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Brittney and I went out to Stacy’s for a BBQ party they were hosting. We’d met Stacy at the teacher’s Christmas party; she’s the Chemistry Head’s daughter. Brittney and her had hit it off quite well. I happened to run into Brittney at the same grocery store just before the party, which turned out to be delayed for half an hour. We got our snacks and then detoured to Chili’s to get a couple of drinks to kill time with.
It was a small gathering. Other than the three of us, there was also Brandon and James. I’d been under the impression that Brandon and Stacy were together, just from their casual proximity to each other at the last event, but that wasn’t the case. The weather was nice and we had drinks and chatted while they prepared the meat and stuff. Us boys were having beers, Stacy was too busy to drink, and Brittney was having rum. James almost seemed TOO agreeable, like a dog that’s just eager to receive affection. He was just like always agreeing with or laughing at every joke, but rarely ever contributing to the conversation. I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t seeing the real guy.
At one point Brittney gave me the thumbs signal, as in “get out”. I was like, “????” I stepped out, but texted her, “Why do I gotta go?” Apparently she wanted to have a ‘girls-talk’ with Stacy. Which I’m like, “okay, but … . :T” So then for the rest of the evening she kept having girls-talks and boys-talks with the other three people at the party. It seemed she was digging around for why Stacy and Brandon weren’t dating. And then once she hit a dead-end with that investigation, she started coaxing James to make a move.
I was ignorant of all of this, except for when I’d get displaced and shunted to whichever group she was excluding at the moment. That’s how I found out that no one was pleased by her intrusion. Brandon brushed it off with only minor irritation, but later in the evening when Stacy and I happened to be getting some air she expressed how she was genuinely troubled that Brittney was meddling. Stacy had perceived her as someone she could be totally cool and open with, but that Brittney’s current behavior was out-of-bounds. Stacy was trying to understand where Brittney was coming from and mentioned that she didn’t know what Brittney and I were. I told her we just liked to hang out together, because we’re both mostly alone in this new city. Stacy said she was glad that Brittney had a “protector” like me, which rubbed my hackles the wrong way. Friend, yes. Boyfriend? I’m flattered, but no. Protector? What’s with that white-knight crap? What am I, some deluded eunuch?
When Stacy and I got back from our lap around the block, the guys were gone. Brittney was the only one there, on her phone and deep in her cups. Stacy tried reaching out to the boys to see where they were. I stuck around for awhile, but when she started closing down the house (at 7:30, no less) I figured the party was pretty much dead. It might’ve been due in part to Stacy’s “protector” comment that I was inclined not to stick around to look after Brittney. Anyways, she’d told Stacy that she would be spending the night, so she’d be okay. I made sure to tell her goodbye, even though she was busy on the phone. She waved me out with an “okay” and I left.
I don’t mean to sound rude, but I would say that Brittney ended that party. She got too drunk too fast and got into that zone where she just does her own thing, oblivious to everything else. It was unfortunate. They seemed like cool people and it was way too early to end it.
I felt a little guilty about how the party had turned out so on the way home I texted Brittney and asked her if she wanted me to check on her animals. I couldn’t really get any consistent reply from her, so I gave up. But then Anna texted me, saying something to the effect that she had made plans to stay over at Brittney’s, but she wasn’t there. I tried again to get in touch with Brittney, but couldn’t. I don’t know. I tried to sort things out but without Brittney’s help I didn’t know what was going on.

Jess Party

Dec. 19th, 2016 03:18 pm
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Friday we were supposed to cook our Indian meal. I stopped at a Kroger to get the last few ingredients but I’d forgotten my wallet at home or school. Running around to find that wallet cost me over an hour in rush-hour traffic. That put me in a grumpy and it was getting late so we dropped the idea of cooking that night and just drank instead. Anna came over and we all stayed up till four in the morning. The girls took the bed and I tried sleeping on the floor. Inebriated and tired as I was, I couldn’t really sleep down there.

Sometime during the night I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed how Brittney was curled up almost fetal-like in Anna’s arms. I felt a fierce pang of jealousy at that sight. I was severely displeased. And yet I knew I had no right to be jealous. That’s when I realized that I’m getting too attached to her. I really need to back off.

