My Story in Song: Part 6
“I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea.”
His statement caught me completely off guard. It came after an afternoon out with a group of friends, New Kid in tow. It had been a great day, at least in my estimation, but now that I was driving him home, things seemed to be taking a turn for the worst.
“About what?” I asked cautiously.
I had my suspicions, of course, but I was confident – no, I was certain – that there was NO. WAY. that the man beside me could possibly mean what I thought he did.
“Us. This,” he stated, waving a hand in the space between us.
“I’m not looking for anything more than friendship from you.”
He… He thinks that I… WHAT??
“Yeah, and I’m not looking for anything more than friendship from you,” I replied, spelling things out as clearly as humanly possible while remaining remarkably calm in the process.
Was this guy for real? I had only broken up with my ex a week ago! After that ordeal, I wasn’t looking to date anyone for a long time. Least of all a man intending to breeze through my hometown – and life – without a care in the world.
“Well, it’s just that we started hanging out,” New Kid hedged. “And then you broke up with your boyfriend…”
But that’s when I stopped listening, too preoccupied with the rushing sound of white-hot humiliation that drowned out his voice.
I could not believe this was happening! What did I do?
I treated him like a brother. I busted his behind on the daily. I made specific clothing choices to ensure that there was no conceivable way that he could ever think that I was looking for attention.
Shoot, I even made undergarment choices to prevent him from getting the wrong idea!
“I didn’t leave him for you!” I gasped. “I’m not an idiot!”
For goodness’ sake, we had only known each other for a few weeks! Besides that, New Kid’s intent to stay unattached was so painstakingly obvious that he might as well have been wearing a flashing neon sign that read, “Committed Single.” He was the last person I’d set my sights on, for that exact reason.
“I just think that maybe we should spend less time together.”
Oh. My. Freaking. Goodness.
If New Kid was so relationship-averse that he would push me away just for being single and female, it wasn’t worth my time to try and argue my case.
The remaining few minutes of the now-very-uncomfortable car ride passed in uneasy silence. When we arrived at his house, I unlocked the car doors and let him out without a word. All he offered me before leaving was a strained goodbye and a hasty retreat.
“What the heck was that?” I wondered aloud to God on the drive home.
Embarrassing, that’s what.
I blew out a frustrated sigh and shook my head, trying to erase the memory Etch-a-Sketch-style.
Imagine, me after New kid. ME!
Miss Logical, Miss Realistic… Why, I’m so down-to-earth I might as well be wearing weighted shoes! I’m no pie-in-the-sky romantic.
Instinctively, my hand reached for the radio knob, turning it on and scanning for some kind of comfort. I found it in the form of Slide, by the Goo Goo Dolls.
“Yes,” I smiled, releasing a relieved sigh and raising the volume until it was loud enough to drown out the echo of New Kid’s insinuations. “Thank You, God.”
I sang at the top of my lungs and sped all the way home. I had to let it go. Shake it off. Let it slide. If New Kid had an unsavoury opinion of me, that was his problem. I knew what I was about.
Still, I couldn’t ignore the profound sense of emptiness and loss that settled over my heart. Despite his quirks – and even because of them – New Kid was the best friend I’d ever had.
“Nope.” I shook my head and set my jaw, determined not to linger. “It’ll be fine. You’re good.”
As the saying goes, fake it 'till you make it.
Listen to Slide here