Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Visit

Have you ever had a dear, old friend propose the possibility of evolving your friendship into an amorous relationship?  That very thing happened to me this past spring.  I, to a certain extent, initially balked at the prospect for a number of reasons, which I enumerated to my romantically inclined friend (we shall call him Bruce), as follows--
  1. I did not want to damage our longstanding friendship;
  2. I had broken up with my boyfriend of four years only months before and was very much enjoying my new singledom; and
  3. I wasn't sure that the prospect made much sense given that many states separated us from our respective residences.  
Nevertheless, he wanted to visit me in the summer and he wanted me to suspend any judgment until that time, when we could revisit the subject in person and I agreed.  Over the intervening months, we did not communicate much and I assumed that this was because we were both making an effort to avoid further muddying the boundaries of our friendship.*    


Bruce arrived in St. Louis for his scheduled summer visit this past Friday.  I picked him up from the train station late Friday night and treated him to a midnight City Diner dinner.  While we were catching up, Bruce revealed that he had been dating someone for the past several months and that he had promised this girlfriend exclusivity just prior to the time of his departure.

I will not lie; my first thought was "Hey man, nice shot!  You pierced me straight through my treasured ego."  Here I was fretting this entire time--wondering what was going to happen, what his expectations were, and how to best maintain our friendship while attempting to negotiate this unfamiliar situation.  Meanwhile, he was busily hooking up with a girl who had played fast and loose with his heart once before and who had subsequently proven to be quite the flake (in my somewhat embittered estimation). 

Of course, I was also hurt.  When Bruce first made overtures toward me in the springtime (of his voodoo), I had discussed the situation with a mutual friend of ours.  She had known Bruce for as long as I had and she was very fond of him.  She thought we would make a great couple and she wanted me to pursue the relationship.  Moreover, she felt that he was an upstanding guy who would never purposefully treat me poorly.  Essentially, she felt that I could trust him, which was of the utmost importance.

Rightly or wrongly, I'm having some difficulty in trusting him at this point.  It goes without saying that I did not appreciate his springing this girlfriend news on me unexpectedly.  Instead, he should have been forthright with me from the very start of his nascent reattachment to his ex.  That is what an upstanding guy would have done not waited to see which relationship would work out in his favor.  It seemed to me, on some level, that he was simply keeping me on the back burner as a Plan B in case Girl A didn't pan out.  Still, I determined not to let his big reveal ruin our long awaited weekend together; after all, he was still my old, dear friend.

Hence, things proceeded as originally planned.  We enjoyed spending time with friends of ours; we went caving on the countryside; we visited the botanical gardens, et cetera.  Last night, we had several rounds of beer at a local Vietnamese restaurant and then returned to my place to listen to some music.  We shared songs with each other and discussed the merits of select musicians.  We drank late into the night (or early into the morning, as the case may be).  Eventually, my alcohol soaked brain started to wind down into sleepiness.  Bruce was sitting on the couch next to me so I maneuvered my body into a reclined position without laying in his lap (ever mindful of the girlfriend in his home state).  In response, he softly chuckled at my posturing and said, "Jen, you're pretty amusing in your attempt not to lay in my lap."     

I took his comment as an invitation to his lap and promptly repositioned myself there (keeping a proper distance from his naughty bits).  I was convinced that this was okay - it was okay for me to lay in my friend's lap, as long as it went no further than that.  Shortly thereafter, Bruce began to yawn and so I asked him if he wanted to lay down with me (and only to sleep -- not to be intimate).  Being the intelligent man that he is, he respectfully declined.  He felt that it would violate the spirit of his monogamy agreement with his girlfriend (which was probably correct).  He couldn't help but regretfully add that things would have progressed much differently between us had he not committed himself to her.
I should say, Bruce reads my blog on occasion (although, I doubt he'll weigh in on the subject here).  Maybe his young girlfriend could locate and read my blog, too, if she bothered to investigate the few people he follows on Twitter.  If she is reading this, she can rest assured that her boyfriend was on his very best behavior throughout the entirety of his visit.

Oh, and also, don't fuck with his heart this time.

Om shanti.

*He, on the other hand, has since explained that he had wholly accepted my initial protest and had consequently given up the prospect of a romantic encounter with me.  I truly do not understand how this miscommunication arose.