The following was written based on memories (and I’ve had drinks since then). Names have been changed to protect the author. Catch up on part one here.
In college, I kept in touch with Eric. I had a tendency of drunk dialing him after late nights at Fred’s bar, and he would answer, also drunk. At times, he’d pass the phone to his roommate (who I also imagined being attractive), and we would drunkenly talk until Eric returned on the line.
Not soon after, the evil Mark Zuckerberg introduced the world to his college-exclusive social network, Facebook. It was then I got to see what everyone in high school had been up to, and what they were currently doing; no matter how real or fake it was.
At one point or another, Eric and I were talking a lot – whether it was by cell phone or AOL Instant Messenger – we were going to pick up right where we left off. I was graduating that December, and I was planning to fly home to Indiana for the holidays just a few days later.
Eric offered to pick me up from the airport and bring me to his apartment for the night. I agreed. I hadn’t seen him maybe but once since high school – we had some catching up to do.
My plane landed in Indy, and as I walked toward the baggage claim, I saw so many people running toward someone waiting, there were hugs and kisses, and I was just there, alone. But as I rode down the escalator, there was Eric. He was wearing a black pea coat, and he looked just as handsome as I remembered.
I smiled, picked up my pace, and gave him a giant hug. Once we got to his apartment, we took shots of Jagermeister, and went upstairs to his room. It didn’t take long for things to fall into place. We’d hooked up many times before, though not had sex, but I was ready to DO this.
Naked, on top of him, it was looking like it was about to happen. But, then, it just didn’t. We fell asleep, and a few hours later, he woke me up by way of putting his #%*! between my $&/?. Up to that point, it was one of the most intense sexual experiences I’d had. But we still didn’t do the deed.
The next morning, he drove me to my mom’s house in Greenwood. We said our goodbyes, and that was the last time I saw him for several years.
After the holidays, I went back to Louisiana, where I moved into my first apartment. I really did like Eric – he was a teacher and a basketball coach – he had this sense of small town stability that was sexy to me. I don’t necessarily know how we clicked, but we did. He was sweet, and he always made me feel attractive.
But clearly, distance wasn’t on our side, and we both sort of agreed that it just probably wasn’t our time. I had no hard feelings. I was bartending, and doing freelance writing jobs while I looked for a 9-5 job. Eventually, I started dating someone, and quickly fell in love. Eric was off my radar.
Thanks to Facebook, I could see that Eric was in a relationship, too, and per usual, it looked pretty serious. He was dating someone from home, she was his sister’s friend, which was kind of weird in an after-school-sitcom sort of way. I didn’t know her, but had heard of her though mutual friends.
Regardless, it wasn’t my business. Although I thought of him randomly over the years, I tried not to pay too much attention when he eventually got engaged, married, and moved states away with his wife. From what I could tell, most of my classmates were falling into a similar pattern – because that is what you do when you get older; you get married, get a house, and start a family.
Years passed, and I didn’t talk to Eric. I still had no hard feelings toward him, but it was clear our paths were done crossing.
Until they did, last summer.
I blame SnapChat, because this is how we reconnected. I snapped a selfie as I was heading into work. I had been let go of my 7-year salaried job, and was back to job hunting while working 60 hours a week of retail to make ends meet.
“You look great!” he replied to the snap.
It was random, but okay.
I replied back with another selfie that read, “Thanks!”
He sent back a selfie saying, “You’re welcome!”
In the quick time the snapped selfie was alive, I analyzed what I could. He appeared to be in casual clothes, it was at night, and he was on a couch or in a recliner of some sort. He still looked as handsome as ever.
But… where was his wife? Taking a selfie is kind of obvious, so surely she wasn’t sitting there snapping selfies in front of her, right?
I tried not to think too much of it, and went to sleep.
Over the next few weeks, we communicated via SnapChat off and on; nothing serious. But one night, I had a dream with him in it. He was running toward me, wearing a white medical jacket, and once he ran up to me, he asked me if I was going to watch “the big game”. I remember thinking, no, probably not, but I told him I would. He said something else I can’t remember, smiled, and ran off.
I told him about it the next day on SnapChat. He replied via text, “We could just text,” he said. Truthfully, I didn’t even know we still had each other’s numbers.
We texted some, but the more we talked, the more I was wondering about his wife. Where was she during all of this?
Admittedly, I’ve had some experiences with married men in my past. I’m not proud of them, and it’s not something I’m aiming to continue to do, as it never ends well, and of course, it’s just not right and it’s not who I want to be.
So, I asked one of my girlfriends from 7th grade about it.
I explained that Eric had been texting me, but what about his wife?
“There haven’t been any pictures of them together on Facebook in a while,” she said. “I don’t think they are together.”
I figured Eric would tell me if he felt it was necessary. And he did. However, that story is his and not mine to tell. I’ll just say that I felt terrible for him.
His divorce was pending paperwork, and he’d moved back to our hometown, as he’d gotten a job in the same place we’d first crossed paths – that gigantic school.
