Okay, so maybe I should have seen this coming

What happened with Nob threw me off, to say the least. It still doesn’t feel real, even now, two weeks later. It feels especially like a daydream because he lives in a different city and I haven’t seen him since. We’ve been texting, and he wants to Skype sometime soon. Maybe then it’ll feel real.

I think the problem is that I’ve spent the last three years convincing myself that we were never going to work out. I was reading old entries from my old journal the other day, and the more I read, the more I realized that I was really just in denial. 

Here is an overview, for your reading pleasure. These were actual things I wrote about Ryan throughout high school.

First, there was a blog post in May of Grade 10 (Full post here):

Nob is incredible. He’s funny, and mature and interesting and smart and he’s willing to talk about Glee with me even at the risk of looking like a nerd for doing so.  He’s my first big crush since starting school in the city, and I can barely hold back the crazy teenage squealing that threatens to leave me lips every time someone mentions his name.  I am close to Facebook stalking him, I wait with shivering anticipation for every class I have with him, and it’s so difficult not to blush every time we’re face to face. Butterflies in my stomach is an understatement.

Not a lot happened after that. I think I was probably too shy. Probably he was too. And honestly, my mom had just died. For a lot of that next few months I was just trying to get through the day.

Then there was a journal entry almost a year later, on January 25, 2012:

It happened in one moment, like flicking on a light switch. How do I describe it? Everything I thought I knew was swept out from under me, making me question all of it. Now that I know, deeply and completely, that I like Nob, it makes me wonder, do birds really fly? Are mountains even real, or are they just images painted on the horizon?

Oh dear. I think I thought I was being poetic. It’s weird though, because I guess I had that epiphany, but then immediately changed my mind. There’s another entry a few days later which is essentially just me trying to write out how I’m going to say to Nob that I just want to be friends. That month we had gone on a couple dates, just coffee and skating and stuff. I kept flip flopping back and forth between really liking him and feeling like the whole situation was just too awkward and forced. In the end I guess I decided to just end it before it started. This is what I wrote on February 1, 2012:

Hey Ryan, can I talk to you for a sec? *take a deep breath* I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I’ve realized that I just want us to be friends. I’m sorry for leading you on this long. *get ready to walk away* Oh, and Ryan? The next time you like a girl, be confident about it. Because you are a really great guy.

I think when I actually told him in real life it wasn’t quite that eloquent, but the general message was there. 

That same month I started dating Patt, which is weird looking back, because I barely knew him. I don’t exactly know why I was okay with dating Patt when I had been so nervous about dating Nob. There are a few entries about Patt throughout February and March, but none of them are particularly heartfelt or meaningful. I’m surprised it took me until April to break up with him.

Meanwhile, Nob started dating this completely ridiculous girl. Let’s call her Deb. Deb was…not very smart. At all. I suspect that’s why I never really saw Nob and Deb having a conversation. Mostly they just made out. Everywhere. All the time. Did I mention that Nob’s locker was next to mine?

The thing is, I kept trying to convince myself that I was mad about Nob dating Deb because they were annoying. Or else I tried to say that it was because I thought (as a friend of course) that he could do better. Except there are entries like this one, from April 11, 2012. Probably within a week after I broke up with Patt. (It’s a poem, don’t laugh)

This gold necklace

links crunched together

crumpled in my hand

A gesture that says

in no uncertain terms

“Mine, all mine.”

But your dusty blonde hair

those eyes that question me 

like I question myself

Arms that could encircle me

a hula hoop, but softer and stronger

I can’t crumple that in my hand

you don’t fit in my pocket

or behind a combination lock

So how could she know? 

Looking at you,

How could she know 

that even when your arms encircle her waist,

you are always

crumpled in my hand

in no uncertain terms

mine.

Kind of possessive and creepy, I’ll admit. But it’s also kind of cute. And it’s clear proof that as much as I liked to pretend we were just friends for the next two years, we really never were. Two weeks later, on April 21, there is another entry that more explicitly explains my feelings. From what I remember it was the day after Jan had a party and I had spent most of the night with Nob. His girlfriend wasn’t there, probably because he knew that none of us really liked her.

Nob frustrates me and annoys me and sometimes I just don’t get him. but what matters is that I want to get him. I want to push through his defences and really know him. I want to cause him to give me that look again, that one of honest surprise when I say something that completely disarms him. I want to make him smile, really smile, not because he’s forcing it, or putting on an act, but because for a moment, I made him happy.

