So Nate had dropped me off at my dorm and I had gotten advice from my friend, Yoneko, to pretend that everything was the same as usual. And I did do that. For a week, we continued to meet and I would talk to him like I normally did and not bring up the fact that he had said something that was so disconcerting and was hanging over my head. That whole week I was acting normal and cool being his friend.
But if you know me at all, you know that keeping silent for a WHOLE WEEK was a feat of unprecedented internal fortitude. I’m the girl who constantly speaks my mind and is frequently having to open mouth and insert foot. So, to keep silent was really a challenge. I was about to burst. I’m sure if I had tried really hard, I may have been able to pretend for all of one week and another day! Luckily, something happened to allow me to call Nate over.
You wanna talk about it?
My computer died.
And I am not at all good with computers. I know how to use them but I don’t know how to fix them when they die on me.
So I called Nate. And I asked him if he could please come over and have a look at my computer and tell me what was wrong with it. Oh, and while he was here, would he mind very much if we talked about something he said to me last week. I said that in the most offhanded and casual way I knew how. And he was equally offhanded when he responded that he could.
His response made me think that maybe I had imagined the whole thing. That maybe I had read more than he meant into what he said. But no matter what, I would have the truth out soon and I’d be ready to deal with whatever happened (at least I hoped so).
So the next day Nate came by and spent some time looking at my computer. I sat in my small room and watched while he worked on the computer and diagnosed that my hard drive was dying and I would need to back up all my data and get a new one. I sat there and we talked about where to go to get a new one and more technical stuff. The whole time, my insides were churning and I was wondering how on earth I would be able to make the switch from computers to that conversation.
Nate, however, was so calm about it that he made it easy. He finished doing whatever it was he needed to do, turned around, looked at me and said, “so you want to know about what I said the other day.”
I was relieved and so glad that he actually knew what I was referring to. I was a bit worried by then that he didn’t even know what I was making reference to since I never mentioned what it was exactly I wanted to talk about. I guess it was on his mind too (never mind that he can be so goshdarned stoic).
So we talked and we both agreed that we were beginning to have feelings for each other. (His quote: “I’m growing fond of you.”) We also acknowledged that we had a great friendship. As we discussed it so calmly that day, we both felt that the *wise* thing to do was not to jeopardize the friendship for a relationship that might not work. And so, we both agreed to carry on as we always have and not go any further.
I can’t say it
However, once you put it out there, there is no way to go back to normal. What was normal before just somehow felt strange. I had opened up my heart and mind to the “idea” that we could be something else and now, everytime I thought of Nate, I allowed the feelings of affection to go further. Soon, I was thinking of him a lot more than I wanted. And when I was with him, the affection became more of an attraction as well.
So not long after that first agreement, I was calling him one afternoon, heart beating and palms sweating. I was going to confess it. I was done for. I’d gone and fallen for him. My friend, Nate.
When Nate picked up the phone that afternoon, I said to him, “Nate, I think I…., I think I…”and then at that very crucial moment, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get the words out. I mumbled something about not being able to say it and put the phone down, banging my head and thinking of what a fool I was.
To be concluded…