I couldn’t believe it! Things were oddly coming full circle; I was sad for his divorce, but I was happy for his new job opportunity. He’s one of those people that was made to be a leader, plus he looked really great in a suit.
We talked for months, mostly by text, but sometimes on the phone. It was mostly just friendly chatter, but it certainly was nice to talk to someone at the end of the day. He was open with me about the pain of his divorce, and I was struggling to find a full-time job.
But eventually, I did get a job, and he talked me through my move to Texas, and texted me good luck on my first day at my new job.
During my first two weeks in Texas, my apartment wasn’t ready, so I was living in an Extended Stay off I-35. I was living out of a suitcase, eating frozen dinners, and watching homemade marathons of Gossip Girl from the hotel bed. One night, Eric Facetimed me.
He had a creative project at work he needed help with. I was happy to help, although he later said his coworkers didn’t go for my ideas.
One night, I was driving home from work and I called him. He answered, on speaker phone.
“I’m in the car with Aaron,” he said.
Aaron went to high school with us.
“I’m about to drop him off in Taylorsville,” he said. “Can I call you back then?”
“Yeah, of course,” I said.
When he called me back, I had to ask the obvious.
“Was Aaron like, uh, why is Holly Phillips calling you right now?” I asked.
“Yeah, I told him I we were talking,” he said, nonchalantly.
I supposed we were talking, but I didn’t think he thought of it that way. I was used to crushing on guys that wanted very little to do with me.
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He said it was great, because we’ve always had something,” he said.
He had a point.
It was October, and I wanted to make it a point to get to Indiana sometime soon to see Eric. I wanted to see if there really still was something there between us.
For a few weeks, we got to talking every day. We talked on the phone a lot, and sometimes had Facetime dates on Friday nights; we would have drinks while on the phone, and it nearly felt like we were really in the same room.
Toward the end of the month, he was acting distant |red flag|. He’d been talking about how he was just “so busy” at work planning and preparing for a fundraising lock-in at the school. If there’s one way to piss me off, it’s to tell me you’re too busy.
I’ve always been someone juggling several things at once, in fact, if I don’t have enough things on my plate, then I don’t know what to do with myself. I am of the school of thought that telling someone you’re too busy for them is just a copout way of blowing them off.
So, I took the hint he was tossing my way, and we stopped talking. I was upset, naturally I assumed he was seeing someone else, and I wrote about it in my weekly column (in Dig magazine, on stands in Baton Rouge, Louisiana).
From my perspective, he was attempting to blow me off by continually telling me how busy he was. I told him I could “take a hint.” So, I put my phone on silent and tried my damnedest to remove him from my brain (read: I went shopping).
But here’s the thing. This guy is really nice. He’s successful, attractive, loves kids and animals, and he even calls me sometimes — really, it’s overwhelming how all-around hot he is.
He offered up an invitation to a pity party in the form of, “I was up all night, got up early on a Saturday to work, and my ankles are swollen, so I guess you can be mad at that.” |red flag|
Great way #2 to piss me off: feel sorry for yourself and pull me down with you. But, after a few weeks of not talking, I fell for it, and called him.
My crush and I were in a little bit of a stand-off after I tried to explain myself to him. I wanted an apology and he wasn’t going to give it. There were tumbleweeds and rusted spurs, until I called him and we agreed it was a miscommunication.
But if I’m being totally honest, I can’t shake it. I feel like whatever fire was between us, has fizzled, because I did the ultimate thing you’re not supposed to do — I acted crazy. I’m no longer that fantastical pony with glittery hair (#goals). I’m just another crazy one, flailing her arms for attention.
My best friend was coming to visit me for Thanksgiving. The night before her arrival, I was frantically cleaning my apartment, when my cat discovered a mouse in the bathroom.
The mouse was clearly after me, so I ran as fast as I could, screaming bloody murder, to reach the highest point in the apartment: the back of my couch.
I called Eric, and as soon as he answered, I screamed, “THERE’S A MOUSE IN MY APARTMENT!!!”
“What? Go get traps, I’m at the bowling alley, I’ll call you later,” he said.
I did as I was told, and by the time I got home to set the traps, he walked me through it on the phone. It sounds silly, I know, but the guy had completely turned my world around. Do you ever notice that? How one person can make even the worst things seem okay.
I was really starting to love getting his texts each night before I fell asleep that said, “Goodnight babe” and he always had an equally sweet text in the morning. We were texting all day, every day, and would Facetime almost every night.
But, I hadn’t forgotten the fact that he was fresh off a tough divorce. Was he just replacing the feelings he had for his ex with me? Were we two miserable sacks just looking for company? I expressed my concerns to him, adding the fact that as many times as we’d tried to make this work before, it hadn’t. There had to be some sort of reason it never worked for us; would I be his rebound again?
“Not this time,” he said. “Just let me be good to you.”
Please return tomorrow for part three of this five-part series, complete with red flag alerts and Drake lyrics.