warning: this post is long and it is sappy like this post from the summer.
a year ago today i was enjoying the last day of my one-woman show.
it was saturday. i had two performances. they were probably my best yet.
up until that point, it had been a crazy week. it had started with getting off a plane from california, signing a lease for a new apartment after breaking up with my then-boyfriend the week before, starting a new role at my job, and, oh right, starring in a one-woman show that i wrote, acted in, and produced…
it was a crazy week.
and that saturday, i was happy, because it seemed like the craziness was ending. it seemed like i was going to get to bed early, sleep in, go to work, and then find some sense of normal.
at least that is what i thought.
that night, while eating sushi with a friend from college who had seen the show, i happened to check my email. there was an email from paul, my ex-boyfriend turned good friend, who had seen my show the day before and had returned to DC that night.
he was writing because he wanted to come up to see me on sunday. to hang out, he said. let me tell you this: in our two years of friendship, we had never seen each other more than once every few months. twice in one week was just plain strange. something was up. i had no idea what it was, but something was amiss. after some thinking, i settled on the fact that we had, it seemed, gotten closer as of late and perhaps there was something he wanted to chat about as friends.
i enjoyed spending time with him and wanted to be there for him, so i said okay.
24 hours later, both of us would be sitting on my living room floor, the dog passed out beside us. the first hour of our hanging out was the same as usual, but it was clear that he still had something on his mind. i wasn’t able to ask him about it though so i changed the subject and asked him to help me with the wireless router. there, on the floor, after helping me with it, he took a deep breath and looked up at me.
i didn’t know what he was going to say, but could feel my body prepare. and then he started speaking…and what he was saying was nowhere near what i was expecting. he spent the next few minutes sharing thoughts that had plagued him for two years. i think i may have said a few things during this, but, honestly, i can’t remember. eventually, he asked me a question, the question, the whole reason why he traveled from dc to philly on a sunday night: was i up for trying again?
was i up for dating him again?
for those of you that don’t know, paul and i met in college. our connection really started when he was the sophomore who wanted to be on the theater boards i was a part of and i was the junior who was looking for someone to be in a reading of my play.
so i asked him. and he said yes.
later, i sat in rehearsal and watched as he transformed from a slightly goofy sophomore into an adorable young man as he acted out a scene i had written. i felt a little tug in my belly and before i could edit myself said, “paul, you are going to make me have a crush on you.”
for a moment, the room was silent. i had planted a seed without meaning to. it is probably the most forward i have been in my adult life, which, i realize is not forward at all. maybe, i thought, no one had noticed the slightly confused look on my face after saying it, the look revealing that i may have admitted to something i hadn’t been fully aware of until that exact moment.
but my friend who was directing the reading, noticed.
and so did paul because it was after that moment that this slightly goofy sophomore turned adorable young man began exchanging music with me, bringing tea to our theater meetings because he knew i was recovering from mono, emailing me over thanksgiving break just to say hello, and writing about shell games and changes in his blog, which i, correctly interpreted to be metaphors for me, for us.
this is when i should admit that i did many of the same things listed above.
so when we agreed to meet up for dinner on the monday after thanksgiving break, it wasn’t a surprise that the goofy sophomore dressed in his black trench coat turned to me and said, “i have a crush on you”. and it wasn’t a surprise to him when i said i had one on him too.
falling in love with paul was surprising. it was exciting. it was all that i could hope for…until, of course, two and a half years later, i was on my floor, bawling my eyes out.
which is why when he asked me whether i was up for it again, my mind froze. it had been four and a half years since we broke up. i had spent much of those four and a half years convincing the annoying voice in my head that we were not meant to be. as much as i felt it in my heart. as much as it made sense in my head…we just weren’t.
and there he was, tempting that voice, that urge. and there was that voice, the one that had never really left, whispering i told you so.
before answering his question and succumbing to the voice in my head, i told him he had to be sure. this couldn’t be a phase. i needed to know he was sure before i opened my heart to him again.
he said he was sure.
and then it was my turn to take a deep breath and look up at him.
there he was: that goofy sophomore-turned-man. and i felt that familiar tug in my belly.
“okay,” i said.
today i woke up in-between him and the dog. i left our apartment around 6am because i had a race to run at 7am. paul woke up to wish me good luck and, as soon as i returned from the run, he jumped out of bed so he could get us bagels. this afternoon he came with me to pick up my new phone from apple. an hour later, he was with me when i dropped my new phone on the ground, cracking the screen. paul picked it up for me, held my hand as i sighed/cursed our way home, looked up places to get the screen fixed, made me an appointment at the apple genius bar, and asked if he could make me tea or anything to make me feel better. i am now sitting across the room from him. i have spent much of this evening thinking about how grateful i am for him.
and when he looks over at me, i feel the same little tug in my belly i felt eight years ago…
a year ago today, i responded to an email. i had no idea what i was saying “okay” to when i responded to that email…
…but tomorrow i get to celebrate all that has happened since saying okay to that email, okay to that question, okay to that ex-boyfriend-turned-friend-turned-boyfriend, and okay to whatever happens next. tomorrow i get to celebrate a year with him. again.
here’s to second first anniversaries, and answering questions in the affirmative.