Friday, March 31, 2006


Leaving now to go hang out w' the guys. Fuck the show...everybody wang chung tonight.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


She said she's going with another friend of hers, who is also friends with the boyfriend one, so she can't go with me. She was really formal & brief about it, so I dunno. Not even sure if I should go myself; what would be the point if we won't get to talk to each other? Alan's coming into town anyway; maybe I should just not worry about it. Wonder how long that will last...

Roll the Bones

Got a wild hair & wrote Roxanne to ask her if she would come have coffee with me after the show on Friday, if she were unaccompanied. We'll see what happens....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Still the Same...

Been takin' a lil' some of you kind readers suggested. Imagine that, me not wanting to dwell on my past...stop the presses. Nothing much to write about, anyway, although it turns out that I won't be moving next week, after all. My landlord offered me a good deal to stay, and I really like the place & didn't want to move, anyway, so I'm gonna stay put for the time being. I haven't told Lanie yet, but she's gonna be dissappointed; I'm pretty sure she had been looking forward to having me under the same roof to serve as her emotional tampon whenever the flow got heavy. I'm kidding...but she is gonna be bummed. As it got closer & closer, though, the thought of having roommates again was really starting to make me panic...I'm really not sure I could've coped, so I'm glad things worked out the way they did.

Speaking of the devil, I'm still thinking about allowing Lanie to do a guest-blog, but when I told her the other night that folks actually might be interested in hearing from her, she got all flighty & said she didn't know what to which I told her that I just figured she already had something she wanted to say, since it was her idea & all. But, no, apparently she just wanted to bitch about how much this whole thing w' Roxanne has been annoying her, and how lame I am because of it...something I think I do a pretty good job of conveying already. In any case, I might not be opposed to it...maybe if I let her go on her own she could give some perspective on the situation that I can't, or won't.

No new news from Roxanne...but I might be seeing her this weekend. It turns out that her & Jerry's stepsister is having some stupid fund-raiser for her stupid performance-art troupe on Friday, and I know she's gonna be there....probably without the boyfriend one, 'cus she rarely goes anywhere that Roxanne's parents will also be (her parents don't know...and she has no plans of telling them...which only reinforces my theories, but I digress). Even if the boyfriend one does show up, at least I'll get to see how they are together, and I'll get to make the other one nervous & edgy, which is always fun.

And, as far as the project goes, before I got back on the Roxanne-a-go-round a couple weeks ago, I had planned to skip ahead a year or so & start in on the J.C. story...which I think will be the next step here. I know a couple of people have asked to hear about more craziness from Veronica, and there'll be plenty more of that to come, but I might skip ahead a bit just to be able to write about something less depressing for a while & get myself back into the groove. It all comes out the same in the end, anyway....

But, for the rest of today, I'd like you all to join me in a moment of remembrance for someone we lost this weekend...

Keep on pickin' & grinnin', Buck....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Change in the Weather...

I'm a weak, weak man. or, at least that's what Lanie keeps telling me...and she's probably right.

I sent Roxanne a message yesterday, after not replying to her for over a week. I basically just told her that I wasn't mad at her, but I still didn't want to do this dance back & forth over e-mail. So, I got a letter back from her just now. It was short, but she thanked me for understanding that she didn't any harm...and that she's been thinking very carefully about what I said, and although she can't do it right this moment for reasons she didn't specify, she's thinking about the two of us sitting down about things. Whatever that means.

And, for the first time in four years, she said those three words all in a row. Not 'I'll always love you, or 'I still have feelings for you' or 'much love, or 'love always'...but straight up 'I love you'. And I wouldn't read too much into it if I didn't know she was choosing her words as carefully as I'm choosing mine.

So...who knows. In one way, it's the same as it ever was; the ball is in her court & I'm just warming the bench. On the other hand, if this is indeed what I want to happen...then maybe I'm not as big a chump as I thought. In any much for moving on.

In other news, I'm gonna be moving out of my house in a few days. The rent on my place is being raised by more than I want to pay, so...drum roll...I'm gonna be moving in with Lanie for a little while. Actually, she lives in a big house that some friends of mine own, and one of the folks who was living there just moved out recently, so I'm just gonna move in there for a while as I'm saving up to buy a place. She's very excited about the whole prospect; I see visions of unrequited domesticity dancing in her head, but I just don't know how I'm gonna cope with having a roommate again...I've lived alone for so many years now. It'll probably be good for all the changes I try to avoid.

Otherwise...nothing much else is new. Thanks for all you guys checkin' in on me the last few days; it's helped, really. The next week or two should be pretty interesting...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Havin' trouble writin' much of anybody.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Turns out...

