In The Meantime: The Best Friend Who Should’ve Been Your Man Pt. 2
A whole summer and a semester would pass by, before I saw Aaron again. Focused on the start of school and immersing ourselves into new friends and a new major, we spent less time catching up. Infrequent Facebook messages were sent and we spent more time becoming the new person you were allowed to be, once you set foot on a campus.
Aaron became a marching band hunk, giving new meaning to the name ‘drum major.’ I became a literary fiend, soaking up the knowledge of my professors and all the books the library had to offer. It wasn’t until halfway through our second semester that Aaron finally called.
“Hey love, how are you?”
“I’m great! Writing like crazy, just started a blog.”
“I saw that! I read a few of your posts. I’m so proud of you, you’ve come a long way from journal entries.”
“Yessir. How are you?”
“I’m great! Band is going everywhere, so I’m rarely on campus. Listen, we’re playing your school next week. I’ll be there for two days. We should see one another.”
I was suddenly way too excited, “That’s a great idea. Send me the details.”
I hung up the phone and plopped down into my twin-sized dorm bed. There’d been an abundance of almost-men at school. They were all interesting and there were a few that caught my attention. However, I couldn’t keep my mind off of Aaron.
The week went by quickly. I spent my mornings in class, gazing out of windows, wondering what our reunion would be like.
Would he kiss me, upon seeing me?
Would it be high school all over again; just friendship and regret?
Would we profess our love for one another?
Would his eyes tell it all?
I was 18, but still found myself scrawling his name in my notebook as these thoughts crossed my mind. I was anxious. I wanted the love that my mother and father so often spoke of.
Parents approve love.
Love that knows where it belongs.
Love that waits and wants.
Love that sacrifices.
Love that mends and breaks and mends again.
He called early on a Saturday morning to tell me that he’d arrived. I threw on my best spring dress, fluffed my fro, and made a mad dash out of the door. I arrived at his hotel and he came down to meet me in the lobby. We talked for hours, while visitors walked in and out and admired the two teens swapping smiles.
Eventually he asked, “Did you want to come up to the room and watch a movie or something?”
I was suddenly uneasy. Where was this going?
We took the elevator up, suddenly quiet and aware that we were no longer hanging in our parent’s abode. He opened the door to the double bed room and I walked in, intentionally sitting on a chair positioned near the window.
He turned on the television, “What do you want to watch?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
He smiled nervously and spoke again, “Come over here.”
I moved from the chair, to the bed, and sat next to him.
I smiled back, “I guess.”
After three reruns of Martin, he turned to face me and kiss me. This wasn’t like our kiss, right before we left for school. It was urgent, hungry, and passionate. I’d never shared this with anyone else. After several minutes of this and a heat that seemed to permeate the room, I broke from the kiss and excused myself to the bathroom.
The thoughts were rampant:
1) Is this going to be my first time?
2) Is Aaron special enough?
3) Oh shoot, I wore spanx.
4) Do I take them off now?
5) Condoms. Condoms. Condoms.
6) I’m sure he has them.
7) Wait…is that a curling iron?
8) & a pack of maxi pads?
9) Is there a girl with him?
I bolted out of the bathroom, while Aaron sat up quickly. He’d know from years of friendship, when I was pissed off.
I rolled my eyes, “Is there a girl here with you?”
“Yeah, but she’s a friend. We’re just rooming, because it’s cheaper.”
I was furious, “Right. They don’t even allow men and women to room together for marching band.”
“That’s why we’re not staying where the band is.”
I grabbed my things, bolted out the door, and heard him yell for me to come back. I didn’t know if Aaron was telling the truth. I really didn’t care. The moment was reminiscent of all our greetings. Our next years went by like a montage. Every moment we spent together in those years seemed like he was trying to make up for his ’mistakes.’ He’d come up one summer, while I was interning at a school and paid for my students to have a pizza party, just so we could talk. I was dating someone at the time; he was not. I went down to visit him one summer; he had some car trouble and was unable to meet me. I ended up hanging with another friend, instead.
We found ourselves always on the cusp of rekindling our friendship and avoiding the flames. I blamed him, he blamed himself, we sometimes blamed one another.
He called a few weeks ago, “How are you?”
I was working late, at the office, and the sound of his voice brought back simpler times.
“I’m good. How are you?”
“Not great. Just broke up with another one of these southern belles. I think I’m more cut out for a city girl.”
I laughed, “We were never good enough for you Louisiana.”
He smiled, “Nah. I was never good enough for one.”
“I’m not. In fact, I never could. It’s either you or me, what’s the excuse this time?”
“I’m kind of seeing someone…”
“When are we ever both single?”
He interrupted, “I hope this one works out. Wish me luck too, because I know you will. Let’s cycle and repeat.”
I sighed into the phone, because I knew he was right. However, I couldn’t drop everything just because he’d come to another realization.
He read my mind, “It’s different this time E. We’re getting older. You’re not that girl who’s crushing and I’m not that guy who’s running. I want it, as bad as you do.”
Two of my afterschool students walked by my door, hurriedly. The ‘couple’ walked quickly to their lockers, ready to rid themselves of the school. They reminded me of Aaron and I, at that age. My emails started to chime, beckoning my attention. Security phoned that it was time to go.
I responded to Aaron, “We’re not kids anymore. It’s much more complex.”
I hung up, as he spoke again, “Is it really?”