This is a story that I have chosen to keep to myself:
We were in my car, this a-‘we’-could-never-have-been boy and myself.
“You know I never liked you in that way, right? It’s her” – my friend – “that I like and I have for the last six months. That’s how long it took for me to muster the courage to ask her out. All this while, with you, I’m genuinely just being a friend.”
He was lucky that I did not:
- Kick him out of my car and leave him by the side of the road in total darkness.
- Reply with what I wish I could utter out loud: “Dude, even if you did like me – I never liked you.”
I nodded my head and kept my eyes on the road, silent throughout.
“This is a potential hazard, you know that?” He pointed to my sea turtle sun-glass hanging by my rearview mirror.
“Leave it alone,” I retorted, annoyed.
“This is a potential hazard, I’m serious.”
“And I said – leave it alone.”
He went ahead and took it down anyway, and kept it in the glove box.
The morning after:
I drove ten meters from my house before realizing what was missing: the occasional, soft chime of a sea turtle sun-glass as it knocked against my dream catcher. I stopped my car by the side of the road and opened the glove box; furious.
Who the hell did he think he was, invading a person’s private space and disregarding one’s choice?
“You know what he said to me when we were lining up to board, while he busied himself playing the stupid Pokemon Go?”
Eldest Sis raised her eyebrow, indicating no idea.
“‘Gosh, Jane – how could you not play Pokemon Go?’ That was what he said. How could I…?! Ugh, this dude.”
Eldest Sis raised her eyebrow again, this time indicating bewilderment.
“He’s clearly very far from your soul, Jane.”
“This has been bugging me…” my friend finally said, her expression serious. “Was it true he tried going after you?”
I weighed the amount of knowledge I’ve come to find out about them. More than that, I sensed the seriousness in her tone and from recent stories about them – her sincerity in wanting to reciprocate his feelings.
“I would say yes,” I answered honestly and extremely carefully. “I thought he was… because for instance, he joined my trip to the cave uninvited, and yes, we’ve had dinner together – just us. But to be frank and fair, between the two of us – we were kind of being set up? My cousin had been telling me things about him since I was at Stanford – that’s two years ago! I’m pretty sure my cousin said things about me to him, too. So when we finally met – my cousin was also there – it was like we were trying to gage if the chemistry’s there? It’s not. It doesn’t seem nice to totally unfriend him because I consider him a family friend, given how close he is to my cousin… so we’re friends now, sort of, but there’s nothing else there.”
Then I decided to be a friend and… something of a fool, maybe, though I like to think I was simply being the bigger person.
“Last night he told me that he’s liked you for six months. It took him months, apparently, to muster the courage to ask you out. He clarified he was only ever being a friend to me. So maybe it was me who was mistaken, y’know? I took it as something more when in truth, he behaves the way he does with both his girl and guy friends. I was wrong; I read the signs all wrong.”
In my mind, I thought, bullshit. But I let it go.
A few days later, my cousin texted me, “It’s official: they’re together. They owe us lunch.”
I snorted. “Trust me – they owe me more than lunch.”
I wish them happiness.
I want nothing to do with their budding romance and love story anymore.
Two Sunday nights ago, what I also did not tell him:
- How insulted and ashamed I felt, as a woman, to hear and have to swallow his goddamn words.