It was short. It was another "I'm sorry" from her, for stirring things up again. She thinks I'm mad at her, I'm sure. I guess I don't have the market cornered on guilt, after all...

No response from me.

But I have to come clean & admit that my lack of response to her isn't so much me wanting to cut it off, as much as just not being able to find the words. And there's a little part of me, that I won't admit anywhere but here, that probably wants to make her sweat a little bit & see what happens...and that makes me feel even guiltier, 'cus I know I've already done my share of making her sweat in the past.

And there are so, so many other things that I need to have my mind on right many. Anyway, go on about your business....

Thursday, March 16, 2006


There's a message from her in my inbox...and I can't quite work up the nerve to open it. So, I figure if I'm gonna be in suspense, everyone else has to be, too...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nowhere Fast

Well, things have been quiet. I haven't written her back or tried to contact her since her last letter on Saturday...and I'm pretty sure that, since she hasn't heard from me by now, she thinks I'm mad at her again...which, I'm not. I know that what everyone's been saying - that she was trying to test the waters & make sure her safety net was still there - is at least partially true, but I don't believe that she did it in a selfish or thoughtless way (well, maybe slightly thoughtless, but sincere, nevertheless). She doesn't have a selfish bone in her body that I know of, and I know she probably feels as bad as I do right now. But that still doesn't exactly do me a lot of good...

Elaine & I patched things up. I can't blame her at all for getting mad at me; if I were her, I'd be so sick of hearing about it that I could spit. She's right, tho...and so is everyone else; I need to just let it go. Some of the things you guys have written in the last couple of days have illustrated that for me pretty well, too. So, yes...I hear you, everybody. And I appreciate...more than I can tell you. I just wish I was better at actually listening; as my old 7th-grade teacher said: "You hear...but you don't listen!".

Somebody said before (and not for the first time) that it seems like I'm addicted to the strife & struggle of it all; that somewhere deep down, it's been ingrained in me that love is supposed to be hard, and difficult, and dramatic, and stressful, and always just out of my reach. That I'm used to pining from afar; whether about her, or Kara, or whoever (actually, though, those two are the only ones who really fit into that hypothesis). There is some truth to that...maybe more than I realize.

And they might have also been right when they said that might have been the reason that I broke up with Roxanne in the past....because it was all laid out for me on a silver platter. If I had made that commitment, I wouldn't be able to wish upon a star anymore; there's be nothing left to pine for. I'm sure there's some truth there, too...and it's as good an excuse for what I did as any I've been able to come up with (mostly). I don't think that's the whole of it, but it's certainly not totally off the mark.

Somehow, even though I'm just as much to blame, I'd really like to be able to say this is all Kara's fault...but it isn't.

The truth is, I still don't really know why I left Roxanne when I did. I've realized a few things while writing this project that have helped me understand it, but if she were to ask me again tomorrow why I did it, I still wouldn't be able to explain it in any way that would satisfy her. The best way I can explain it now is that, at the time, there were things going on in my life, with my health & with other factors, that I simply couldn't bring myself to drag her down into, no matter how willingly I know she would have gone. But I'm aware of how weak that sounds, and I don't expect her or anyone to accept that as an excuse at face value.

Those factors eventually faded, though, and my health recovered. It took my head a while to catch up, but by the time it had, it was too late. And ever since then, I've been adrift in this ocean of emotion, with her as my island off in the distance. And I had swam out way too far to make it back in time...

Since then, I've done all the things that one is supposed to do to get over someone. I've dated other women (not for a while now, but for a good while afterwards), I've tried to dive headfirst into concentrating on my job, I've kept my health up (for the most part), I've made up for lost time with my friends & family, I've apologized to her & tried to make amends...and yet, here I still am. I just can't seem to find that damn 'off' switch.

I was doing pretty well for the last few months. After the last round of this game in October, I had made a conscious decision to move on with my life & just let Roxanne move on with hers. I was tired of trying to make up for the past, and I decided to just let us both try to live our own lives...and I had done pretty damn well, I thought. Many of you guys here on the Project had commented on how much less wallowing I'd been doing, and even Kristin had patted me on the back for it recently...and those pats don't come lightly.

And then, the letter came last week, and it was like I instantly hopped into a DeLorean, gunned it to 88 MPH & went right back to the past. And, since then, I haven't been able to hardly think about anything else. Maybe it was some kind of cosmic test, where just as I was starting to get over her (sorta), she reaches out to me more than she has in years. If it was a test, I failed it miserably.

