We did the robotic pleasantries of having a platonic overnight guest; an offered glass of water, an awkward fluffing of sheets and instructions for sleeping, taking turns brushing teeth. And then there was the offer of a t-shirt. I probably paused too long to think about the acceptable response for that one.
But the moment came and went, and I laid in his bed, in his Nirvana shirt, exhausted but not able to sleep. It was likely the attempt to be civil with each other, when we’d only had a history of being anything but.
“Still awake?” I heard his voice through the open bedroom door.
“I’m sorry if this is weird, I just-“
“It’s okay. It was a kind offer,” I assured. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to get home, to be honest.”
We were navigating.
We exchanged more equally boring and nauseating niceties, still playing like we were practically strangers.
And then he dared to reminisce. That one time, that one thing, remember that? We chuckled a little. I could tell he was smiling by his voice, and it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually seen him smile. It sounded nice, though.
“I think… I miss you.”
Bomb dropped. I shook my head, but he couldn’t see.
“You think?” I questioned that choice of phrasing.
“Well… I do. I just didn’t realize it until today.”
I didn’t know how to respond, but he sensed I didn’t know how to respond, so he kept going.
“Yeah. I mean, when I first saw you, I was completely shocked at the coincidence. But then I realized… how good you were.”
Lies. I was a terrible person seven years ago when we met, and for three more years after that.
“I think I was just this pretentious idiot who was playing the scorned, heartbroken, tortured artist game. And I didn’t realize what you were to me until I saw you today.”
I waited, still.
“I think we just met too early. We were too immature.”
I think we just did a lot of drugs and didn’t think.
“Do you think if we met now, like today, we would’ve hit it off?”
“I don’t know,” I told him, knowing full well the answer was a firm no.
“Would it be okay if I kiss you? Would you be into that?”
Desperate me: Yes. Still in love with someone else and not wanting to re-hash this train wreck me: Nah. Our story won’t have changed from where it left off six-and-a-half years ago. He’s still single and I’m still not out of a maddening, soul-draining, spirit-killing affair that has destroyed every relationship I’ve ever had.
“I’m an idiot, you’ve obviously gotten over me and moved-“
“Wait. Did you think I was in love with you?”
“Well,” he tripped, “yeah, I mean, all that stuff you wrote-“
“It wasn’t about you.”
He sighed, relieved or frustrated, I’m not really sure. “Wow.”
“I just think…” he dared to keep. going. “I was in love with you, too. I obviously had no clue, and it took me six more years to realize it. And also realize how self-involved I was-“
“Are,” I swiftly corrected him.
He laughed. I smirked to myself.
“But, really. I was happy when I was with you.”
But really, we were just fucked up when we were together.
And if any other proof was needed of us not maturing from six-and-a-half-years-ago us, I left his place the next morning and texted Daniel, full of the last 14 years of feelings I’d had for him, and arranged a booty call to deal with my frustrations.