August 2008


July 4, 1996 – August 28, 2008.

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After the wedding on Saturday, the four of us (myself, another bridesmaid, her boyfriend, and The Firefighter) were sitting in our hotel room playing a drinking game. Since the evening was creeping toward 4am, we played an easy one: ‘The OR game’. The rules are simple: each person asks an ‘a OR b’ question to a teammate, the teammate answers without any modifiers, takes a pull, and passes the bottle to the next person. (I realize there’s not much skill involved in the game, but we had been drinking for eleven hours at this point, cut us some slack)

We played a few rounds and my co-bridesmaid’s (extremely inebriated) boyfriend was still unable to comprehend the point of the game. He struggled each turn, unable to come up with anything without our coaching, as the bottle of liquor continued to pass and questions were asked.

Liquor or beer.
Slow or fast.
Home or away.
Pink or purple.

A few more rounds go by and he’s still having a difficult time selecting two options in which to ask, but we’ve stopped coaching, preferring instead to bypass him in the circle.

Mom or Dad.
Miller or Bud.
Top or bottom.
Sunshine or rain.

Suddenly, with a proud sense of achievement, he shouts “HEY! I GOT A GOOD ONE!”

We all wait in anticipation to hear his heavily thought-out options and he says, “MOLLY! HAVE YOU EVER FUCKED A BLACK GUY?”

The Firefighter and I cannot keep our shit together at this point, and needing some validation, he starts arguing with his girlfriend, “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM? IT’S A LEGITIMATE QUESTION.” He then left the room in an angry uproar and was found by the hotel staff, eight minutes later, passed out on a chair.

So … you can be too drunk for the OR game. Good to know.

“[Realtor], you’re sick too? Must be all that making out that we do.”

“I, uh, um … nevermind.”

“No? You’re not going to touch that one?”

“Not for another week. I have to be professional for another week, until you close on your house, and then you better watch out.”

Last week, the banter made me smile, though slightly unnerved with his not-too-subtle advances into my protected comfort-zone. Today, as I write it, I don’t know if I am feeling it; I might be done with my crush.

All those uncomplicated feelings? Just got complicated.

And not necessarily because anything, feelings-wise, has changed but more because I live in a constant mind-fuck. And now I’m really worried that I ruined everything.

The Firefighter and I are oddly … aware of each other. Love is present, unequivocally, but stemming more from an awareness than desire. Not that we don’t make innuendos and suggestive remarks – we do constantly – but the love is more of a mutual no-excuses-needed understanding.

Hm, I would call bullshit on this explanation if I was the audience, not author. It’s hard to explain — we just get each other. And it makes me happy when he is in town.

My absolute favorite part of our reunions is the initial meeting: I wrap my arms around his neck, and he will lift me up –he’s tall, 6’4″ maybe?, which leaves about a foot of airspace between my feet and the ground — and spin in a circle. I always laugh and he takes a few minutes to let go. He does this regardless of location –my family’s kitchen, a friend’s basement, or in last night’s case, the crowded bar’s outdoor patio while his dad, uncle, and brother-in-law looked on. But he knows it makes me laugh and he does it each time.

At his request, after my Wine Bar shift, I stopped at the bar where he was playing games with his (intoxicated) family and was immediately welcomed, teased and taunted into their clique. When his father or uncle would make remarks that I dirtily construed as euphemisms, he would pinch my waist, knowing exactly where my mind was.

At the end of the night, he told his family that, at 1am, we were going back to my place to “talk” which they said sounded like fun and hoped we had a good time. He said this without asking my permission, which was unneeded, because I had already assumed that he would come home with me – it’s kind of our MO and again, that awareness. Just like I didn’t hesitate or ask to sleep on top of him.

My place, just to be clear, right now is actually my parents’ house, which is a Catholic household – at least where my mom is concerned, which means that boys are not allowed in bedrooms, even at age 25. Guys can, however, “accidentally” fall asleep while watching a movie on the couch, which is the loophole we’ve always used.

The couch was small but luckily neither of us has personal-space issues (at least concerning the present company). For the five-minute movie-watching duration, I closed my eyes and he quoted the memorable lines into my ear. When he turned it off, I switched positions, without any verbal communication, because he’s a back-sleeper.

We discussed our current love lives with my leg draped over his, his arms around me, and my face breathing into his neck. When I asked what he thought I should do with my future, he answered, “Marry The Kid. You still love him.” This conclusion came after a deliberate exclusion of anything Kid-related and a deliberate up-selling of current prospects. This is one example when his ability to read me is annoying.

And again, I can’t really explain that. Just like I can’t explain how I didn’t get jealous when he received a late-night dirty text from his current lady friend. The thought of him with someone else? Oddly, no jealousy or territorial problems. And it’s not because I am not attracted to him — I got goosebumps when he grazed his nose under my ear.

As I am rereading this, I am trying to picture how an audience would construe these insightful details into our dynamic. If I was an outsider, I would call bullshit. Maybe it is. I get him, he gets me, we both want each other to be happy, and it’s either really fucking healthy or really fucked up – and even as the author, I can’t decide which.

“… Well, you’re a busy guy.”

“I’ll need something to do. I dropped all the girls. Too stressful.”

After agreeing to share a hotel bed with me–because we’d probably end up sharing one regardless –after the wedding reception, he stipulated that it was my job to ensure that our friends (who are also staying in our hotel room) understand that they are banned from having sex while we’re in the room. Not because the noises and general awkwardness but because he would feel pressured to then seduce me and turn his performance into a competition with them. And he wants to protect my virtue. When I laughed at his bluff, he called mine, “Ah, MollyE, I guess we’ll see what happens.”

I might not see him too often, but every time, I remember how much I adore him – and have since high school. He makes me laugh so easily. I wonder if it’s more the novelty of him than the actual person. If I saw him regularly, I wonder if I would appreciate him as much. I hope I would. But then, if that were true and it was more than novelty, I probably would make more of an effort to integrate him into my life on a regular basis.

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