Fortunately Anna had to go to her shift at Jack-in-the-Box at 6 am so after I dropped her off I could relocate to the bed. That gave me a few hours of sleep, but none of the coveted cuddling. We had breakfast tea together before I headed out Saturday morning. That afternoon I mostly napped to make up for the night before.

Saturday evening one of our science teacher colleagues hosted a Christmas party. Gale has a pretty nice house; I wonder what her husband does. It was a random assortment of science teachers. Brittney and I were the only ones who brought booze, which was a bit awkward but after a couple beers I didn’t really mind anymore. Gale’s husband was the highlight of the party. A few of us (the drinkers) wound up in the ManCave, where Jim regaled us with random stories and general orneriness. I’m not sure if I believe his story that he invented the maxi pad, but everything else he told us seemed plausible. Brittney was officially/unofficially adopted into their family when Jim began to refer to her as ‘bitch,’ his term-of-endearment of choice. I continue to marvel at how easily Brittney acquires new friends at every event we go to. She makes it look so easy.

The other teachers headed out early and we were the only non-family members there by the end of it. We left just before midnight and Anna re-appeared once we were back at Brittney’s. This displeased me. Not because I’d have to share Brittney’s company, but mostly because it boded that we’d be staying up late again. I don’t have the stamina to do that night after night. I tried hanging with them for awhile but soon enough Brittney was on the phone with a friend(?) who was causing some drama. So she disappeared and I presumed that it’d be a while before she got back. I told Anna as much and stepped outside. I went to my truck, turned on the heater, and dozed off. About half an hour later I roused and checked my phone. There wasn’t anything from Brittney so I assumed she was still preoccupied. I decided not to bother returning to the apartment so I bid farewell and headed home. It took another 15 minutes for Brittney to respond, so a total of 45 minutes that she hadn’t noticed my absence. I took that as proof that she wouldn’t mind my absence; she had Anna’s company after all and I didn’t want to attempt sleeping on the floor again anyways. Of course that displeased Brittney but I learned after the fact that she and Anna still had a fun night without me.

I went out to pho for breakfast with Brittney and then returned to her place to work on school stuff until we headed out to Jess’s holiday party that afternoon. It started at 3 pm, which felt a bit early to me, but I was optimistic that we’d be heading out at an early hour, so I could catch up on rest and the schoolwork I’d been ignoring all weekend.

Jess’s party turned out to be pretty big. Their house is decently sized, but soon there wasn’t enough room to sit. And she’d taken a week off of work (alleged) to clean house, so it was a vast improvement from the last time I’d been there. And the spread of food was staggering. She really went all out. Brittney and I’d only brought snacks because the food RSVP list had already covered all the bases. Of course I didn’t know anyone there besides Brittney, but there were some kids there so I played with them when I couldn’t find a conversation to invade (which was most of the time). We ate till we were stuffed and then there was a white elephant present . . . thing, which I’d been unaware of. Brittney was keen on me meeting Jess’s dad, Paul. He seemed to be a stoner carpenter, so I was like, “Ah, I recognize this creature.” He was a fun guy. Even though I told him Brittney and I were friends and teachers at the same school, he was all, “You have a beautiful wife.” Just a joker.

The bulk of the festivities were over by eight and I was honestly ready to go by then. Most of the attendees left over the next hour until it was just us younger people who were still chatting and nibbling. Brittney was toasty so she didn’t quite hear my suggestions that we head out. If it wasn’t a school night I would’ve kept up with her but my Monday was going to be difficult enough without a hangover. When she disappeared around 9 I started to get grumpy. I’m used to being ignored by her after she reaches a certain point, but in this case I had no choice but to stick around. Jess told me that she was getting high with David. If I was going to have to stick around I didn’t want to be excluded from the fun.