So, at this point, I guess I need to just face the fact that positive thinking is just not gonna be enough. I'm simply not going to get over this, not without either some kind of concrete closure & resolution, or years of therapy. And I can't afford the therapy. But I can't keep feeling this way, either.

As long as she's over there & I'm over here, it's going to go on, and on, and on, with no end in sight; and if I don't perpetuate it, then she will by writing me again the next time she misses me, whether she means to or not. I think that by now, it's the only dance both of us know anymore. So, the only thing I know to do, aside from trying one of those wacky stunts they do in the movies or joining the peace corps, is...well, hell...I dunno. I'm fresh out of ideas.

And apparently I'm fresh out of sense, 'cus I'm pretty sure I stopped making any a while back.

You guys see why my friends are so frustrated now?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Same Ol' Situation...

Alright, I guess I should elaborate.

She didn't exactly say 'no' was more complicated than that (shocking,I know). I mean, it wasn't really a yes or no question. She didn't say that she didn't love me, or that she didn't want to be with me...quite the opposite. In fact, she admitted more feelings for me & talked about the what-if of us getting back together with a much more open mind than she has in entire the four years since we broke up. Hell, the fact that she just didn't dismiss it all outright speaks volumes itself...

Basically, she said that yes, she does still hold those feelings for me, and she should have known how her letter would make me feel, but for some reason, she just wanted to tell me. She said that, no, she's not very happy with her life right now, and she feels like she's at a crossroads & she doesn't know what to do about it, but she didn't mean to hurt my feelings or to push us back onto the rollercoaster again, she's just going through a rough time. But, she also said, as rough as this time may be, she's still in a committed relationship at the moment, and she knows she should have thought better about expressing all this to me while nothing can be done about it.

She said that, yes, she did wonder about what kind of connection we'd still have after all that's happened to us & all we've grown, but that she couldn't be certain that, even if her life blew up in her face right now, if we would be able to pick up the pieces & try again...she would still be very cautious for a long time.

And she said she wants me to be happy, and she'll always love me, and she's sorry for stirring up the hornets nest between us again, and she'll try her best not to do it again.

Before I got her response, Jerry said that he'd bet everything he owns that nothing at all would really change as a result of any of this; he said she would say just the right thing to keep me at arms length, and yet still reach out to me enough to keep me hanging as long as she wanted me to. Now, Jerry is an extremely cynical guy, and I scoffed at him when he said this, if only for the reason that he made it sound like some Machivellian plan by her...but, in the end, whether it was intentional or not, that's basically what she did.

Then, the next day, I got another letter from her...saying that she was sorry again, and felt terrible about everything, and that she was trying to figure things out in her head, and that she doesn't want me to feel like I'm still having to pay for the sins of my past, and that she knows she was wrong for poking my heart with a stick to see if it was still beating (my words, not hers) and that she was confused about her life & her future, and for me to pray for her, in whatever way I pray.

So...she didn't exactly say 'no'...and, in many ways, she's still reaching out to me more than she ever has since this all happened....but she certainly didn't say 'yes', either. And, just like Jerry said, we're pretty much right back where we were before; no closure, no resolved feelings, no peace of mind, and no each other.

And again...I just don't know what to do. Everybody in the world that I know is just sick to death of it all (and I can't really say that I blame 'em), and they all tell me, more than ever, to just let it go. Most of them tell me very loudly. And, I know they're right...mostly.

And then, there's this part of me...which may be just completely deluded, insane, and psychotic...that tells me to do just the opposite. It's impossible for me to tell at this point whether I'm just reading something into it all or not, but I swear to god, somewhere in between the lines of the correspondence we've been having, I keep hearing her say "Rescue me, please! You say you love me, well here's your chance to prove it!". I don't know it it's really there or if I just want it to be there...but I swear that's the feeling I get.

But, at this point, I can't trust my instincts when it comes to her..I've pored over every word we've written to each other in the last 2 years so much than I feel like a Madonna trying to find hidden meaning in the Kaballah, and I'm starting to give about as much creedence to the things I find.

And everyone is right...I know they are. Elaine & I got into a huge fight last night, basically because she's sick & tired of seeing me feeling down about this, and using it as an excuse for staying stuck in the past, and not moving that part of my life forward. And she's right; I've missed out on a lot of things by choosing to keep myself chained up, paying penance for my past, and I've probably just gotten used to it now...I know I have. I used to say that I made my bed & now I have to lie in it, but I never expected it to get this comfortable...

Just like she said when she screamed at me on the way out last night; somewhere, somehow, something has got to give....

