It was one of those typically complicated situations. Much like a chemical reaction that results in an ephemeral burst of fireflies and music, my 36 hours of monogamy spurted out of the highly rare situational factors of being really good friends with my ex, having no sexual self control and a strange combination of emotional maturity and self awareness.
We had hooked up again two weeks prior, following the three months dating-three months just being friends emotional pattern. It was one of those things that just kinda happened, but in a rare moment of honesty I called him on the phone and asked, “Hey, are you sleeping with other people?”
“No. Are you?”
“Yeah, kinda… I mean, um, yes.”
Which unbeknownst to me at the time was a tacit surrender of our sexual relationship, but you know how these things go: I admit to sleeping with other people, I assume that it’s all good because this is just a casual situation, and then a week later in a fit I find out that, no, actually, he’s not going to sleep with me again if I have other sexual partners. Cue pouty face on my part.
Okay. Deep breath. So, at that point, I figure, that’s cool, we can be friends, or we can be fucking, and we’re still gravy. And by still being friends I mean that one of us can call the other at 2 am and say, “Hey come over,” and mean it in a purely nonsexual way, or, rather, in a drunkenly watching half a Vice documentary and spooning throughout the night and then making out in the morning but still not having sex – that’s nonsexual, right?
Of course, it was exactly one of those innocuous, “Let’s hang out and cuddle!” 2 am drunken cuddle texts that resulted in – here’s a shocker – us hooking up again. Which was by no means for any party a bad thing.
After which I go to work, and as I’m getting off work we decide to go to the local bar, where we sit and sip slowly on cheap drinks while discussing things that arose after I said, “So, we hooked up again. Does that mean I shouldn’t sleep with other people?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Okay,” I said.
So we went home, and then we woke up, and we went to work, and we came back home, and we went back to sleep, in our separate beds, and when I woke up the next morning, with a slightly unsettled feeling in my stomach, and thoughts like, “If it didn’t work out last time, why will it work out this time? What’s different?” rocketing around my skull. Check my text messages.
“Hey, can you come over? I wanna talk.”
There aren’t knots in my stomach, but I can feel the loose ropes preparing to tie themselves into a bunch as I coast over there on my bike. Talk? What does talk mean? Could it in any way be related to this nagging feeling of doubt that’s ebbing just below the nauseous qualm of my day to day thought process?
“Hey,” he says as he closes the room to his bedroom. I perch on his bed and he sits across from me on the bed. I already know where this is going.
The words come out of his mouth in a slow, measured pace, because he’s aware of the weight of every sentence that comes winding from between his teeth. I sit there and smile, and rather than the sense of dread that seems to accompany every aspect of sexual rejection in my life, there’s this strange, unsettling sensation of relief. As he prattles on with a short list of concerns and thoughts on our relationship, and then he pauses and I say, “Yes. I agree. I think we’re better as just friends.”
“I just think that in order for our relationship to work out, that a few things need to change, and they haven’t changed,” he says.
“The things that made it not work last time, the things that made me feel insecure, they’re still a part of the relationship now.”
“There are things I need to work on, and there are things you need to work on, too.”
“I wish you would change for me.” he says.
“I’m probably only going to change for me.”
“Or maybe you could change for us?”
It’s feeling slightly somber in his newly cleaned bedroom, the Wednesday morning still stretching in past his shades. We’re sitting so far apart from each other, but with a bit of tear in my eye and a smile on my face, that’s okay.
“So you think it’s better if we’re just friends?” I ask.
“Well, if nothing changes. I still want to date you, but…”
We look at each other, and as soon as we’re both done talking about the serious stuff, he comes and sits next to me and puts on YouTube videos about alligator death rolls and music by Tonstartssbandht.
After enough of that, I get back on my bike to leave.
“Give me a hug, Pilar,” he says. I give him a hug.
“Don’t be awkward, Pilar. Give me a kiss.”
We stand there and make out.
“Bye,” I say bashfully, and as I bike away, a newly single woman, I slightly wonder, what the fuck just happened?