I can feel my morals getting blurry here. It’s so easy to imagine grabbing his hand, imagine his arms–so strong and beautiful–wrapped tightly around my waist. It’s so easy to forget that I waited too long and he has a girlfriend now. I know it’s wrong. I know it doesn’t make sense. Most importantly, I know that it is extremely likely that he doesn’t think about me that way at all anymore. I mean, the way he talks about her…and when he’s not talking about her he’s texting her, and when he’s not texting her he’s doing other things with her…

But the way he looked at me last night, how can I discount that? I still have the power to make him laugh, really laugh, catch him off guard, and corner his attentions. It only that were enough. If only it wasn’t too late.

So yeah. Friends thing wasn’t working out so well at that point. Then there’s a lot of entries about how I don’t really want/need a boyfriend, then some more about some random crushes in the summer. It gets interesting again around November. Nob had finally broken up with Deb a couple months before, and he and my best friend Dee had started hooking up. I pretended like it was no big deal when she talked about it. I think to her it was this really casual thing, but I’m not sure what Nob thought. As for me, I wanted them to break it off. My motivations seem pretty unclear.

I don’t like him that way. I had my chance with him and I turned him down. It’s not like I would ever date him. And her? She’s my friend and I should want her to be happy. If he makes her happy I should encourage them. Except I think I preferred her when she was jaded and lonely like me. If we were going to be miserable at least we could do it together. 

If they got together I don’t think I could handle it. Even if they avoided PDAs and they tried their best to include me. Actually, I’d rather they didn’t include me. If I’m going to be alone, I’d rather be able to go home and scream into a pillow instead of pretending to smile and have fun with them. 

That got pretty dark and bitter. I was going through this phase where I was obsessed with falling in love and I was mad at anyone who was in a relationship. Or I suppose you could interpret the bitterness as jealousy. I’m not sure at this point; you be the judge.

Sometime after that the entries get less boy focused. There’s that brief thing with Tim, and I make out with a few guys at parties, but that’s it. Notably, at one point I made out with Nob’s best friend Drew, but nothing ever happened with that. Then the entries start to be more about my trip to  Kenya and my plans for the future. Nob isn’t mentioned again. So maybe I did get over him and we finally became friends, or maybe I just figured out how to push away my feelings for him. Either way, when he started dating my friend Rea in the summer it wasn’t a big deal to me. He seemed really happy with her, and it was a way healthier relationship than the one he had with Deb. I’m not going to say that I never thought about us being together, but I recognized that I was going away to university and so was he. Frankly, I was ready to move on.

So that’s why even though there was all this history, I really never expected anything to happen with Nob. When I look back at this stuff it almost seems kind of inevitable, but it never felt like that for me. If anything, it was quite the opposite. Finally being with him felt kind of miraculous.

The time I had a boyfriend and didn’t know it

Every time I meet up with high school friends this week someone inevitably asks, “So Kay, any boys in your life?”

Kay: No. Well yeah. But no not actually. But I kind of had a boyfriend for a month. But not actually.

HS friend: Whaa?

Then I launch into the story about how I had a boyfriend for a month and didn’t realize it. At first I felt a mixture of sadness and embarrassment about the whole thing, but the more I tell it, the more I’ve come to appreciate how funny the whole situation was.

So remember Mickey? He’s that cute baseball player I went on a fun, unorthodox date with back in November.  Yep, that’s right, this story is about him. I enjoyed myself on that date, but after seeing Mickey in class later that week, I realized that there really wasn’t anything romantic between us. I liked hanging out with him because he’s smart and gets my strange brand of humour, but I know from experience that for me those sorts of friendships never turn into anything more. Hanging out with Mickey was fun, but he didn’t spark any particularly powerful feelings from me. I decided we were better off as study buddies.

I was totally prepared to tell him this, but the opportunity never really came up because he never asked me on another date. At one point I asked him to come with me to see Catching Fire because I knew he loves the Hunger Games as much as I do, but frankly there was nothing date-y about it. I paid for my own ticket for one thing (I know a guy doesn’t have to pay for the girl to make it a date, but it’s sometimes a good signal) and at no point did he try to make a move. Great, I thought. It’s nice to have a guy friend to do this sort of thing with.

We continued to sit together in lecture and do our Econ homework in my dorm room every week. At one point he suggested studying in his room even though the wifi is worse, because he wanted me to meet his floor mates. In retrospect, that should have been a warning signal for me that he thought our friendship was something more. I never twigged though. I just assumed he wanted me to be friends with his friends.