When Brittney and David emerged I told her as much and David was generous enough to offer me a dab. Half an hour later I wasn’t feeling anything, only to learn from Jess that he’d made me a small one on account of how many friends they’ve had overdo it on their first time out. I didn’t want to be rude or ungrateful, so Jess relayed my disappointment to David and he made me a regular one. I nearly coughed up a lung that time. Shortly thereafter David turned in for the night and that signaled that it was time for us to leave.

I drove home of course. Brittney was all sorts of happy and she kept commenting on how high I was, but I doubted she was able to objectively/subjectively(?) appraise me. I’m pretty sure it was just her skewed impression. I felt more relaxed, but was in full command of my faculties. I did miss a couple of turns on the way back, but that was mostly because it was dark and my navigator was incapacitated. David had said this stuff would be more “expansive,” so maybe it was just that or I didn’t get enough. Either way, it was pleasant. Brittney was visibly happy that I’d ventured into her hobby. She mentioned that she would gladly give up booze in favor of bud and I replied that maybe it’s something we should do. It’d be a lot less calories I’d be ingesting, at least.

Brittney hit her wall within a few minutes and conked out. I don’t know if it was my fatigue or the THC, but that drive back from DeSoto seemed to take forever. Even though the effects were underwhelming, it was interesting to discover that I wasn’t completely immune to the stuff. All the other times I’d tried it I hadn’t felt anything. Same thing for tobacco and hookah. I was starting to wonder if I was just immune to all types of smoking. Not that I’d want to get into it seriously, though. But still, it’s good to know that it’s an option for fun.
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Friday we were supposed to cook our Indian meal. I stopped at a Kroger to get the last few ingredients but I’d forgotten my wallet at home or school. Running around to find that wallet cost me over an hour in rush-hour traffic. That put me in a grumpy and it was getting late so we dropped the idea of cooking that night and just drank instead. Anna came over and we all stayed up till four in the morning. The girls took the bed and I tried sleeping on the floor. Inebriated and tired as I was, I couldn’t really sleep down there.
Fortunately Anna had to go to her shift at Jack-in-the-Box at 6 am. Brittney couldn’t be roused so after I dropped her off I could relocate to the bed. That gave me a few hours of decent sleep. We had breakfast tea together before I headed out Saturday morning. That afternoon I mostly napped to make up for the night before.
Saturday evening one of our science teacher colleagues hosted a Christmas party. Gale has a pretty nice house; I wonder what her husband does. It was a random assortment of science teachers. Brittney and I were the only ones who brought booze, which was a bit awkward but after a couple beers I didn’t really mind anymore. Gale’s husband was the highlight of the party. A few of us (the drinkers) wound up in the ManCave, where Jim regaled us with random stories and general orneriness. I’m not sure if I believe his story that he invented the maxi pad, but everything else he told us seemed plausible. Brittney was officially/unofficially adopted into their family when Jim began to refer to her as ‘bitch,’ his term-of-endearment of choice. I continue to marvel at how easily Brittney acquires new friends at every event we go to. She makes it look so easy.
The other teachers headed out early and we were the only non-family members there by the end of it. We left just before midnight and Anna re-appeared once we were back at Brittney’s. This displeased me. Not because I’d have to share Brittney’s company, but mostly because it boded that we’d be staying up late again. I don’t have the stamina to do that night after night. I tried hanging with them for awhile but soon enough Brittney was on the phone with a friend(?) who was causing some drama. So she disappeared and I presumed that it’d be a while before she got back. I told Anna as much and stepped outside. I went to my truck, turned on the heater, and dozed off. About half an hour later I roused and checked my phone. There wasn’t anything from Brittney so I assumed she was still preoccupied. I decided not to bother returning to the apartment so I bid farewell and headed home. It took another 15 minutes for Brittney to respond, so a total of 45 minutes that she hadn’t noticed my absence. I took that as proof that she wouldn’t mind my absence; she had Anna’s company after all and I didn’t want to attempt sleeping on the floor again anyways. Of course that displeased Brittney but I learned after the fact that she and Anna still had a fun night without me.
