okay. The problem is that the other person can also want who they want.
Weeks and months pass, and she occasionally crosses my mind.
A night out with the boys isn’t a regular thing, but our calendars finally align and we arrange dinner and drinks. Party of five, three of us married, one soon to be engaged and a single man who sometimes thinks of someone he could never have. The night is suitably raucous, bars follow the restaurant, a nightclub follows the bars. Later, it’s time for a taxi and to head for bed.
The taxi queue is huge and guess who’s in front of me? It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, and at least I’m wearing more clothes this time. We catch up and we’re heading in the same direction, so she offers to drop me off on the way. Only an idiot would say no. We chat, and before I get to where I need to be, she asks if I’d like to come in for a glass of wine and some food? Again, only an idiot would say no.
Wine is poured and food is ordered. She asks me to stick a film on, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit is in her collection. No brainer, right? We drink, we laugh, we talk, we watch. I’ve seen this before so maybe my attention isn’t 100% on an animated character. At least not the animated character that you might think. She quotes the film regularly, could she be perfect?
The film progresses, and the doorbell rings just as F and Jessica Rabbit say at the same time, “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.” She goes to open the door and I whisper the next line, “You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman, looking the way you do.”
It’s only when she’s at the front door that I notice a photograph of her, a man and a baby.
She returns with the food and I ask about the picture. She looks at me candidly, and tells me that it’s her husband and her son and that both are out of town. She tells me that he cheated on her and that she wants to have her revenge, to get her own back with someone that she’s always liked. No need to worry, I’m only responsible for what I say, not about what you understand, she said.
My appetite is gone on both counts, time to go.
One of the things that I always wanted to happen, will never happen now. Who wants to be that guy? It could have been something that blossomed, but now it’s like dying flowers. It seems that some things that burn bright, burn short.