Then the day of the Econ final came along. It was my last final, so I was really excited to be done. The exam was in the morning and my flight home was that evening. After the final Mickey texted me seeming upset that I had left the final without him. He really wanted to see me before I left, he added. I had a lot of stuff to cram into that afternoon because I had already planned to hang out with some friends from the debate club and I had to pack, so I told him that he was welcome to come with me while I walked to the post office to mail Lis’ Christmas gift. He seemed perfectly normal during the walk, but then on our way back he told me I had to come up to his dorm room because I had left something there when we were studying the night before.

Now, okay I’m not stupid; I knew I hadn’t left anything in his room. Maybe he was just inviting me up to give me a  Christmas card, I thought. I really hoped it was just a Christmas card. Please God, let it just be a Christmas card.

We entered his room. There were not one, but two carefully wrapped gifts sitting on the bed. I tried not to freak out.

Kay (in a careful voice): You didn’t have to get me anything

Mickey: Of course I didn’t have to. I just wanted to.

Kay: Mickey, I…I don’t think this was ever going to work out between us.

Mickey: What do you mean?

Kay: Like us dating. I didn’t really think we connected. Like that way. Like I like hanging out with you, but it never felt like anything more to me (I say ‘like’ a lot when I’m nervous)

Mickey: So…I guess…this past month we weren’t really dating then?

What I wanted to say: FUCK NO I THOUGHT THAT WAS OBVIOUS!!!

What I actually said: No, it never felt that way for me.

Silence.

Kay: I should go.

Mickey: No, you should open your presents.

Kay: I can’t accept these.

Mickey: Well I bought them for you so you have to.

I opened them. A book that the cover recommended “for fans of the Hunger Games.” A Doctor Who poster. The kind of thoughtful gifts that come from someone who desperately wants to know you, but only really knows the surface. I guess we never really talked about much more than books and TV shows. That right there really should have been a signal for him that we weren’t in a relationship, in case the lack of dates and kissing in the last month wasn’t already a giveaway.

I thanked him, we hugged awkwardly, and then I left. As I walked down the stairs of his building I found a note in the wrappings:

“To my girlfriend, love Mickey.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Girlfriend?? Seriously? It was one thing for him to think we were dating, and even getting me gifts wasn’t totally ridiculous, but calling me his girlfriend sure was. I thought it was a truth universally known that you have to FUCKING ASK SOMEONE BEFORE YOU DECLARE THEM YOUR GIRLFRIEND!!?

He had seemed so normal, too. He wasn’t socially awkward in any way, he was good-looking, and he played a varsity sport. I guess based on those traits I had just assumed he had some dating experience. Even if he had none, I had assumed that he at least knew about dating from TV or something at least. Maybe this is how dating works where he’s from? I don’t know!! I’m so frustrated because I feel bad about this even though I didn’t do anything wrong.

I didn’t, right? I mean, going on one date does not mean you’re suddenly in a relationship. Hanging out a couple times a week studying does not mean you’re dating. And aren’t you supposed to tell someone you just met that you’re buying them a Christmas gift? AND THAT YOU’VE DECIDED THAT THEY’RE YOUR FUCKING GIRLFRIEND? I’m not just making this up, right?! I’m pretty sure these are social norms!!

It’s incidents like this that make me want to give up dating indefinitely.

On over thinking

In my last post I said that I wasn’t going to over think my date with Mickey.

Good one.

Jaco called me on it, and he’s right. I can’t not over think things, especially boy things. My biggest enemy is free time to let thoughts float around in my brain. My thoughts are like viruses. They start out innocently enough, with a just a few cells floating around. “I like Mickey. He makes me laugh. He’s a nice guy.” But then it turns into, “I wonder what it would be like if we were dating?” and “I wonder if he would be clingy?” and “He seems like he would be clingy. I hate that.” Until basically I talk myself out of a relationship that doesn’t even exist yet. Boom. Giant virus slowly strangling me from the inside.

Worst extended metaphor ever; I’m sorry I put you through that.

Mickey and I still do our econ homework together, but we haven’t been on a date or anything since the night of Mika the European broadsword fighter. It’s partially because I’ve been busy with debate tournaments, and partially because I’ve been making excuses to get out of dates. Classic Kay move.

It’s because I’m not capable of acting like dating is no big deal. Anytime I meet a guy, I compare him to the fairytale picture of a man that has been in my head ever since I watched Cinderella for the first time. I think about every guy in terms of whether I could see myself with him a year from now, and if I would feel proud to introduce him to my friends and family. I don’t settle and I don’t compromise. I’ve had people tell me this is an admirable trait, but I also wonder if it’s elitist and unrealistic. I wonder if I will ever meet a guy who measures up. I wonder if I want to.