I went out to pho for breakfast with Brittney and then returned to her place to work on school stuff until we headed out to Jess’s holiday party that afternoon. It started at 3 pm, which felt a bit early to me, but I was optimistic that we’d be heading out at an early hour, so I could catch up on rest and the schoolwork I’d been ignoring all weekend.
Jess’s party turned out to be pretty big. Their house is decently sized, but soon there wasn’t enough room to sit. And she’d taken a week off of work (alleged) to clean house, so it was a vast improvement from the last time I’d been there. And the spread of food was staggering. She really went all out. Brittney and I’d only brought snacks because the food RSVP list had already covered all the bases. Of course I didn’t know anyone there besides Brittney, but there were some kids there so I played with them when I couldn’t find a conversation to invade (which was most of the time). We ate till we were stuffed and then there was a white elephant present … thing, which I’d been unaware of. Brittney was keen on me meeting Jess’s dad, Paul. He seemed to be a stoner carpenter, so I was like, “Ah, I recognize this creature.” He was a fun guy. Even though I told him Brittney and I were friends and teachers at the same school, he was all, “You have a beautiful wife.” Just a joker.
The bulk of the festivities were over by eight and I was honestly ready to go by then. Most of the attendees left over the next hour until it was just us younger people who were still chatting and nibbling. Brittney was toasty so she didn’t quite hear my suggestions that we head out. If it wasn’t a school night I would’ve kept up with her but my Monday was going to be difficult enough without a hangover. When she disappeared around 9 I started to get grumpy. I’m used to being ignored by her after she reaches a certain point, but in this case I had no choice but to stick around. Jess told me that she was getting high with David. If I was going to have to stick around I didn’t want to be excluded from the fun.
When Brittney and David emerged I told her as much and David was generous enough to offer me a dab. Half an hour later I wasn’t feeling anything, only to learn from Jess that he’d made me a small one on account of how many friends they’ve had overdo it on their first time out. I didn’t want to be rude or ungrateful, so Jess relayed my disappointment to David and he made me a regular one. I nearly coughed up a lung that time. Shortly thereafter David turned in for the night and that signaled that it was time for us to leave.
I drove home of course. Brittney was all sorts of happy and she kept commenting on how high I was, but I doubted she was able to objectively/subjectively(?) appraise me. I’m pretty sure it was just her skewed impression. I felt more relaxed, but was in full command of my faculties. I did miss a couple of turns on the way back, but that was mostly because it was dark and my navigator was incapacitated. David had said this stuff would be more “expansive,” so maybe it was just that or I didn’t get enough. Either way, it was pleasant. Brittney was visibly happy that I’d ventured into her hobby. She mentioned that she would gladly give up booze in favor of bud and I replied that maybe it’s something we should do. It’d be a lot less calories I’d be ingesting, at least.
Brittney hit her wall within a few minutes and conked out. I don’t know if it was my fatigue or the THC, but that drive back from DeSoto seemed to take forever. Even though the effects were underwhelming, it was interesting to discover that I wasn’t completely immune to the stuff. All the other times I’d tried it I hadn’t felt anything. Same thing for tobacco and hookah. I was starting to wonder if I was just immune to all types of smoking. Not that I’d want to get into it seriously, though. But still, it’s good to know that it’s an option for fun.
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I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time with Brittney this week. Days are school, evenings are often spent ignoring my responsibilities to hang with her. Tuesday evening we “snuck out” of school early at 5:00 so that we could go buy groceries for our inaugural weekly dinner cooking. Wednesday … why was I there again? Oh, we made tacos just on the spur-of-the-moment. Of course that eventually entailed drinking beer, which led to vodka. I was really tempted to stay the night and I’m sure Brittney wanted me to, or at least not leave as early as I did (10), but I had stuff back at school that I HAD to do. She wasn’t pleased to see me go.
Normally I don’t drink on weeknights and I paid the penalty the next day. I went over Thursday because Brittney had had a shitty day plus we needed to figure out what she’d be wearing for Saturday’s “Winter Wonderland” party that Courtney was hosting. We had drinks again, but this time Brittney invited over her favorite student Anna, who brought her hookah. That changed the dynamic. Anna reminds Brittney of her younger self so they were clicking in an almost sisterly way, listening to their reggaeton music, and talking about students in their class, etc. I felt a little excluded, but whatever. I was still pretty tired from the night before so I was holding back on the booze; trying to drink just enough to be fun, but not so much that it would compound my fatigue the next day. Brittney was going strong and having fun though.
