Alone Together or Alone in Love?

Was there ever a time in your life where you had a friendship that just suddenly sneaked up on you?  You could be talking about anything, from zombie movies to the allure of cigarettes, and no matter how many differing opinions you two may hold on those subjects, the both of you somehow respected each others’ stance and were able to find some way to appreciate each other for it?  Did it seem like this friendship between the two of you flew past that initial stages of awkward pauses and the “Oh yeah, I know him from her and so forth” that some platonic friendships have and unfolded in such a way that you’re finding yourselves breaking the silence with one another in hushed tones with each other, and ONLY each other, under the conversations of the rest of your friends?  If you have answers to each of the questions I’ve flung at you, then I’d like to know what the answer is to this next question, and that is: Is friendship the most fertile ground for love to bloom between two people?

I’m the last guy to give advice on this matter, but for guys like me, I can safely say that we don’t become attracted to the opposite sex through mystery, allure and appearance alone (and believe me, I’m not generalizing you ladies out there either), we become head over heels for someone through familiarity.  Do I see her from time to time?  Do we bump heads over who’s in line to get Cream of Potato before it runs out?  Is she a roomie of one of my other platonic friends?  Did she lay my boss last night at Soundbar after he uncharacteristically talked about his last relationship (the basterd!!)?  What I’m basically saying is that for guys like me, a chance to really mingle and get to know the opposite sex in such a way that’s conducive for a relationship isn’t as easy as say for a lady (no, I’m not really diving into the speed dating and the internet stuff for this post) because women can more or less get what they want at any give time, so guys like me find ourselves attached to those that we’ve brewed sentiment over at a given time, namely our friends.

But that’s not to say that we’re stark-raving horny for ALL of our platonic friends ALL the time (that would be the most awkward orgy ever…).  Besides, platonic friends kicks ass.  No, really, they do.

Having platonic friends is great in a lot of ways.  You get to ruminate about the opposite sex when they bum you out, they give you a different viewpoint about a number of issues that you simply may not consider if you were circling corpses with your same sex friends, and they tend to know how and when to keep you spiffy in order to attract said people of the opposite sex.  You would think that there would be some level of awkwardness between a guy and a girl being, well, friends, but usually there isn’t because either one of you is married or in a relationship, the contact that you have for chatter is minimal at best, and, lastly, if you both are single, you clearly aren’t attracted to each other in that way.

But then something happens.

The both of you begin to trade off about your mutual disdain of high school life.  Your jokes about work somehow are interspersed with what she made for lunch on that day, whereupon she offers you some, and it’s good.  She reveals that she likes much of the same things you like, like City Hunter.  Those shoddy jeans that she wears everyday seem to look good on her.  Always.  She giggles about how odd you are. She then asks for your number.  Her texts can range from her bad day to her wondering if you left for home already.  You suddenly find out that she chats often online, and you’re wonderful to talk to.  Then the daddy issues begin to ooze out, along with questions about your life.  The small Facebook chats you two had aren’t three minute shout-outs anymore, but three hour dissections of what plagues both of your lives.  You obviously share the same social circle and you find yourself hanging out more often than you ever did when you first met.  You both find out that you like to draw, and you find time to show each other what you’re capable of creating with post-it notes and a ball point pen.

And then she starts talking about the ex…

Trust is such a touchy thing when it comes to a man and a woman.  In the context of a broken or past relationship, trust appears to be the main casualty.  Don’t ask me why, but I guess when a man or woman trusts someone so much that the person becomes like elixir to your starving party in Final Fantasy 6, and that person doesn’t meet them halfway, or even worse, does something unthinkable (i.e. cheat, lie, blah blah blah), then the chances of you trusting ANYONE is probably pretty low.  With all this being said, one would wonder how the issue of trust could affect a platonic relationship.  Would it be jeopardized already if the both of you are single and discussing the vagaries of love, or is it salvaged when you slowly begin to find comfort in each other?

Then all of a sudden, you see her when she’s sad.  It’s a late night and you’ve come back from partying, and all her roomies are asleep.  You’re watching an episode of City Hunter, alone in a dark living room, and it’s the one where Makimura dies, and Ryo is holding him in his arms.  They’re exchanging their last words to each other and Makimura begins to talk about his last request to Ryo.  Her eyes look like they’re welling up, and she mutters something like, “I don’t like seeing stuff like this, too many bad memories,” and without thinking, without second guessing yourself, you do the unthinkable.  You reach out and you hold her hand.  Maybe it’s the trembling in her voice, or its how she looks away at the TV when she thinks about something upsetting, but you’re compelled to hold it, to comfort her, to protect her, to be there for her.  She can let go at any time.  She can tell you to stop it.  She can wring it away from you.  She could do what she did at the club with her other guy friends and dance with other guys and ignore you.  She could tell you to leave…

But she doesn’t.