Mickey is coming tonight to do homework. He’s probably going to propose another date and I’m out of excuses. I don’t get what my problem is. He’s cute, and smart, and funny. I like hanging out with him. It’s just that whenever I think about dating him I can’t see it happening. I don’t know if that’s because it actually just isn’t right, or if it’s because I’m just at the point where I don’t trust my own feelings anymore.

Ugh this is the angstiest post ever and I feel like I’ve written it before. Sorry guys, it’s the best I’ve got today.

A very strange date

Rule number one about living in residence: Everyone knows your business. All. The. Time.

They know what kind of music you listen to because then can hear it through the paper thin walls. On a related note they also know if you sing in the shower. Or if you’re up late practicing your embarrassingly bad French for your oral presentation the next day.

And they also know if you have guests. This girl from waaaay down the hallway came up to me in the tv lounge the other day and was like, “Hey who is that guy who has been hanging out in your room lately? He’s really cute. Do you like him? Are you dating him? You should date him.”

Like seriously, there is no privacy here. I think I’ve talked to that girl like three times total and I can’t stress enough how far her room is from mine.

And okay, yes, Mickey has come over a couple of times to work on econ homework with me. And honestly that’s what we do. We sit in my room with our laptops doing calculations with the door open. Nothing major.

I’m calling him Mickey as in Mickey Mantle the baseball player, because he’s on the baseball team and there’s a bit of a resemblance. He always uses baseball metaphors that I don’t get, like “batting a thousand” and it makes him laugh when I make him explain what they mean.

He’s always laughing. I like that.

After we finished working on Thursday he asked me on a date. He didn’t have anything planned yet, he explained, but he wanted to know if I was interested. He said he had never had so much fun doing homework before.

He texted me on Saturday and asked me if I was free for said date, and I really wanted to go, except that I had a problem.

Kay: I actually have something else I need to do tonight

Mickey: Oh…okay that’s alright

Kay: Well I was kind of hoping you would come with me, but first I have to tell you an embarrassing story…

Basically I met up with a high school friend from the other university in town late Thursday night, we got way too drunk at a club across town, and I ended up losing my wallet. How did that happen, you might ask? Truthfully I don’t remember. At a certain point my memory goes black and I remember waking up in my friend’s dorm room still drunk while she dry heaved into a garbage can.

Yeah. Like I said, embarrassing.

Mickey laughed at me a little, but he was nice about it. He was also up for it when I asked him if he wanted to join me in my Saturday night plans, which involved bussing to the club to pick up my wallet, which had (thankfully) been found.

Kay: It will be the lamest adventure ever but we’ll make it fun?

Mickey: We do have an awesome habit of making boring stuff fun, so why not? I’m in

Kay: Also prepare to possibly get lost. I’m the worst at bus routes.

Mickey: That’s what will make it an adventure

To be honest I couldn’t believe he was coming. Nobody wants to spend their Saturday doing errands. In spite of my promise to make it fun, I fully expected it to be a pretty boring trip.

It was anything but boring.

This is basically how I described it to Dee later:

First we missed our stop to transfer buses, so then we had to figure out a new route, and then my RA just miraculously turned out to be on the bus so he helped us find the right stop. And then we ran into a whole bunch of guys from Mickey’s floor who were wearing suits and they wouldn’t tell us where they were headed so now we think they’re probably spies. And then we finally got to the club and we got to see the super special backroom of the club because I had to go into the office to get my wallet. And then we were waiting at the bus stop and this like 20 something woman was like, are you waiting for the 8? Because it’s not coming for like 20 minutes and I know a quicker way. So we just like blindly followed this woman and we walked across the river, which is so pretty at night and the parliament buildings are all lit up. And then she started telling us about how she does European broadsword fighting, and we were like what? So she told us all about it, and it’s crazy because they wear full armour and the swords are actually sharp and stuff, not like fencing. And then she waited at the bus stop with us and made sure we got on the right bus, so thanks Mika the broadsword fighter. And then we wandered around the market downtown because Peter was determined to find Menchie’s and we found it and tried all the flavours of frozen yogurt, and then we walked over to the Parliament buildings, and the clock on the Peace Tower started chiming just as we were standing below it, which was so cool. And then we warmed up standing next to the fireplace that is also a fountain right in front of Parliament. Then we took the bus home and spent the ride talking to a chick I know from frosh who was dressed up like a League of Legends character with a blue wig and very little else.