We headed out to find coals for the hookah or something. Brittney let me drive. The tires on her car were seriously low. When I’d arrived that evening I’d noticed and told myself that I should air them up before I left. Brittney needled me a bit about my driving, even though she was getting us lost on the way to the head shop. As we pulled into the shop’s parking lot, we heard a distinct pop. We bought our stuff and came back out. I could tell the tire was dead flat and that we should fix it then and there. Brittney still wanted to get booze plus she needed to pee. I told her that she and Anna should walk to the nearby RaceTrac while I fixed the tire. She said it was driveable and since it was her car, that’s what we did.
By the time we got to RaceTrac, the tire had come off the rim so there was no hope of a quick fix. That’s when my mood officially soured. Brittney wasn’t dressed properly so she stayed in the car with the heater and her phone and the beer while I struggled with the tire. Her tools were all messed up and cheap. I was pissed because I was having to deal with the problem she’d been ignored for who knows how long, tired and cold, while she was in the car texting and drinking. Eventually we had to enlist the help of three other drivers to assemble the necessary tools to get the tire replaced. It must have taken us at least an hour to get the spare on. Brittney was good at approaching these strangers and getting them to help. She thanked them all as they left, even offering to share some of the beer with them.
We drove back. I knew I was in a grumpy mood and so did the girls. Brittney told me to “loosen up.” I was aware that I was being a grump, but I couldn’t let go of the fact that Brittney had thanked everyone EXCEPT me. It annoyed me that her main focus was on maintaining her buzz and enjoyment. While walking through the parking lot to her apartment I made a clumsy joke as I attempted to get back in the mood of the evening. Brittney snapped at me and that exhausted the last of my patience. When she told me to use the keys to open the gate, I told her I would if she would tell me thank you for working on the car. She replied with something like, “Fuck that, just open the gate!” I replied, “Okay, I’ll remember this,” to which she responded, “Yeah, I’ll remember this too.” I don’t know if she was replying in kind to my budding anger, or just drunkenly echoing my words. In either case I knew my fun was over for the night.
I left a few minutes after we got inside. There was no way I’d be able to get back on their wavelength. I don’t know what Anna thought of the whole thing, but I didn’t concern myself with her too much. I hadn’t brought her into our evening. Brittney tried calling and texting after I left but I really wasn’t in the mood to talk to her. Despite being very fatigued, I wasn’t able to sleep well that night. The after-effects of drinking plus my mood kept me from resting. I couldn’t figure out if my emotions were warranted, or based on fatigue and booze and were out-of-line.
Her first text Friday morning was to thank me for my help, but I was no longer interested in hearing it. It’s easy to do the right thing when you’re sober, but your real personality shows when you’re drunk. Eventually she dragged out of me the condensed version of my side of the previous evening. She didn’t get defensive or anything, which surprised me. She sincerely apologized and although normally I hate telling people how they’ve hurt my feelings, I really did feel better after I’d gotten it off my chest. We didn’t talk about it any further. Although I still wanted to make sure I’d explained myself clearly, I was also pretty self-conscious about having this sort of conversation. And after Brittney’s humble apology, I couldn’t in good conscience push the matter any further.
Our planned cooking had been pushed back to that Friday night. I was still pretty exhausted and when I got to Brittney’s place it appeared that she was pretty tired too, but we stuck with our plan. I think we both would’ve liked to have taken the evening off, but I think we both felt that we needed to patch over the misunderstanding from the night before. So we didn’t have as much fun as we might’ve normally had. Brittney barely touched her beer at all, which was atypical. We messed up the recipe a time or two, but overall the food came out nicely. It took us a long time to finish because we weren’t at our best.