Saturday, March 11, 2006


She said no.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Lay it on the Line...

As you can imagine, knowing me, I stayed awake tossing & turning most of the night last night to try & decide how to handle this. I've recieved advice from all sides, and I've actually even listened to some of it...sorta. I've spent at least half my day staring at a blank e-mail form, trying to get the words to come out...until, about 2 hours ago, they finally did.

And, I pretty much laid it all on the line.

I told her that, however nice it was to hear from her, the things she said & the feelings she expressed confused the hell out of me, and I didn't know why she would say them unless she wanted me to react somehow...but, how can I react with her in the situation she's in?

I told her that she knew how I felt about her, and that I knew the worst mistake of my life was letting her go, and that I've paid for it every single day since, but if she ever saw fit to trust me & give me another chance, then I would never let her down again. She has no good reason to have any faith in me, but I asked her if she did anyway.

And, finally, I told her that if she was really happy with the life she has, and that was what she really wanted, then she should just do it, and let all these feelings about me go....but, if she wasn't happy, then she had better figure out what she wants, because if I'm not going to be a part of her life, then I at least have to get on with mine. I can't spend another 17 years doing this same dance, and I can't keep waiting around to chase any bone that she tosses me until I'm worn out from all the running. If she isn't willing to act on her feelings, then I told her she has to at least stop telling me about them...

Oh yeah, and I told her I loved her...but she already knew that.

I pored over it, edited it, sought advice on it, and finally, sent my drafts folder, anyway. I figure I'll sleep on it & read it again in the morning before I actually send it to her. There have been plenty of times I'd wish I had done that, and I don't want this to end up being one of 'em. But I AM gonna send it......I think.

And I have no idea at all what to expect. I certainly don't expect a miracle; that she'll just up & leave her lover & run back into my arms, but all this has been a long time coming, and everyone is and in my real life; something, somewhere, has got to give.

And I dunno what else to say...I'm all worded out today. I'm just gonna sleep on it...

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Living Proof...

Ya know, things in the living-in-the-past department have been pretty quiet lately, if you haven't noticed. If anything, I've almost been avoiding writing about my ex's rather than wallowing in it like I usually do...and it's probably because I've just been thinking about it less lately. Some of that is due to circumstance, because of all the stuff that's been going on lately, but some of it is due to me actually feeling better about all of it; whether through writing it down or whatever.

Whatever the case, I haven't been arguing with it; in my quieter moments, I've almost thought I might actually be at peace with (some of) a point.

Then yesterday, I got a letter from Roxanne...

We haven't really spoken since back in October; a lot of things had been happening in her life around then, and lets just say that I felt like I should make myself scarce from her for a while, for a number of reasons...not the least of which was for me to actually try and move past it, at least a little bit. So, for almost 5 months now, I haven't e-mailed her, haven't gone to see any of her plays, haven't heard from her at all, except for a short e-mail she sent me telling me she was sorry that my grandpa had died.

Then, yesterday, her brother Jerry called me & said that Roxanne had asked if I was mad at her for some reason. Apparently, she had written me an e-mail a few days ago, and since I have a whole separate e-mail account that I basically just use to talk to her so her significant other (and I use that term loosely) won't see, and since I haven't been talking to her much lately & had almost gotten out of the habit of checking it every day, I hadn't seen it.

So, I went to check my e-mail, and there were three messages from her. The first one basically just said hello, how are you doing, and that she ran into a mutual friend that day who said to tell me hi, and she made a joke about this girl maybe having a crush on me (the girl in question is actually the daughter of a good producer friend of mine...who's about 15 years too young for me, I might add; they work in the same theatre circles). Then, she sent one a couple of days later saying that she hadn't heard back from me, and if she had said or done anything to offend me, she didn't know what it was, but she was sorry. Then, the last one, sent yesterday, said basically 'well, I guess you are upset with me, I was just kidding about whatsername, hope you aren't avoiding me & hope you're doing well'.

So, I started to write her back, and tell her all that it was just a simple misunderstanding, and that I just hadn't gotten the messages. But, that's not exactly how it turned out. Instead, I do what I almost always do when I'm writing her...I said way too much. All these feelings just came pouring out as I was sitting there writing, and I ended up telling her that yes, I had been making myself scarce, but it was only because it still hurt too much to talk to her & to see her, and that I was just trying to get on with my life, with varying degrees of success. And that I was sorry I hadn't come to see her plays, but it was really difficult for me to see her on stage, and that I missed her, and of course I still thought about her, but it just hadn't seemed to be doing me much good lately.