We ended the night standing outside my building just laughing about the whole night. It was the weirdest first date ever, Mickey admitted, but that was why he liked it.

To be honest I hadn’t planned on dating at all this year. Guys are confusing and complicated and I just wanted to have fun in first year. Mickey isn’t confusing though, or complicated. He just makes me smile. I couldn’t stop smiling, even when I was sitting in my dorm room later that night. I don’t know what that means yet, but I’m trying not to over think it.

Pre-midterm madness

Midterms were last week and everyone on campus was kind of stressed the weekend before them. So they spent the weekend studying extra hard partying their faces off. I’m going to tell you a few stories about things that happened last weekend. Some of them happened to my friends. Some happened to friends of friends. Some happened to me. I’ll let you try to figure out which is which.

Someone saw two girls streaking at a football party and chased after them because they were honestly trying to help said girls. However, some police saw the chase and assumed the worst. They spent the night looking for the person chasing the girls, and this person spent the night hiding out and changing outfits so the cops wouldn’t find them.

Someone went to a club across the city with some people they didn’t know very well and couldn’t get in because the bouncer asked for two pieces of id when they only had one. Said “friends” went into the club without this person, and said person was stranded in a sketchy neighbourhood alone at 1am

Someone tried their first joint and grained out, spending the rest of the Friday night leaning over a toilet bowl

Someone overdid the drinking a little and woke up in the hospital with no shoes and a dead cellphone

Someone made out with someone else on their floor and woke up in the morning with said person in their bed, various pieces of furniture in their room knocked over, and some really obvious hickeys

I’m never going to admit which ones were me, but have fun guessing.

Uh oh Kay is talking about boys again

It occurs to me that I’m an adult now and maybe I ought to start saying “men” instead of boys, but I don’t really feel like a grown up yet, so I’m sticking with boys for now okay?

I like Nob. I have always liked Nob, from the day I met him and he gave me this crazy grin and said something sarcastic that I don’t remember. I liked him in grade 10 english when he joked around a lot, but it turned out he really cared about the subject and he is a really good writer actually. Then in sports med I liked how he sat in front of me and we would have these intense political debates when we were supposed to be taping ankles. And I even liked being in math with him three years in a row, even though his favourite thing to do was tease me and stick paper clips in my hair when I wasn’t looking.

The problem is that we already tried the dating thing once. In grade 11 we went on a couple dates, coffee and skating a such, and it was fun, but he just seemed so nervous and awkward. I didn’t want dating to be awkward, so I went out with Patt instead, and then he dated some other girl from english class who I’m pretty sure wasn’t smart enough to get his jokes. I think he was mad at me for a while for rejecting him, but the truth is that we have too much fun together to stay away from each other. We tease each other about that stuff now.

The problem is that in grade 11 I had my reasons for not dating him. I just don’t know if they still apply. I was scared that he was too sensitive and awkward and inexperienced for me and that I would just find it frustrating and it would ruin our friendship. He’s different now though. I think. He’s more confident I guess.

It’s like, I feel this incredible pull towards him, but I don’t exactly know what that means. I just like being near him. I like talking to him and just absorbing the energy between us. I can practically hear it crackling when we get close.

It’s not like, love though. I mean, I think if it was love I would just know, you know? I wouldn’t be sitting in bed with my laptop right now questioning it on my blog…right?

Right?

I will almost certainly see him this fall. His university is within spitting distance of mine and Lyd goes there too, so I will definitely be visiting. And we’re going to a screening of Serenity with Drew next week, and laser tagging tomorrow.

It’s enough just to hang out with him. I don’t need anything else. Probably. Ugh I just don’t know.

Here’s a post I wrote about Nob back in grade 10. It’s funny to read what I thought about him back then. It’s different, but the same.

Post party greeting cards

It’s pre-grad house party season at school it seems, and to be honest in the last few weeks all of my friends and I have done some stupid things. I mean, it’s high school and stuff happens, and it’s not a huge deal, but there’s still that awkward moment when you have to   see the people from the party on Monday morning.

To make this experience easier, I have devised some simple greeting cards that you can present to anyone you offended at a party the previous weekend. The fluffy animals and pastel colours will distract them from your idiocy. If they don’t actually smooth things over, they might at least assuage a little bit of the awkwardness.

This one is for that friend who was there for you at your lowest moment:Thank you

This one is for after that awkward hook up with a person you only kind of know:Dear sir

This one is for when you were a particularly crappy party guest:I'm sorry

Who knows? This could be the way of the future for post party encounters. After all, there really isn’t any problem a card can’t fix, right?