When it came time to eat I was all, “I’m more tired than hungry.” As delicious as the food was, my appetite was significantly dulled. I asked Brittney if I could stay over tonight because I was sincerely exhausted. She declined. As tired as she was, she wanted to sleep naked that night. That comment managed to kick my hibernating imagination into high gear. She said, “I know you, but I don’t know you THAT well.” Ha ha. Yeah, I wouldn’t trust myself either.
Things got weird for her after I left. She soon discovered that her wallet was missing. After searching her apartment, she even drove back to school to see if it was there. Not there. She came back home and cracked open the vodka and smoked a bowl of hookah to calm herself. But she didn’t open the window so the fire alarm went off. She climbed a chair to try and turn it off, but between her short height and the booze, she fell and hurt her ribs.
So Saturday morning after she’d told me all this, I offered her any help I could provide. She asked for “a ladder and company.” Done. I fixed up her fire alarm. Apparently she’d even hit the doorbell box on the way down. It would’ve been funny if she wasn’t hurting as much as she was. Mostly I think she just needed someone to commiserate with and listen to her plight. Between the blown tire and the missing wallet and her injury, things weren’t too pleasant currently.
We sat and had tea and talked. We even got onto the topic of her drug-abusing parents. She’d skirted the topic before but now she was willing to share. I offered what anecdotes I could about my dad’s drug problems, but it was like comparing an anthill with a mountain. I marveled aloud at how she could have endured all of their shit and still come out as wholesome and healthy as she seemed to be. I would expect someone with that history to come out with visible flaws or defense mechanisms: anger, insecurity, fear, evasiveness, etc. But she’s always been 100% candid and open and gracious. I still don’t understand how she could’ve kept those traits intact.
Anyways, while I cherished the fact that she was sharing with me, the atmosphere was getting a bit heavy so we decided to head out to get some painkillers from the store. As we got into my truck, we noticed a familiar looking black leather wallet in the back. Ha ha. Apparently it’d been in there from when we went to buy mixers on Thursday. Wow. Brittney was relieved to have it back and that discovery turned the day’s mood around. I wish we’d discovered it the night before so that we could’ve avoided the injury, but this was the next best thing.
I left Brittney on that good note so that I could go get prepared for the evening’s party. I grabbed some last minute costume items and ran down to the hotel to check-in and try things on, etc. A few hours before the party Brittney began texting me about how she was undecided about the party. She wanted to go, but still had no idea about what to wear and she didn’t want to disappoint me or something like that. Part of me thought she was looking for an excuse to not attend, but I know she’s not oblique like that. And she was also hurt, so I tried to be considerate and told her that whatever she was comfortable with (physically and socially), I would be in support of. Eventually she decided to go through with it.
She wore a cute little wintry outfit. (I still don’t get why she won’t let me take any pictures of her :T, but whatever.) I was in my white and blue jacket/dress shirt combo. Despite the big RSVP list, the turnout was closer to 15 people, I’d say. I was worried that I’d be a poor mediator to introduce Brittney to my friends and I think I lived up to that promptly. She did well at mingling on her own but didn’t seem to click with hardly anyone. I wasn’t quite sure how directly I should try to get her introduced to people. If she’d been my girlfriend it would’ve been mandatory business, but as she was just there as my co-worker, the stakes were much lower. Trying to balance my own desire to shmooze while keeping an eye on how Brittney was faring proved to be ineffective at both. She did click with at least one other girl there and I made damned sure to introduce her to Mark and Katherine, who she liked, thank goodness. I had suspected it might be hard for her to fit in amongst this circle of nerds, but I wasn’t aware of how clique-y we were until tonight.
When we ducked out to go get cigarettes, Brittney remarked how she’d never been rebuffed by nerds before. It prompted me to observe that even I remain on the fringes of these social bubbles and I’ve known these people for years. But for someone like me who isn’t social, I don’t mind not being involved. Just being included is enough for me. For someone as universally amiable like her, this was odd. When we got back, the party had been kicked out of the room due to noise complaints and now we were loitering in the lobby. That really killed the fun. Brittney had the idea that we could offer our room as an alternative. I wasn’t too keen on the idea since I wanted to remain in control of when I quit for the night, but Courtney was teary-eyed over the turn of events so we made the offer. She declined and the group set up camp in the main lobby while Kevin began smuggling our booze and snacks downstairs.
