The Summer Unfling

I don’t remember what he said when he messaged me, but it was him that messaged first. I had just ended things with another guy – or I still was – I can’t remember anything anymore. Since things were still fresh from said dude, I kept very high walls up with David. Though I am an incredibly snarky person in real life, in dating I try to dial it back just a bit to show that I actually am interested. Not with him. He would make a semi smart-ass comment and I would respond with full forced bitch. He went along with it quite happily.

I knew he was still in school so I didn’t think of him as a real option. But he made a point to always keep our conversations going, day in and day out. He was a musician, constantly talking about his music he did on the side. He had the whole “nerdy Jew who goes to Northwestern” look down pat in his pictures. Not only could he put up with my sassy remarks, but he enjoyed them.  Sounded like a good deal.

He was not the first guy that I have purposely gotten drunk on the first date, but I did give him fair warning. We met for drinks at an Irish bar on Cinco de Mayo. Because, you know, that would make the most sense. While discussing the amount of alcohol, it almost turned into a contest. (Spoiler alert: easy win for home girl.) We get some drinks, maybe some shots. After the polite formal questions of the weather and jobs and studying things in school, etc. I learn in a strange turn of events that he is not Jewish at all, but actually Peruvian. I did not believe him whatsoever. He explained a little more about himself and with a little help of the alcohol, a small accent started to show through.

He grew up not too far from the capital of Peru, and had never come to the States before attending grad school in Chicago. Between him talking about violence back home, his love of playing the drums and explaining what about Harry Potter he doesn’t get, I started to like him. Maybe it’s because I instantly put him into the ‘Latin Lover’ category which I had not checked off yet, but he was not at all shy showing his affection for me.

My name was always on the edge of his mouth. “Heather, come here. Look how blue your eyes are. They’re so amazing.” “You’re so funny, Heather. I really like you.” “Heather, are you going to let me kiss you yet?” I’ve been around drunken dudes a fair amount of time and he was pretty smooth, at least top five.

We walked, drunkenly, arm in arm to the next bar, sneaking in few kisses in before we got there. He made it pretty clear that we shouldn’t have to end the night at the bar. At this point, I was just excited for a really fun sleepover. We jokingly argued back and forth about where we are going. After two drinks at the second bar, we decide we were way too drunk to be in public. We get in the cab; he gives the cabbie his address and I don’t protest. Knowing the drive was going to be a bit, we got comfortable. Before I realize what is actually happening, we are both lounging in the backseat, wrapped up in each other. His head on my lap, I was stroking his hair as he started to nod off.

After I wheezed up six flights of stairs to the top floor to his place, I grinned as he nerded out showing me his guitars and drum set. “And this is how I sit. Come sit with me!” “No way, that looks very expensive.”  I started to yawn on the couch, to which he promptly showed me to the bedroom. There were particular parts about him that gave off that certain nerd anxiety, which I found overtly endearing. When something went wrong, or he looked embarrassed, he scrambled to cover it up or quickly move past it. I went into his room and there weren’t any sheets in the bed. “Oh shit”, he feverishly hurried into the next room. “I’ve got to find the damn sheets.” His room was very large and very empty. He had just his bed and nightstands on either side. That’s it. Not even a closet. Classic simplistic can’t-have-too-much-baggage Gemini.

He came back with the sheets. I helped him put them on, which he was not happy about. We climbed into bed and started to kiss immediately. He wasn’t that great, truth be told, but he was so into it, I couldn’t help but be into it as well.

He was such an incredibly great cuddler. We’d find the weirdest positions of comfort, which I’m sure looked like a failed Cirque du Soleil act from an aerial view.

Sometimes he’d kiss my forehead and tell me how much he liked me. Sometimes he was macking real hard while trying to cop a feel. He had more game than I gave him credit for. He moved a little quick from spot to spot though, like an overexcited dog. “…where do I start? Where do I go after? Should I go back? Oh god, what if I go there. NOW I WANT TO GO TO THERE. Why didn’t I go there sooner!? AH.” He was also very verbal about what he saw and what he liked about it. Feedback is always nice, I guess.

