So, apparently there has been a misunderstanding between Jake and I that I didn’t even know about – but that is now resolved. Here’s the story:
When I was an undergrad in Florida, I was in love with this fellow I worked with. Let’s call him Brent. Brent was an MA student in Literature, and to my eyes intelligent, funny, and good-looking. I had a raging crush on him, which didn’t seem to be reciprocated – which was fine since I was dating someone anyway.
Then, eventually, I cheated on my boyfriend with Brent, and broke up with my boyfriend at the time, Jim. Now, I had been unhappy with Jim for some time (which makes sense, as I found out later that he was bipolar and had a drug problem) so he and I would have broken up anyway. The crush on Brent wasn’t really the issue – it was just the reason why I broke up with Jim on that specific day, and not another day. In other words, I cheated in order to force myself into taking an action that I had decided needed to be taken months before.
After a somewhat strange period in which Brent avoided me because he thought I was expecting a relationship with him (I wasn’t, though it would have been nice) we were close friends again until I moved out to Arizona and we lost touch. Once I had been in AZ for awhile, we started e-mailing again, and talked on the phone a few times. About 8 months before I met Jake, I got an e-mail from Brent that included the following:
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. It’s free. I think I need to tell you that I am sorry that I never followed through with a relationship with you. It may just be nostalgia now but you’ve really turned out to be a great person in many ways and I never gave you enough credit back when we were in school together. I am sorry for that. I don’t mean to get all sentimental, but I just wanted you to know in case you ever wondered but felt awkward asking. I’ve felt awkward telling you. I hope this doesn’t ruin our friendship. I’d like you to come visit me in NY [he'd since moved].
When I e-mailed him back (sadly a MySpace e-mail I no longer have) and said that I had always thought quite a bit of him and asking whether he was telling me this now for a reason, he e-mailed me back the following:
1. When I met you I did not expect you to be capable or willing to pursue a PhD but as I grew to know you I soon realized I had grossly misjudged your scholasticism. I think you are doing awesome and I feel a little jealous but mainly proud of how far you have gone. Being a public high school teacher makes it easy for me to move anywhere since teachers are needed everywhere. This is nice but at the same time I am burdened by the thought of being able to relocate anywhere–so what do I choose?
2. The first time we danced was fun and I always loved dancing with you despite liking to dance normally. I don’t care to do it anymore but when we met last Spring Break and danced at the club I traveled back in time. I always feel like we are the only people in the world when I dance with you.
3. I was absolutely flattered that you took notice of me immediately when I started at [our mutual job]. I did have some intimacy issues back then and never got to know you until later. Since I never really talked to you about literary issues I never knew how sophisticated you were although I knew and appreciated how much you liked to party. That’s my fault. I wish I had gotten to know you better sooner. I noticed your freckles and eyes and thought you were cute instantly. My sister told me that she liked you and that means a lot to me since she is very particular.
So I did ask these questions pointedly. It was a huge sacrifice to move to NYC and I loved doing it. It was also a hard decision but a correct one to move to Florida when I did. Each move made me a better person in different ways. I would like to stay here but in reality I have no roots and can go anywhere I want. No matter how attached I get to a city there are more important decisions out there that take precedence to where I live.
So what now? I don’t know. Would I move to see if something would work–sure. Would I come to AZ and try to get a high school teaching gig as you finished your PhD–I think so. I know you may have to take what is offered in a few years and that might be ok. I feel I have accomplished a lot in my life with one exception. And no matter how hard I have tried, I cannot find another girl as special as you, nor can I find anyone with so much chemistry. This puzzle piece, once put into place, may show how the rest of the picture looks. I have taken risks before so at least you know how lionhearted I am. And, as of this writing, I am as emotionally and phyiscally secure as I have ever been. So, what do you think? What would you like the “next” thing to be?
We talked on the phone and decided that the next thing would be for me to take a trip out there and see if our real-life chemistry matched the ways in which we’d built each other up in our heads over the years. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he totally flaked out – within a week totally reneged, said that he wasn’t in a financial place to move across the country, and flat-out said that while he’d be willing to keep me on board as one of his long-term options (i.e, eventual marriage), that he wouldn’t be willing to be monogamous if we were long-distance.
I paid a $200 fee to change my flight reservation, which he didn’t even offer to chip in for, and I’ve basically not spoken to him since. There were a couple more e-mails that would at the very least be entertaining (and possibly even enlightening) but they were on my school account which is now defunct.
So what was the misunderstanding?
While Jake had heard that story when we started dating, until yesterday, he thought that the story was about Lance!
This is why Jake was originally reluctant for me to form this blog. Although he ceased feeling any insecurity about the blog long, long ago (we’re coming up on our two-year anniversary of this thing!) he still bore a little bit of a grudge towards Lance regarding how he treated me years ago. And really, I can’t blame him – either for sticking up for me or for misunderstanding who the story was about. There are some coincidences:
- I met Lance through the same job I met Brent through,
- Lance and I also had a very disappointing breakup followed, years later, by us contacting each other very frequently over e-mail, and
- Lance was supposed to come out to AZ the same year as Brent because a mutual friend was moving out, and he was going to help that friend and visit me.
Now that things have been clarified, Jake said that he’s totally on board with me & Lance’s friendship, though it will take some time to reprocess things and he’ll have to consciously remind himself that Lance never did any of those evil things. Ha!
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