I have been ill the last few days and not really feeling up to finishing the story. It took me three days to write over all. And I am sad it is over. Please feel free to give advice and let me know what you think. Or if you have had similar situations, What did you do?
I slowly made my way to him.
“Hey. How’s it going?”
He appeared startled that I was there. Although I am not sure how he could have missed me walking to him. I felt even more uneasy about what I was going to do. I don’t really remember exactly what he said. But it was something along the lines of “Good. Ready to get home.” I do remember that he asked if I was ok. I stumbled a little, more out of nervousness than out of drunkenness.
“I’m good… So I wanted to talk to you about something.”
He turned to face me head on. He said ok.
I opened my mouth to talk, when I heard the whiny voice of a female behind me.
“Irishman, could you help me?” When I turned around I saw The Scotsman’s girlfriend. She was pretty intoxicated but seemed to be on a mission.
“Hi Ashley.” I said.
She ignored me and continued to talk to the Irishman, “I lost my purse and I cannot find it. Could you come and help me look for it? I’ll drop you by campus after.”
Seriously? She KNEW what I was about to do. I know her boyfriend told her, and she came out here to save him. I was in shocked and I turned back to look at him, hoping he would brush her off. He gave me an apologetic look and helped her back to the house, mumbling that she didn’t need to drive him back to campus he would walk.
I found myself in a parking lot, alone, tipsy, and defeated.
I wandered over near an old white jeep and slumped to the ground crying. It was all too much. This was the last night, and I had finally gotten up the nerve when Ashley came out of nowhere. I never heard her footsteps. I was too busy focusing on The Irishman. And I should have just SAID it. What was I thinking?
I cried for a good 15 minutes, and once I stopped and made sure my makeup wasn’t everywhere. I walked back up to the house. The Scotsman was on the front porch waiting on me, “How’d it go?” He was beaming from ear to ear thinking I had good news to tell him.
“You should ask your girlfriend.”
I pushed past him to the door just as she was coming out. I could hear them fighting from the inside as I grabbed my girlfriends and told them we needed to leave. They were still arguing when we left the house. I took it as a sign that I was never supposed to tell him about my feelings. For one, he already knew I had this massive crush/infatuation with him. Even if he was nervous, any normal man would still try to talk to me.
The next day he left for New York City with his parents and I moved home for a few weeks.
I returned to Jackson later in June to start my internship and moved into my sorority house. I had given up on the notion of telling him my feelings and began to move on. He was gone.
One weekend my best friend and I met another soccer friend of ours, Brad and the Scotsman out in Memphis. We decided to go on Beale Street and live it up like we never could back in the day. Throughout the night The Scotsman and I had many conversations about what happened that night. He told him that his girlfriend felt that The Irishman didn’t want my proclamation and that her friend (his ex) had asked her to intervene. He told me that if The Irishman really wanted me, he would have made a move himself. He was just too stuck in his ways and that I needed to move on.
I took what he said to heart and started to do just that. I ended up meeting a local Jacksonian through friends and we began dating not long after. I needed a distraction.
The Irishman ran passed my sorority house nearly every day. He was helping to coach summer soccer leagues at the school and I suddenly had even more trouble escaping him than before. But this time, I was getting over him so instead of excitement I felt annoyed by it.
Towards the end of the summer me, the Jacksonian, and some other friends all went out to The Tavern. One of my good childhood friends was in town visiting and I was trying to show off all the cool places to drink at. We were all there outside on the patio, listening to a band and enjoying the July weather.
The back door swung open and out walked a few of the soccer players including The Irishman. Torn faded jeans and a navy tee. I remember it all so well. But now, I didn’t care as much. I was “so over it” and tried to pay him no attention as they sat at the table next to us. I waved hi, but turned my gaze back to the guy I was seeing. As the night progressed, my party moved inside to play darts. We were ready to change scenery and my friend who was visiting wanted to go to the local club. My date had already checked out for the night but I was up to make my friend’s evening a good one.
If she wanted to go dance, we would go dance.
Enter the soccer guys. My friend started up a flirtation with one of their visiting friends. I can’t even recall his name, so let’s call him Paul.
Paul was loud, funny (or so he thought), and very into my friend. Within 5 minutes of meeting her, he had his arm hung over her shoulder. Meanwhile more people left the bar and soon there weren’t much of us left.