And I regretted it almost as soon as I'd sent it. I figured the same thing would happen that usually happens when we've been communicating well for a while & then I throw in the deep thoughts out of the blue; I figured she'd freak out & I wouldn't hear back from her again for a while...or if I did, it would just be 'hi' & 'bye'. I knew she was online when I sent my response to her, because I could see her online thru Yahoo, but I never heard back from her last night...

Then, today, I did. And she said...some stuff.

I really don't know what to make of it all, but I know it's got me all tied up in knots trying to figure it out. Basically, she said that the reason she mentioned running into that friend of ours was that, while they were talking, the other girl mentioned that I had been over to her house for dinner & such a lot recently (too see her dad, on business), and Roxanne said that, when she heard that, something came over her that...well, here's her words: "it smelled like jealousy to me and I didn't expect that from myself...I suddenly got very territorial". She said she wanted to yell at this girl & tell her 'look little girl, dont you know that i know him better than you ever will?', but she didn't. Then she said that she didn't know why that brought such a strong reaction out of her, but it did...and that it 'must be all those feelings i will always carry in my heart about you'.

She closed it by saying that she was sorry that circumstances make it so difficult for us to talk to each other; that sometimes she wants to communicate with me more than she lets herself, but thanks for bearing with her.

And maybe it doesn't sound like that big a deal from me just telling you about it, but since Roxanne & I broke up, every time we talk to each other, we both have to walk on eggshells. She's always very careful about what she says to me, and I to her; both of us know the other one still has feelings for the other, and because of that, we (she especially) both think very carefully about what we write & say to one another. In other words, she doesn't share her personal life with me much at all anymore...because she knows I don't want to hear it any more than she wants to hear about mine. And no, that doesn't leave us much to talk about anymore.

My point is that, she knows me as well as I know her, and she knows that, nowadays, talk between us about the feelings we have/had for each other is not a light & breezy subject to be tossed around the dinner table...if anything of that nature is mentioned, there's a reason for it...and usually, the reason it gets mentioned is because of me pining over her. The only time since we've broken up that she has opened up and admitted any feelings for me at all, one way or another, was about a year & a half ago, during a brief period of time when her relationship was on the rocks & we were talking, and it we might be able to reconcile again. Then, things smoothed themselves out somehow & we were back to the status quo of being all but strangers again.

So, the very fact that she said any of those things that she said to me in her letter means that, for one reason or another, she wanted me to hear them. Like I said, she would never talk about any of that stuff casually. She chose her words carefully, and she's definitely trying to elicit some kind of response from me....I just don't know what kind.

I've let both Lanie & Kristin & another female friend read the letter (or, most of it, anyway), and all of them say the same thing; they think she's reaching out & trying to tell me...something. That she misses me, she's been thinking about me....I dunno, but something. And, looking at it as objectively as I can, I guess I have to agree; I know her, and if she knows anything about me, then she would know better than to toss me a bone that she didn't want me to chase.

So, the question is...what the hell do I do about it? Do I do what Kristin says, and just ignore it, send a polite response, and keep on trying to forget about it? Or do I do what just about everyone else says, which is to call her out on it, and actually try to hash out these feelings we both obviously harbor once & for all? Do I say it's put up or shut up time...put your money where your mouth is...shit or get off the me or love me not? And if so, how the hell do I go about doing that?

The last time I layed the whole Roxanne scenario out here for all to see, I got a ton of responses telling me to just call her up once & for all, tell her I'm sorry, and pledge my undying love for all eternity. As appealing as all that sounds, the prospect of it is simply terrifying. After all, she does live with someone...and has for a few years. True, it's just a rebound relationship turned long-term due to circumstance, but she's in it nonetheless. And that, more than anything has made it hard for us to talk to each other the past few years. Mainly because....well, ok, I guess it's time to let the cat out of the bag...mainly because her girlfriend doesn't like for her to so much as talk to me. Yes, you read that right...


So, now maybe you see why all this is even more awkward than normal.

The thing is, the whole girl scenario has never really bothered me...and I don't really know why. If it was a guy she was dating instead of me, well, let's just say it would be a lot different....I most certainly would have written it off long ago. Somehow, though, the fact that she's with a girl is a lot less threatening to me; maybe because I don't feel like I'm in any kind of competition like I would with a guy. And yes, I know what you're thinking, because I've heard it from everybody else I know, but I just don't buy it; she fell into the relationship with this girl not too long after we broke up, and has been with her ever since.

