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.

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There are no words for this

I’m never at a loss for words. It’s one of those things that I’ve always been sure of, the same way my eyes have always been blue and so has the sky. I’ve never had this “writer’s block” thing I hear about. In fact, I have always had the opposite problem; I have too much to write. I have so many words bubbling over in my head that I often can’t write fast enough to catch them all. Maybe this explains why I have such cramped, scrawly writing instead of the round bubble kind I see other girls use.

So yeah. Words are usually my friend. Except for right now.

I have never ever felt like this. I keep trying to describe it and I just can’t without using awful clichés like “It feels like a dream.” I kind of make myself want to vomit. Except that I’m also too happy to be upset with myself.

This is the short form of what happened. There were more events leading up to it, and I will probably fill them in at some point, but basically I spent last weekend at Nob’s university at a debate tournament. I actually have a lot of friends who go there; Lyd, Drew and Andy go there too, but I instead stayed with people I knew from debate. I hadn’t planned to visit any of my friends from home; I didn’t even tell them I was coming. Schedules for debate tournaments are usually packed, between the debating itself and the after parties, so I figured there was no point, especially since I had seen everyone over Christmas holidays. I would just have a fun weekend with my debate friends, I figured.

Except the thought of Nob was constantly at the back of my mind. This new tension had developed between us over the holidays and I couldn’t quite figure out why it had happened or what it meant. In Grade 12 we had always clearly defined ourselves as friends, and he was dating someone else for a large amount of it. I think that’s when we became so comfortable together; we became closer and closer over the course of the year. The best part of our friendship was the fact that we could speak so honestly and frankly with each other. We talked about our families and our futures and we always called each other on our bullshit. In August he asked me if he should try to make long distance work with his girlfriend when he went away for school, and I told him I thought it was a really bad idea. I swear I didn’t have any ulterior motives for that advice; I just had his best interests in mind. I knew that Nob is the type to pour everything into a relationship, and it would take away from his first year and he would end up being miserable.

In December there were no deep life talks though. We talked about safe things, our friends and politics and parties. I could feel us avoiding anything that might force into honesty. We sat in his house on opposite sides of the couch, always leaving a few feet between each other. I was scared to look him in the eye and instead found myself staring at my hands in my lap as we talked. When I left we hugged, which was normal enough, but we both held on a second too long. That was it though, a second. Then there were some jokes and see you laters, even though later meant months and we both knew it. As I drove away I was shaking a little.

Which brings me to Saturday night. It was 3am and I was sitting in an all night restaurant sharing a poutine with my friend as we discussed the party we had just left. I was trying to listen to her, but I just kept thinking about where Nob was, wondering if he might walk past the restaurant window at any moment. Occasionally a tall guy in an engineering jacket would walk by and for a second I would think it was him and my hands would start to shake again. Finally I decided that I was being stupid. Of course I should see my friend. I was in his city; it just made sense.

I texted him and told him I was in town and that we should hang out Sunday. He agreed. We tried to pretend it was no big deal, just friends hanging out.

And it was, at first. We went out for burgers. I told him some funny anecdotes about debate and he told me about crazy things his floor mates had done the night before. There were signals that this lunch was different than others though. For one, he was supposed to meet up with friends to go looking at houses to rent for next year and he cancelled on them. I told him that I understood if he had to go, but he said it was fine so I didn’t push it. I tried not to over think why he might do that.

Then we went back to his dorm room. When I say it like that it sounds like he had a plan to hook up with me all along, but I don’t think he did. It didn’t feel weird at the time, anyway. In residence your dorm room is your bedroom, yes, but it’s also your living room and your kitchen. It seemed like a natural place to go.

We talked some more. We looked up stuff on the internet, political things and memes and whatever. Then I spotted a Lego set on top of his dresser. It was the same set we had built together over the holidays when he had a bunch of people over. We’re playing with this, I told him. At first he scoffed at the idea, but I know Nob and I knew he wanted to play. Sure enough, he picked up the space ship and I launched catapults at it and we both made explosion sounds and narrated a dramatic battle which ended with total destruction and a single survivor.

I remember thinking that I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to be with anyone else. I remember wondering how I had gotten so lucky as to meet a boy who would sit in his bedroom and play Lego with me.