If this were an anime con, I’d be okay with loitering and drinking in a public area. But we were all either in costume or nicely dressed and although everyone was trying to make the best of it, I wasn’t feeling it. Maybe that makes me a jerk for wanting to bail on the situation. It looked to me like Brittney wasn’t too thrilled about hanging out in the atrium lobby either. After she said goodbye to her one new friend, we went back up to the room and crashed.
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We were almost giddy as were we trying to get out of school ASAP on Friday afternoon. I’m sure it was obvious to the few straggler students that we were up to something. That night we went out to dinner for sushi because it’d been on both our minds. We pre-gamed a bit at her place and then had a good long dinner. Sake, beer, and sake-bombs were had. Back at her place we kept going with the drinks and listened to all sorts of old 90s music. I nearly killed Brittney with laughing when I was karaoking/dancing to Salt n’ Pepa’s “Shoop.” She was losing it and I had no fear that she was laughing AT me. Eventually though Brittney hit her wall and ordered 6 scrambled eggs (a full dozen actually, but I refused to make that many). After dinner she was apparently gravitating towards her bed and I was prepared to make my exit when she asked (told?) me to join her in bed for a few minutes of cuddling.
Of course I was game. Given how direct and honest she is, I knew that she meant exactly what she said and nothing more. I could see that she was wobbling a little as she closed up the apartment for the night, so a small voice in my head said that maybe I should decline her offer, but I couldn’t deny how much I wanted to join her. I figured she just wanted to company, so I held back a bit. But she pulled my arm around her and intertwined her fingers with mine and then she was out like a light. I, on the other hand, could not sleep for hours (I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep at all). I was dying with happiness. After being single for over a year and a half, I was starving for this type of close, intimate, comfortable contact. And she was so warm, and soft, and smelled good … my mind simply couldn’t relax and fade out to sleep.
As I laid awake I perpetually marveled at the fact that I was here. Less than a month ago we were strangers who worked in the same building. Now I was holding her as she slept, in her bedroom, and it hadn’t involved any kind of trickery. It had just happened. My thoughts stumbled as I attempted to fathom how she could be so open and honest and trusting and … secure. And of course I kept pondering what this meant for our friendship. It was platonic cuddling, sure, but this was right on the border between platonic and intimate. I know I wanted more, but the ease with which we’d come to this point almost seemed to say that this was nothing significant at all.
I had presumed that once she became sober she might regret or be embarrassed by me staying over. But that morning after a false waking, she went back to sleep, with my chest as her pillow. I died again. When we finally got up, she was perfectly at ease with the situation and I continued to marvel at her poise.
I spent my Saturday attending to various chores and tasks, but my thoughts were constantly returning to Friday night, trying to make it fit into my schema of relationships. When I told my brother I’d be going out again that night, he joked that I was dating Brittney, considering how much I texted her and hung out with her. We’re not dating, but his clumsy remark held a grain of truth. That led me to wonder if maybe I’m getting too smitten or … I don’t know. It just kinda underlined my confusion concerning what we’re about. Although I’ve only known Brittney for a month, I can see that she’s ‘universally compatible,’ capable of clicking with a diverse swath of different personalities, with what appears to be great ease. I’m also fairly certain (but less so than the previous statement) that she maintains a host of friends and relationships of varying types and levels; she can give her trust and caring and heart to many many people, without actually giving it away to any one person. This is more of a vague theory of mine, but it’s the best idea that fits all that I know about her. These two ideas explain how we became friends so quickly: because she has that ability. It also forecasts the odds of this friendship turning into what I want: essentially zero. It’s going to take real effort not to misinterpret this unique friendship.
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This week was Thanksgiving holiday break. I didn’t have anything planned; it just sorta snuck up on me before I knew it. I told myself that I’d spend the time off planning for school and getting ahead of things. For the first few days I worked towards that goal but my motivation dropped off as I started to get bored with the ample free time. We didn’t have any family coming over so there really weren’t any demands on my schedule. I killed time the first few days by playing games and going to the movies, but that started to wear thin fairly quickly.