Roxanne is a theatre actress, and her worldview has always been than mine, but regardless of what she might be doing with her life right now, I know one thing for a fact: I've known that girl for 17 years, and there is no way in hell you're going to be able to convince me that she will ever be truly happy with anything but a husband, a couple of kids, and a nice little house in the suburbs. I make no assumptions about why she's chosen to do some of the things she has since we've been apart (ok, maybe I do make assumptions, but they're far too presumptuous to repeat here), but I do know that this is not the life that she wants for the rest of her days...and everyone else who knows her thinks the same thing.

I also know one other thing: if this girl that she's dating were a guy....Roxanne would never, ever, under any circumstances, even give them the time of day. She's a loudmouth, ignorant, drunk, redneck moron, and she's certainly not right for Roxanne. She was just in the right place at the right time.

But, ex-girlfriend has a girlfriend. For now, anyway...

So where the hell do I go from here, then? It's not like I can just stand on her lawn & play Peter Gabriel outside her window...the boyfriend one would shoot me. I can't just call her up & talk to her...I wouldn't even be able to get a single word out; I don't think we've talked on the phone in about 4 years. I have to write her something...but what the hell am I gonna write? Jesus H. Christ, how fucking long am I gonna ramble about it in this post is the real question...

I 'm just gonna shut up now, since I've lost any train of thought I might've had.

I could use a drink, tho...

Monday, March 6, 2006

I'm Only Human...

It was about eight o'clock that night, and Jenna called me from a restaurant nearby where she was out with some friends. She asked if she could come over for a while, and I made sure nobody was spying on the house before I said yes.

She showed up about a half-hour later, wearing a black dress & looking like she'd just stepped out of a salsa video. She had been at some semi-formal function for her school, and had downed a couple of drinks or five, as well. Before either of us said a word, I had a vision of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert, and I envied him, 'cus surely the devil never looked like this...

We gave each other a hug, and instead of breaking away from me after, she looked up at me for a minute & said "So, where were we before?" with a huge smile on her face. I was soon gonna be in big trouble.

"Well, we were at a kind of awkward pause...sort of like now", I said. I'm pretty sure my voice cracked a little, like Bobby Brady. My subconscious mind went into a defensive mantra: must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"Did I freak you out?", she said, raising her eyebrows at me.

"What do you think?", I asked her.

"I think I did...I just don't know if that's good or bad". She smiled again.

"Well, Jenna, you come to me out of the blue & tell me that you think you might have...feelings for me all of a sudden, and..."

"Not all of a sudden...", she interrupted. "You know we've always had some kind of connection between us, EXBF (she liked to call me by both my first & last names, a habit she picked up from Alan), there was just..."

"Circumstances?", I finished her thought.

"Yeah...those", she said, smiling again. She reached her arms up & clasped them behind my neck.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"Well, there kind of still are, Jenna...", I said soberly...and somberly.

"Yeah...I know. I know how you boys are. But everyone knows how close we are, anyway...even he couldn't be all that shocked about it.", she said.

"Well...he was pretty shocked...", I sighed.

Jenna's eyes got wide. "You talked to him?", she said.

"Well, you knew I would, knew Pete would, if nothing else."

She just nodded, then asked me "Well, what did he say?"

"Well, you know Alan, he kind of took it in stride, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't freak out & be crushed if it were to actually happen.", I told her. She looked down for a moment before answering me.

"Do you think that's what would happen?", she asked me, knowing full well that answer, but still giving me the big puppy-dog eyes.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"I don't know...", I sighed, "but we can't find out, much as I would love to." There, I'd said it. Put my foot down. Stand fast, young man...

She didn't say anything for a minute; she bit her lip in a way that reminded me of someone, and finally looked up at me & spoke.

"You know, these 'rules' you guys have...did you ever think they might end up getting in the way of something really good one day?", she said to me. The thought struck me pretty deep, especially as I had always been the biggest supporter of 'the rules' in the past. Jenna was a smart girl.

"Not until now...", I said with a sigh.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"I love that you guys are so loyal to one another...I just...", she hesitated.

"Just what?", I asked.

"I just wish we had met each other first.", she said.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"I know...", I said when I could speak again, " do I. but, we didn't."

"No....but we're here now...and..." she trailed off again.

"And what?"

"And I understand, and I knew all this before I said anything, I guess, just seems like such a shame to let this chance go by.", she said, looking right into my eyes.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"Look, I'm not stupid, X; I know this would cause too many hurt feelings, and I knew nothing could come of it right now...but I just wanted to know..."

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"Know what...?"

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...