We kissed. I’m not sure who started it to be honest and I like that. He had this brazen look in his eyes and he looked so certain that when our lips touched, I was certain. I was certain that I wanted to be with this boy, and that changed everything.

I don’t really need to explain what happened next, but I will say it was amazing. I found myself wondering why I had ever even bothered kissing other guys before this. All of those other kisses, all of those other guys, they didn’t even compare to this. You can’t even plot it on the same spectrum.

All of that built up tension evaporated instantly. I don’t know how long we just laid nose to nose, breathing in the moment.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” I finally said.

“I didn’t think it was ever going to happen,” he replied. “I had pretty much given up hope.”

“Classic us,” I said, laughing. “We finally figure our shit out once we live in different cities.”

I eventually had to go; I had a bus to catch back to school. We didn’t exchange any promises or make any attempt to make sense of what had happened. There was this unspoken feeling that it wasn’t over though. Before I left he kissed my smile one more time with that brazen look on his face. On the elevator and down the street and packing my things and in the taxi and at the Greyhound station I smiled and smiled. My lips were still tingling to remind me that it really happened.

I feel like all the clichés, even now. I’m walking on air and the whole world looks beautiful and different. I always thought those clichés could never apply to me, and yet here I am. I must have been smiling as I daydreamed while I waited for my omelet at the cafeteria this morning, because the omelet guy just grinned at me like he knew exactly what I was thinking about. I found myself wondering if I look as different as I feel.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop smiling.

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?

The best and worst date ever

I have a feeling that Lis mentioned to Tim that I didn’t really enjoy the triple date he took me on a while ago, because he texted me the other day and was like, let’s go on a real date.

Kay: Like a date with no other people? Just us two?

Tim: Yeah for real.

Kay: *state of utter disbelief*

I really did think that this would be the night where Kay-and-Tim finally happened. He now knew I liked him, thanks to the time I drunkenly texted him on my birthday saying so (I blame Lis. As my designated driver she should know that friends don’t let friends text drunk). And he totally likes me, and we always have such a good time together, so I thought that this date would be the beginning of something.

It was pretty great, at first.

In classic Tim fashion, we couldn’t just go on a regular date. Instead, he explained rather cryptically when he called me, we were going on an adventure. The adventure turned out to be going to a water park, which was so much fun because Tim and I are both eight-year-olds at heart. Then, we drove to a mystery location that he refused to reveal to me. We drove for quite a while into the heart of the city, and ended up at this absolutely breathtaking hill overlooking downtown. The buildings were all lit up and glittery, I just got completely wrapped up in the perfection of the moment.

We weren’t just there to enjoy the view though. Tim had managed to rig his iPad so that it was suspended from the front seats, and we sat in the back seats covered in blankets. He had even brought movie snacks and drinks and he remembered that I don’t like popcorn, so he brought Skittles instead.

Can you see why I thought this was going to be perfect?

He held my hand as we watched Knight and Day, and I just kept thinking about how this was the most thoughtful thing a boy had ever done for me, and okay, to be honest I was pretty sure that we were going to start making out anytime now. But we didn’t and the movie ended and it was time to go.

And then-and I swear I will never be able to get this out of my head-he said. “I’m going to kiss you now.”

And not in the sexy, I’m-a-guy-and-I’m-telling-you-how-it-is kind of way. It was more like a I-planned-this-date-and-I-think-this-is-how-it-should-go kind of way. Cue alarm bells ringing in my head. Why do boys have to be weirrrrddd? Why can’t they just be normal and natural and not awkward?

So then he kissed me and I was like, okay that was awkward but at least he’s an okay kisser. Like there wasn’t too much tongue or spit or anything. So we made out for a bit and then he pulled away, and I swear to god I’m not making this up, he went “Mwaaah!” Like that kind of fake kissing sound.

…I just…

…like could there possibly be a bigger turn off?

I didn’t even know what to do. I was just like, we should probably go now. I couldn’t look him in the eye the entire ride home.

I’m just so disappointed. Like I’m just sick of meeting guys and everything goes right and then it gets ruined because the guy is awkward or lacking confidence or just like super duper weird like Tim. Is it really so hard to find a nice, sweet guy who is also confident and possibly a good kisser?

Apparently.