I found myself standing in a group, including the Irishman.
“I’m moving in two days.” He waved at me to get my attention.
I was thrown back a little by his statement, “Really? Where are you going?”
“Macon, Georgia.” He nodded his head as if he were trying to convince himself it was a good idea, “I’ll be coaching the ladies team down there at a university.”
“That’s great! Congratulations. I know you are really excited.”
“Excited to get away from Jackson, yes.”
“It’s not that bad!” I suddenly felt so at ease talking to him. Not this nervous shyness I had felt before when uttering a word at him would have caused vomiting and eye twitching, “You didn’t give it much of a chance.”
We chit-chatted about Jackson some more and I gave him a hard time for being such a home body. Soon the guy who was coupled up with my friend announced that they were ready to head to the club.
The Irishman asked me, “Are you going with them? I am going to head back to the house if you want to come.”
He placed his hand on my forearm.
But I was over it. I wasn’t going to do this when he was leaving in two days and I liked the mystery that he was. “I’m not going to let my friend go out without me. Good luck in Georgia.”
Later, my friend said that the Irishman looked like someone had shot his cat. Or his favorite soccer team had lost. He looked simply heartbroken and didn’t smile the rest of the night. I had already turned to some other friends and she said she watched as he just stared at me. Contemplating what to do.
Of course I didn’t find out ANY of this until days later when she told me. But she thought I was over the situation with him. And I was. I was tired of the build up to just be let down. I was tired of being the only one willing to make a move.
Now looking back 8 years, I think that possibly was his move. I was so busy trying to be “over it” that I failed to see he was attempting. This night plays over and over in my head, a haunting movie of what could have been. But then I am faced with the reality that he is just a mystery.
An almost ALMOST relationship.
A fantasy of a man who would be perfect. From his love of Fleet Wood Mac, his hatred of The All American Rejects, how he wore his old man sweaters, and his crazed untamed beard. Being so aloof that there isn’t a girl from college who doesn’t remember him or had a crush on him.
Year after year I have tried to find him. Surely his hatred of Facebook would not last forever.
But it has.
There has been no trace of him online for 8 years. I heard that he left the university in Georgia after two years. He even came back to Jackson right before heading back to Ireland; a Visa expiration his reason. He saw my friend Carrie and asked her where I was. I was in Texas and devastated I couldn’t make it there to see him. But he didn’t ask for my number and I didn’t offer mine.
I speak to some of the soccer guys from time to time and I always ask if they have heard from him. And none have. They all give their two cents as to why he was such a weirdo and why I should forget about him. And they all say that he must have been gay to not hit on me (especially back then when I young and beautiful). But there is still something that draws my mind to him.
Like I said, I am sure it is the mystery. The regret. The what if’s.
What if I just told him I had a crush on him from the very beginning?
What if I wasn’t so insecure where would my life be?
It is amazing how small decisions really do affect your life later down the road. You can look back and pick the exact moment you failed yourself. And wish with all your might to go back and reverse it. I hadn’t thought about him in several years. At least three to be exact. I hadn’t searched his name in google or try to find him on Facebook.
Out of the blue I had a dream about him several weeks ago.
I immediately woke up and smiled, wondering where in the world he could possibly be.
I giggled to myself as I once again typed his name and our college into google, knowing that only his college soccer stats would appear.
But there he was.
He is in Chicago now. He is a coach for a club team and he looks exactly the same. His picture is next to his write up.
I immediately took a screen shot and sent it to a few of my good friends. They were all amazed and curious as to why, after all this time, I have still looked him up. I honestly hadn’t in years but it was a random dream. And their next question is, “What are you going to do?”
Trust me. I have thought about it.
I have thought about calling the club. Asking for him. Saying we were old friends.
But we weren’t friends. Not really.
And although he has been very unavailable on social media, I have been. If he wanted to find me, he easily could have. I have a very uncommon name, and I am easily found. If I were to reach out to him, the mystery would be gone. One of my favorite failed attempt stories would be over. And he would be nothing more than another guy things didn’t work out with instead of the main What If in my narrative. Do I risk him thinking I am a complete psycho for finding him? Do I risk exposing him for not the beautiful creature in my mind he has been for all these years?
So now I will ask you the question.
What would you do?