I was initially quite excited when Mat got a girlfriend, because:
a) It means that people will stop trying to convince the two of us that we should date
b) He asked her out on the school trip to Europe ON THE EIFFEL TOWER! How freaking romantic is that?
c) She’s so awesome! She’s really fun to hang out with and she’s a fantastic prankster (more on that later)
And it worked out really well because they’ve never made me feel like a third wheel, even though I clearly am. For me, Mat’s relationship began to represent what I thought a healthy relationship should look like. They spend a lot of time together, but they still have separate interests and don’t need to spend every moment together. They are clearly very close, but their PDAs are never anything more than an arm around her waist. I wanted what they have.
Not surprisingly, when Mat said he was bringing Cat on our group camping trip, I was all for it. I figured it would be a good time and a good way to get to know her better. What I didn’t know was that Cat’s idea of camping was living in an RV with satellite TV and running water. She had never been tenting or hiking before.
We went for two nights, and on day two we went on a really fantastic hike up a mountain. Besides Mat and Cat there were four of us on the trip, all really good friends. It is definitely up there as one of the best weekends of my life.
I’m sure it’s up there as one of Cat’s worst.
First of all, it rained the entire time. Most of us didn’t mind; we had our rain gear and our quick-dry polyester clothes. However, Cat brought nothing but jeans, which is pretty much the worst piece of clothing you can possibly bring camping. Dee and I let her borrow some of our stuff, but she still seemed miserable. She didn’t seem to like our whipped-together-over-a-gas-burner meals, or telling stories while huddling for warmth in the tent. She was especially miserable on the hike, which we had told her was going to be “easy”. Easy for us, all athletes who had climbed mountains before. However, Cat struggled to keep up on the steep, narrow paths, and by the time we made it past the tree line and onto the rocky shoulder of the mountain, she told Mat that they needed to turn around. Mat didn’t even think twice. He told the rest of us to keep going; they would find their way down and meet us at the bottom.
It took our group another hour to hit the summit, and one more after that to get down. The summit was absolutely gorgeous and the descent was a dream. When Mat and Cat made it down an hour after that, they were soaked and covered from head to toe in mud. The rest of us thought it was hilarious until was saw the look on Cat’s face. Not only did she look miserable, but she looked angry too, and from the look on Mat’s face I’m sure she had told him exactly how she felt about this trip on the way down.
Now, I’m sure what most people get out of this story is not the same as what I got out of it. You’re probably thinking: poor Cat, that must have been awful for her, Kay you should have been nicer to her! However, what I’m thinking and what I thought the during the entire trip was why did Mat bring her? Mat absolutely loves camping. He’s the captain of his boy scout troop and he talks about camping and hiking all the time. Why did he bring her on this trip when he knew that she wouldn’t enjoy it and would just make him have a miserable time too? What is it about being in a relationship that makes people rather be miserable with that one person than happy without them?
Everyone tells me the same thing: “Kay, you’ll understand it when it happens to you. When you’re in a relationship, things change.”
But what if I don’t want things to change? I don’t want to make myself miserable for the sake of someone else. I don’t want to miss having the time of my life because my happiness is dependent on that of another. I like who I am. I like my friends and my independence and the way that I never back down from a challenge. If I changed any of that for a guy, I don’t know if I would be able to like myself anymore.