"Just...what it might feel like...", the corners of her mouth turned up just the slightest bit, as she raised her eyebrows at me.

must not kiss her....must not kiss her...must not........

oh, hell with it....

I kissed her.

(There, I said it...I'm not a saint...what do you want from me? And bygod, this better remain anonymous now, 'cus I've never told anybody that before in my far as I know, she & I are still the only ones who know about it. I kissed Jenna...I confess it all. Alan, if you ever show up here, sorry, man...but you of all people know what I was up against. Funny, I thought I was supposed to feel better after going to confession? Lousy Catholic guilt...)

I kissed her, and it was just as amazing as I had feared. It was like she melted right into me. Even as it started, I remember thinking to myself it's a momentary's forgivable...just do it & get it over with so it's out of your systems....nobody needs to get their britches in a wad about it...just do it once & let it be...

I remember somehow she smelled like strawberries, and her nails dug softly into my shoulders as I ran my fingers through her hair. Pretty soon, my thoughts turned into something more like okay, that's did got it over can pull away any second now. Yessirree....any second now....that's can do won't be so hard....just close your lips & pull can do it....oh whatareyoudoing COME ON JUST FUCKING STOP ALREADY!

And, somewhere else, in the back of my mind, I was still expecting Pete to burst in with a fire hose & spray us down to separate us like two fighting cats. I might have almost been hoping for it.

But Pete never came...

Pretty soon, we were on the bed, rolling around like circus tumblers. I had ripped off the knob to my inner-thought transmitter & thrown it across the room. We made out like high schoolers under the bleachers for what seemed like five years. I don't really have a memory of the event itself...only that it happened; the actions are all kind of a blur, as they probably were that night. All I remember is that we weren't rolling around like animals so much because we were horny for each other, but because we wanted to just...feel each other; see what it was like to the that close to each see what the other tasted like. It wasn't lust as much as....dare I say, passion? No, I don't dare...let's just say it was freakin' hot.

But, as enthralled as we both were, there was still a tension there that we couldn't break, and I remember reaching down to bite her gently on the neck, and hearing her let out this little squeal that she made....and when I heard that, I froze in my tracks.

I had heard that sound before...more than once...when she had been fooling around with Alan. And, for some reason, the sound of it just snapped my out of whatever trance I had been in, and shoved me headfirst right back into reality. I felt, all of a sudden, like I was doing something wrong (ok, not all of a sudden; I was fully aware I was doing something wrong all along, but this just really served as an audible cue), and I stopped.

Jenna looked over at me, and we didn't say a word. We both knew that it couldn't happen...not then, anyway. We both sighed imperceptibly, and after a moment or two, she scooted over & rested her head on my chest. I put my arm around her & we just laid there for a while, not saying anything. I don't know what she was thinking, but I was just enjoying feeling her next to me for a little while longer, because I knew I might never feel it again. I'd deal with the guilt I always do.

After a while, Jenna had to leave to go back home, and we got up & got her things together, still saying barely a word to each other. It wasn't awkward at all, and we didn't act like we felt guilty or anything, there was just a quiet understanding between us...and probably more than a little disappointment, as well. Not disappointment in ourselves for what we'd done, but at the powers that be, for having it happen under these circumstances.

As she started to leave, she turned & hugged me, and afterwards, we just looked at each other & smiled for a minute. She reached up and kissed me once on the lips, and said goodbye. She would be going away back to school in a day or two, and I knew we wouldn't see each other again for a while. I also knew that Jenna wouldn't be single for long, and the next time I saw her, she was just as likely to have a ring on her finger as not...she was a catch.

I didn't worry about any of that yet, though..nor did I worry about Alan. Nothing had really happened, I rationalized, and what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him (and, thank god, it still hasn't). I did feel bad for breaking my own 'rule', but I also knew that it would have been hard for any man not to, under those circumstances, and at least I had tried to do the right thing...again.

I did wonder, though...about all the things Jenna had said. What if?

What if, indeed...

Thursday, March 2, 2006

It's not what it looks like...

Ok, so I wasn't really busted, seeing as how Jenna & I hadn't actually done anything yet.

Still, Pete knew damn well that something was up...which it was. And we knew that he knew. And he knew that we knew that he knew...and we knew what that meant; pretty soon, Alan was gonna know. I remembered wrestling in my head with whether to tell him the truth or try to cover it up, and I remember thinking that, as much as I didn't want to lie to him, it wouldn't exactly be fair for me to volunteer Jenna to come clean, and I also knew that, if there was any one of my friends that I could possibly fast talk my way out of this with, it was Pete; not that he isn't smart, but he just isn't all that...worldy in some ways.

