A boy was recently in town, whom we will call The Firefighter From Seattle*, and he always makes me laugh.  More importantly, he makes me smile.  He has since high school.  The weeks preceding this visit, the best friend and I had discussed how he was a potential opportunity.  Because I need more opportunities in my life.

I choked.

I mean, gross, not what you’re thinking, not like literally— just that I choked on the task at hand.  Ew.  Not what you’re thinking there either.  Ok, let’s start this over.

Knowing that we had premeditated and planned A Plan and that he was a prospect, if only I could work some game, made me completely avoid him.  Completely.  I felt entirely too awkward and conspicuous.  Instead of my jeans and respectable three-quarter-sleeve-length tee, I felt like I was the hoochie parading around in leather.  Scratch that, I was born in 1983, there’s no way I ever experienced leather-clad hoochies.  More appropriate to my generation and just as uncomfortable in my opinion, would be … Butt-cleavage jeans with exposed thong and a too-short tank-top revealing the beer-induced muffin-top.  Hot.  A good look for me –and everyone, I would imagine. 

Either way, I felt awkward and avoidance is always my fall-back approach.  The defense mechanism that ensures nothing will happen. So much for stories and living life.

We did, however, share a couch the next morning.  Pretty scandalous, I know.  All I was able to do.  Ironic that last year, I was comfortable spending many a summer nights falling asleep exactly as such with him, watching a movie (sans quotations: “watching a movie” from the teenage years that rarely required a movie) after drinking and playing various bar games.  He would point out constellations.  Once he gave me a flower. 

But then, last year, I was safe.  I knew nothing would happen because I was in love with someone else and The Firefighter was respectful.  Harmless flirting.  Old friends just hanging out.  Or at least that was my justification, even though a hook-up would have been legit as that was The Kid From Boston’s “keeping me on the back burner” phase.  But I felt committed … and again, when in doubt, avoid.

The Firefighter used to debate how one doesn’t win when bets are hedged, but I refused to listen.  Apparently, he knows more about gambling than I do.   Maybe next time I will have the courage to take a roll of the dice.  Or at least not avoid the table.

*The codes are not necessarily used to hide their true identity –as, really, they are more detailed than the generic name –but to keep you, my nonexistent audience, confused from, say hypothetically, the twelve Marks or nine Mikes in my life.