A dark, grimy club with gaudy blue Christmas lights effortlessly streaming along the intersection of the walls and the ceilings, kind of like a tracing job done by a 3 year old. The locals, aka the shimmeries, inhabiting every breathable space in the club. This was quite possibly the last place I was expecting to meet someone, let alone fall in innocent love (love not infatuation) reminiscent of the glorious naivety of 8th grade crushes that still seem all too real, all too heartbreaking, even after a decade.
All I asked for was a dark, grimy club with gaudy blue Christmas lights. A place I could wear off the 2 bottles of wine I had over the course of the entire day. All I wanted was to be carefree for just a couple more hours before the arduous routine of real life set in again. All I asked for was a dance floor with risqué pop singles blasting so loud you could feel the bass reflecting off your shimmery dance partners’ chests. I asked for all this … and I got all this. What I should have done instead, was asked for what I didn’t want. I didn’t want any emotional carryover, I didn’t want feelings of anxiety, excitement, and spontaneity in place of feelings of calm, contentment, and boredom, I surely didn’t want to meet someone who would eventually remind me of the brokenness of me, a fragile brokenness that is too often ignored and was made all too apparent to me after this one fleeting encounter.
Who he was, where he came from, what his dreams were, why he was attracted to me. None of this matters. Of course, at the time it did. Everything happens for a reason, right? Oh, you like Thai food too? (Must be a harbinger of our future perfect date at the local Thai spot.) You think I’m cute? Well, you’re in luck, cause I think you’re fucking adorable. I felt like I had met someone, albeit in a dingy club, who got me. Someone who I could look at and almost see a piece of myself in the way he looked at me. In the long, but unusually pleasant pauses intermitting our conversations. Wow, so I guess we have a lot in common, and we might, possibly, hopefully (maybe?) be able to make this moment last more than … just a moment. Per usual, I was a little off target with that thought. Yes, it’s true, he got me, I got him. I saw a piece of myself in his eyes, his mannerisms, his swag. What I failed to realize then was the part of me I saw in him, was the tragic, broken part of me. It was all too familiar, almost too uncomfortably comfortable, and now almost unbearable. It all makes sense now, in retrospect, he was me many years ago.
He was broken, is broken. Striving to find something in someone for sometime. A feeble attempt to divert the mind, to play a trick on his brain that he knows is going to backfire. (Un)fortunately, I was that someone. That someone whose cuteness wasn’t really mine, but a reminder to him of a cuteness that was once his, one he still desired. I think he genuinely thought there was a sliver of hope, a chance this might work. Like the chance you take with a broken zipper, thinking that if you fidget with it long enough, it will eventually work. Like the chance you should never take with a broken heart. That night he was a young boy with an innocent aura that was devastatingly intoxicating, and I expected nothing more of this bond than a handful of dates and fewer lonely nights.
Our parting of ways that night felt like a reunion of sorts. It was strange. Very surreal. The brief kiss on the cheek was a rush of blood to my head, the crushing hug … was just that … crushing. The flirty text messages late into the night were further proving to me that something was happening, something spontaneous. I didn’t read the signs right … again. The last text was less than 24 hours from our ephemeral moment. The end of my shortest and most enlightening fling. He liked me, but loved someone else, too much. The pain was not hidden from the words he texted. In the following hours after it was all over and done, I realized that he … was me. All the feelings started to make sense, the common unspoken understanding was not between two strangers with an inexplicable love for Thai food, it was an understanding between two devoted lovers whose devoted love-ees had left. Like me years ago, he was attempting to fill that void with another love-ee, unlike me, he realized his mistake and made the most courageous move a broken person can make: he confronted it.
He knew the void he was filling couldn’t be filled by me, or any lover, it would take months, years, decades to fill, and with the love of family and friends and the patience you need for self-growth, self-improvement. His honesty was so real, so new, so physically painful. Mostly because he did what I should have done a long time ago. He was true to himself. Surprisingly, I wasn’t upset or angry or embarrassed or indifferent. I was refreshed. Refreshed at having met someone who, with one brief encounter, allowed me to believe again in the genuineness of man, a sliver of hope that I will find what I’m looking for. By that, I don’t mean the perfect man, but the perfect me.