The cuddles continued all night long. Every time he would tell me how much he liked me, I would just smile and kiss him back, though I never returned those words. He noticed this eventually. He knew there was some sort of distance I kept; he even made jokes about it. We fell asleep after the sun was already up. After a few hours and endless loud snoring on his end, we were somehow alive again. We laid in bed, hungover as shit, for almost five hours; just talking, cuddling, wallowing in our self pity.  He kept making these plans for a second date, hoping closer to my place this time.  I knew that it was his day off that day and he had a lot to do so I soon after hopped in a cab.  I went home on cloud nine, after finally confessing that I liked him as well.

In the coming weeks, he would tell me about the concerts he’s performing at, tests he’s stressed about, drunk texting me during the weekend when I was at work. I’d do the same during the week when he was studying. He would make plans, then either have practice or have to study. The imaginary date he promised ceased to exist. Like the nosy fucker I am, I kept seeing when he was still logging into his Tinder, which was multiple times a day. I couldn’t help but check. This made me embarrassingly upset. In a fit of rage, I unmatched him, then mentally wiped him.

He would still drunk text every once and awhile. I was flattered the first few times, but when he insisted that I should meet him up at his place, my patience was getting thin. I strictly told him to never booty call me again. Quick to bite my tongue, I then called him a fuckboy, which he was very unhappy with. He agreed though, and vowed never to do it again. He made an effort to talk more, during sober hours. From then, we started to have real conversations. He invited me over, but not as a booty call; he just wanted to hang out. I told him it was his turn to come to my place. Home girl is not paying that cab fare again. He did mention that he would have to leave though. It was pretty much understood that we would have sex, but this made him sound like he was going to hit it and quit it, which I was not okay with. If you’re invited into my bed, you still stay there the whole damn night. I told him that if that was the case, don’t even bother coming over. He admitted that he can’t sleep anywhere but his own bed, that we could just watch a movie, but he just really needed to go home. I, for some reason which is clear in retrospect, agreed to this.

He came over to my place that Saturday night.  I had worked all day and he was still hungover from the night before. Needless to say, we both flung ourselves onto the couch after he picked out the last Harry Potter film to watch, because he still “didn’t get it”. He sat on the opposite couch of me and kept asking, “why are you so far away? Get over here.” I argued that my couch was comfier. I won that debate as he crawled over to me with a grin on his face. He knew when to give up certain battles.  There was something so comforting about him. We both slouched into the couch, just like we had in the cab. There was nothing strange, foreign or awkward about it whatsoever. As the movie and nonstop giggling went on, we both started to yawn uncontrollably. I told him I was going to bed, but that he was welcome to join me. “Okay, but I can’t stay remember?” Yes, I remember, unfortunately, but thank you for the reminder.

As soon as we got comfortable, we went at it. I knew we would. It was more of the issue of me trying to keep my hands off of him. He would have been okay with just cuddling, but hey, I have a sexy man in my bed. Who am I to deny myself of this?

This time was better than the last. He rolled over to cuddle with me when I realized that he never finished. I shot up to ask him about it. “Yea, but you did, right? You’re good…?” he responded as he kissed my forehead and cuddled me back. That has never happened before. I looked at him with the most dumbfounded, ‘NUH UH’ look I could possibly muster.

We laid there naked, cuddling for awhile.  I could tell he was still upset about the ‘fuckboy’ label I gave him.  I explained that, from my point of view, we got drunk and had sex on the first date. What would he need a second date for? He got what he wanted and left me behind, which made me feel like shit. He assured me that that wasn’t the case. He actually was really busy with school and his band. I believed him, I really did.

We woke the next morning, and I realized that he had stayed, which I felt bad about. Every time I fell asleep, I’d look over at him and he was still awake. He said he had trouble, but he eventually did fall asleep. I knew this was true from the sound of a freight train coming from his face.