So, since we weren't exactly in a compromising position per se (it was more just her being there, sitting next to me all cozy under the circumstances that was compromising), somehow, I was able to play it off & at least convince him that we hadn't done anything...even though it was quite obvious that we were about to do something or the other. He just kind of gave me the eye & asked us what was up, to which we answered that we had just been talking, which, technically, we had.

He didn't press it any further than that, but he did make sure to hang around until Jenna left, so as not to leave us alone again. And let me take this opportunity now to tell you a little something about Pete; sure, it sounds like he's being the good, protective friend looking out for everyone's feelings...and he was, in this case, anyway...but Pete, aside from being the master of the bad timing, is also the master of the cock-block, or interference, as it's referred to in hockey. You see, Pete, bless his heart, is sort of notorious for being unlucky with women (like I'm not?), and maybe because of this, whether he realizes it or not, he tends to find creative ways of, well, stopping you from getting any action if he's around. This time, it was warranted, I suppose, and it's not exactly like I could pull a Tony Banks on him...

So, after an hour or so of small talk, Jenna had to leave, and we exchanged a little 'to be continued' look as she walked out the door. Pete asked me right away what had been going on, and I told him the same thing I told him before; we had been talking. I remember all he said was "mmm-hmmm", and that's all he really had to say; we both knew what would happen from here: drama.

I still didn't know whether I would have actually done anything that night or not, but I knew that just being that close to Jenna for five minutes had made my chest feel all funny. I also knew that Pete was going to call Alan & tell him what he had seen as soon as he got home, and I didn't have the slightest idea of what Alan would do.

Alan isn't exactly the most...emotional person in the world, you see. I mean, he has them, he just has this amazing way of keeping them completely in check under the surface...and they never seem to boil over & spill out, either. It's actually pretty amazing, and I've often wanted to trade places with him at times & see what it felt like to have things roll off my back while he wears all his emotions on his sleeve for everyone to see. So, I wasn't sure how upset he would be; whether he would be mad, or hurt, or some combination of both. I mean, sure, they were broken up & he was dating again & had been for a while...but that wouldn't make me feel one damn bit better if it had been he & Kara in the same situation. Regardless, I knew I wouldn't have to wait long to find out.

But, I didn't.

He called the next morning, and when I answered the phone, he just said "Man? What's going on?"

"Nothing, man...nothing happened, I promise.", I said.

"Well...what's going on, though?"

"I don't know, man...she came over, we got to talking, and..." I hesitated.

"...and?", he asked.

"...and she said she was in love with me." I braced myself.

"She said...what?" He didn't yell....I don't think he thought he'd heard me right.

"Well, she didn't say she was..she said she thought she might be.", I tried to pour some sugar on it, in the name of love.

" that better?" He asked with a laugh, which made me feel better...somewhat.

"I don't know, man...I don't know what's goin' on. Pete walked in just as it was all goin' down."

"Well....well, shit, man!" He wasn't mad...he was surprised like I was, but he wasn't mad. He trusted me, and I remembered thinking that I might not deserve it, with some of the thoughts that had gone through my head.

"I know, man...I don't know where it came from, either. I mean, Jenna & I were always close, even when you guys were together..."

"I know,'s not that I'm all that shocked, I'm just....shocked, ya' know?", he said.

"I know, too." So we were gonna discuss this like rational adults, after all. or, at least, as close as we could get...

"So, have you heard from her since?", he asked.

"Nope, not yet."

"Well, what are you gonna do, man?", he asked.

I sighed.

"Well...what do you want me to do, man?", I asked him while crossing my fingers.

"Well...I don't really want you to do anything, man.", he laughed nervously. "I mean, would you want me to?"

", I wouldn't, man." We were on the same page there, at least. I figured it was safe to make a joke about it. "Is there some kind of statute of limitations we're working with here, though, man?"

He laughed. "Well, if there is, it probably isn't gonna expire anytime soon, man".

What could I say? I mean, I, of all people, should understand what it was like to be on the other end of this fence. The first several years of my dating life pretty much consisted entirely of girls messing around with my friends behind my back, and I had based the whole of my moral code around not becoming that guy. I knew my hands were tied...but, jesus, I was just so damn attracted to just about every way.

Alan & I got off the phone with the implicit understanding that 'the rule' had indeed been invoked, and was indeed in effect. I knew that I had to abide by it if I ever wanted to be able to live with myself...but I didn't know what the hell I was gonna do the next time I saw Jenna.

Which, of course, turned out to be that very night...