Earlier this month I’d gone to a science teacher conference in San Antonio along with a handful of colleagues. I don’t know if I’d say the trip was worthwhile, but the highlight was the last night we were there and we went out to a comedy club and drinking together. The girls had been drinking it up evening. Unbeknownst to me, my male roommate had been turning down their invites on both of our behalfs. That sucked. But the last night was fun and I got to know those teachers as people. They’re chemistry teachers so our paths don’t cross too much, but it was still encouraging.
So this week I texted Brittney, the teacher I’d gotten along best with, to see what she was up to. If our convention trip was any indication, I figured she might be game for hanging out and drinks or whatever. Sunday we texted, Monday we met up for drinks at her place. Since she’s only recently moved to DFW, her local friends-base is virtually non-existent, which works out in my favor I suppose. And since she’s only moved in a month ago, she didn’t even have any furniture. We drank and went over to her neighbor’s place, where they were grilling. They were kinda an average, almost country bunch, but after a few drinks I talked the talk and walked the walk as well. Brittney joined them in smoking. It amused me that she seemed almost embarrassed to smoke in front of me, when in fact I was glad she felt she could just be herself. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d met someone brand-spanking-new and had the pretenses drop away so quickly.
Wednesday we did it again. This time she’d acquired a table and chairs so we stayed at her place. We drank, listened to music, played Gin Rummy (which she taught me and I won at), she smoked, etc. In this somewhat more intimate setting I had to be continually remind myself not to optimistically misinterpret the situation. As attractive and fun and cool as she is, I had to keep in mind that attraction is not the same as chemistry. Plus, we work together so that’s a whole other reason to refrain. Maybe I’ve just been single too long and now I’m prone to over-react to any gestures of friendliness. But I behaved.
By the end of the night, either Brittney had had too much weed, or booze, or was just tired, but she reached this point where the conversation stopped dead and she was fixated on her salsa and chips. I figured it was just the munchies and would pass, but after a few minutes she went to her bedroom and passed out. We’d been having a great, relaxed conversation, but it was like she hit a wall and was done. I was kinda bummed that the evening ended so abruptly but I understood what it’s like when your body just tells you that you’re done.
Saturday I went to a French-themed Friendsgiving party. I made a quiche which turned out surprisingly well. We ate and ate and ate. The only booze there was wine, which I’m not really into, so about 9 I was still sober and kinda getting bored so I headed out. It was early and this was the last night of my Thanksgiving holiday week, so I felt restless. I texted Brittney and we decided to go out and do something.
We ended up at a “hookah bar” near her place. I use the quotes because it was unlike any hookah bar that I’ve been to, and not in a good way. It was like part sports bar, part restaurant, part dance club, with hookah service. I wasn’t a fan of the flavors we smoked so I focused on my booze instead. Brittney got up and danced a bit, enticing other ladies to join her. It was amusing to see how people just gravitated towards her. Eventually the booze made up for what the atmosphere lacked and we were laughing and having a fun conversation. We gave the place a shot but after an hour or two we were bored and there wasn’t much point in continuing to waste money there so we headed out.
Just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, Brittney said, “I have to take this call.” It seemed to be an ex-boyfriend. It was interesting to hear Brittney’s vocabulary and demeanor change so strongly. Every other word was “bruh.” I was laughing on the inside. She talked the whole drive back, then when we got back to her place she excused herself to the patio and kept talking. I tried to keep myself pre-occupied for the next hour and ignore the conversation but Brittney was loud and animated. The snippets I heard sounded like they were dredging up ancient history; stuff like, “we didn’t work out because …”. That’s not anything I wanted to eavesdrop on. I didn’t like the feel of that conversation at all. What kind of married guy calls up an ex-girlfriend late on a Saturday night to talk about their relationship? It made me uncomfortable and also I felt a bit grumpy. We’d been having such a good time and now I was completely being ignored. After an hour of trying to be patient, I left.

August 2017

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