I decided to give it space, not crowd him. He texted me the following Monday, talking here and there about finishing Harry Potter (or at least trying to).  We saw each other a few more times, being just as silly and close as the previous times. Planning ahead for our next time together, he told me that after he graduates, he and his family are going to Florida for vacation. We tried to find a day that could work for us, but with a week of going back and forth, I would have to wait until his family left Chicago. There was a light at the end of the tunnel.

We figured that since we wouldn’t be able to see each other, we could still text each other a lot. And by ‘text’, I really mean ‘sext’. It would get really dirty. And it was great. Pictures sent, great grand finales, our comfort level never diminished. It was a solid patch to hold us over until we could actually see each other. The weirdest thing was the sincere moments that happened within the sexting. “Man, I kind of actually miss you.” “You know, if you told me your secrets, it’d make this so much better.” “I can’t wait to see you.” These were the things that flew me into a loop. Our conversations became 80% sex, which was absolutely a huge part of mine. But he had to throw these little emotions in there.

One day, during our usual mid-afternoon sexting, we were in the middle of getting heavy when he told me he was done and he was bowing out of the conversation. I got extremely pissed. Livid, to be exact. He did his usual “haha yea I finished” when the feeling was obviously not mutual. I tried to explain how this wasn’t funny to me. It was a straight up dick move. While I am usually a very calm person, I could not hold my anger in. “You are so selfish. You don’t give a shit if I get mine. It’s all about you. And what you want.” He tried to play as if it were still a joke and asked if I was actually mad.

That’s when I went nuts. “If you wanted some doe eyed girl who wasn’t going to stand up for herself, you would have never asked me out. So don’t play this.”

I realized what I said rude, not untrue, but very tactless. I apologized and asked if we could talk later. In that time, I understood why I was so upset. I actually cared for this asshole. Our times rolling around in bed meant something to me and I kept dwelling on them. In him backing out of our sexting so quickly, I could see that he didn’t care for me in that way I did for him. I would have never done that to him. There was only one thing I could do with: I had to let him go.

I don’t think he knew how I felt. I wanted to explain it clearly (also draw it out because I didn’t want to cut ties quite yet because I am the absolute worse).

“I realized that I actually liked you and you really don’t give a shit about me, which is fine. I can tell. Even asking to take you out for your birthday was like pulling teeth.”

“I am really sorry about that. I’m a Grinch. I told you: there’s no need to be that nice to me. But I appreciated it. I really do and I thank you for that.”

“The point is that I want to take you out. I wanted to actually see you besides when we’re naked, though I love to see you naked. Do you see where I’m going with this? It doesn’t matter who is paying or what we’re out for.  I don’t care about that.” He said he felt like an asshole to make me feel like this. I knew that I had to ask him one question. The dreaded question of all booty calls hate to ask and to hear: is this just sex?

He only responded, “I don’t want to be an asshole,” which was exactly what I needed to hear. This wasn’t his fault. As our relationship went on, it was very clear that this is what he wanted. And I took it for something else. I don’t blame him whatsoever and I was no longer upset with him. It was on me. I was either going to end up liking him much more than I already did. Or end up resenting him, which I have in the past with former booty calls. I couldn’t do it anymore.

I said my goodbye to him. I told him I would miss him and that I was sure I was going to see him again. If he ever wanted to take me on a real date, he could call anytime.

A part of me was relieved about the heartbreak I could have endured. I was expecting this huge weight to be lifted off of my shoulders. Instead, I felt nothing but a heavy emptiness. I cried on my couch, feeling more alone than ever.

And that’s when things got interesting.

I went on vacation to see one of my best friends for a week in California. I figured this would make things easier to be away from Chicago, to give space to the situation and take my mind off of him. It did, for awhile. I was off drinking with my friends, sleeping in late, making out with illegals. It was a grand old time. Though, on my last day there, my friend and I were drinking mimosas by the pool. We were getting a little heavy handed with the champagne. Push comes to shove, I ended up drunk texting David. “heyyyyyyyy do you miss me yet?” I’m such a jackass. Why he even responded is still a mystery.

“Hey! How was your trip? Of course I miss you, but I can’t meet your demands.” He was clearly handling this much better than I was.  I, then drunkenly, tried to explain why I could never date him anyhow. The funny part is that I was right: I could never date him. He comes from a completely different background than I do; he’s too hot and cold about how he feels, and he was almost an engineer, just different levels of people. In trying to convince him of this, I also convinced myself. I had acknowledged and accepted this. Just as any groveling person would, I asked if we could go back to way things were. He agreed, as long I wouldn’t go crazy again, which I wholeheartedly deserved. I promised to keep my bitch under control.

I told him I was free the night that I got back. He had a dinner meeting in the Loop with his future boss but after, he said he would be free for me to come over. It was about 1:30am when I got to this place. He had a couple glasses of wine with dinner, his purple lips showed.

I waited for him by the pathway to his building. He came up to me with a huge grin on his face, he hugged me so hard, picked me up, and he planted one on me. He took my hand and lead me inside. He was listening to music in his front room with a glass of wine. He sat down on the couch and he immediately pulled me to sit on him. He reached his hands to my back and pulled me as close as he could. “I actually really did miss you. Like I’m shocked that you’re here. But I’m very happy that you’re here.” This started our usual conversations of being giddy while cuddling and saying too many truths.

He grabbed me even closer and whispered to himself, “This is just all mine.” I glared at him. He didn’t want to be mine, but I can be his? “No, no. I am not yours. I am nobody’s but my own.” A smile started to come over his face. We’ve had this ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ talk numerous times. He equally hated and loved how independent I was, how different I was from what he knew. While I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I understand that his upbringing in a South American country had everything to do with it. “No, you’re my girl.” I just smiled and decided it was time to put him to bed.

From the way he was getting aggressively handsy, I could tell he wasn’t just drunk, he was inebriated. I suggested he go to bed numerous times, even tucking him in. He would just grab me and throw me on the bed. “You’re my girl. You’re my girlfriend. Come on, say it.” I was so confused as to why he was talking like this. This was not the time. I tracked down an Uber to take me home. I had work in the morning and I was not prepared to drunk babysit someone who was contradicting things he said not even a month earlier. He pleaded me to stay; I cancelled the trip. When I went back to his bed, he was completely asleep.  I was so mad at myself. I wanted to stay and talk to him and be with him, but that was not going to happen. As the second Uber driver was on his way, I sat down next to him. He was so handsome, even snoring away. I shook him a little to let him know I was leaving.

Startled, that was the first and only time I had ever heard him speak Spanish. He opened one eye, smiled and mumbled, “come back to bed” as he rolled over. I kissed him, and then I left. That was the last time I ever saw him.

I woke up the next morning to numerous texts. I want to get this number right, so I’m gonna say half a billion. From his mannerisms, I can tell he felt like a complete ass. After a few apologies, he invited me to go to dinner to show how sorry he was. Though I agreed, I never had any intention of going. I wanted to see him again, but I had reached my limit.

Nothing haunts us like the things we don't say. I’m so glad I revealed myself and told him how I felt, where I stood on the playing field of our relationship. I was so scared of losing him when he wasn’t even mine in the first place. I shouldn’t have been so panicky of his answer, of how he was to react to my emotional revelation. If you care about someone, tell them. The fear of losing them shouldn’t keep you from living. Life is too short to keep your feelings bottled up. My heart gets another crack in it, sure, but lucky for my memory problems and ability to develop a crush on literally anybody, I moved on. I’m glad things ended how and where they did. My nostalgia of him will be nothing but hushed accents under smiles on warm June nights. No hard feelings should ever tarnish those memories.

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