She holds your hand for as long as you do.  Her tiny fingers are warm as they curl between yours, where a small smile winds up on her lips.  You have no idea what she’s thinking of, but you’re enjoying the moment for what is, and even though you’re hesitant to stop it, you already know that it will.  But when it does, she smiles, and you bid the night adieu in separate places.  By morning, her tiny hands make you a small breakfast, where the both of you are alone, musing about how odd we all are, and what life was like back home for her.  But then the roomies wake up, and it’s time to behave once again…

Moments like these start to happen a few more times between the two of you, and the Facebook chats begin to diverge into the misery of past relationships.  You see the signs of mistrust that cloud her mind, her worries about what lies ahead for her, and her subtle interest in other types of men.  Her thoughts and values slowly encroach into yours, yet you stand firm on your principles as she dives in to ask and interrogate.  She respects your outlook on life, she finds you innocent but interesting, and she values your company.  The both of you acknowledge that the internet is helping you get to know each other better.  But you know that seeing her is what sets your heart at ease.  All the amount of revelatory text the both of you pour at each other seems relatively small in comparison to how much warmth is felt in the avenue of togetherness.  You want to see her again, you have to see her again…

It’s another party at her place, and she’s holding hands with someone else, and being a touchy-feely party animal.  The jealous guy in you rears his ugly head every now and then, but it’s late, and she’s smoking, and you’ve had it.  You’re ready to go, and you don’t know why.  You told her you’d stay the night, but now you’re not interested.  You’re drunk, but you’ll manage.  You’re forgetting how much fun you had at the party too, but it’s too much.  But then she follows you, and she tells you not to go.  She thinks you’re drunk, and you say that she doesn’t care.  She thinks you’ll die driving, and the both of you begin to shout at each other, and then you calm down, and listen to her.  You say okay, and she embraces your arm and takes you to the couch.  You sit there with her, her roomie, and that other guy.  The other guy is holding hands with her and her roomie, but she’s holding yours too, and she’s whispering your name, over and over again.  She strokes the big vein on your right arm, and curls her fingers in between yours, and tells you not to go, over and over again.  There’s a worthless horror movie on the TV, and you find yourself staying the night.

The next morning is devoted to cleaning up, and you get some alone time once again before the roomies awaken.  She talks about her ex again, and the dreams she has of him.  She asks about yours and how you deal with them, to which you respond that, “Those people don’t matter to me anymore.”  The same hands that you held last night are making fish congee while you’re washing all the booze glasses from the night before.  And then you suddenly ask about dinner, wondering if a meal between the two of you after exams would be worthwhile.  She doesn’t answer.  The breakfast is great, and the roomies are happy too.  You all get together and clean and clean and clean, and finally, the house is spotless.  City Hunter in on the TV, and you’re both on the couch.  She spoons you and reaches out for your hand, and you fumble your arm along her shoulders through the long mane of dark hair she has.  She reads your palm as she laughs at the television.  She says you’re a playboy, and you tell her otherwise.  Her nail-paint is scratched up, and she has lots of veins under her palm, and makes the observation that you have less.  She strokes the veins on your hands and smiles as you place your head on hers.  She checks your pulse, and she says it’s beating fast.  You check hers, and it’s normal.  The both of you talk aloud about City Hunter, while you whisper to each other if something intimate needs to be said.  It’s been so long since you’ve been with another woman, so the moment feels unreal, yet wondrous.  For once in your life, here you are, with your new best friend, and you’re doing the one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, and you’ve never been happier.

But the moment ends, like so many of them do, and you bid farewell to everyone.  Other errands arise, and you must tend to them.  She escorts you to your car, and you bring up dinner again, but she has a bewildered look.  The look wasn’t present while you were together, but suddenly, it is now.  You fumble and stumble, and say your goodbyes.  That weekend is more or less over…until you end the night with another three hour long chat with her on Facebook about what she did after you left.

You get the chance to see her again the next day on Monday, at work of course, and you bring up dinner again calmly.  She says she’ll let you know.  After all, it’s only dinner right?  Nothing serious about it.  You chat and text here and there for a week or two since your schedules get tied up.  There’s less activities for you, her and the roomies to do together, but you all have to soldier on, like you usually do.  The weekend chats on Facebook are long as usual, where she talks about Chinese dishes and other happier things as you watch Arsenal kick the shit out of West Brom.  No ex-boyfriends or depressing musings here.  She then goes to work, and you chat her up again in the evening.  You tell her that you’re still drawing for her, and she asks why you continue to do so.  You tell her that you don’t know, but you hope she likes them.  She tells you that you’re her good friend, but you’re trying to fight the seemingly unimaginable hell that you may be thrust into.  She tells you that she’s a heart breaker, but you don’t care, because you tell her that she is wonderful.  You ask her if she is upset by this, and she says she isn’t.  There’s still hope on Monday, there’s still hope on Monday….

Monday comes and you have lunch with her.  She looks wonderful, as she always does.  You ask her what her lunch is today, and as always, it looks good.  The both of you continue to speak a word or two under the larger conversation the rest of the group is having in hushed tones, and there’s a crack of a smile or two, but you notice that she’s spacing out here and there.  Lunch is over, and you tell her that you’ll text her about her drawing later this afternoon.

There’s a bridge at work that connects your lab area and hers.  You both decide to meet there, and she’s happy to see you.  She’s wondering where her new post-it note doodle is, and you tell her to take it from you.  It’s in her likeness, but she thinks the sunglasses make the character look blind, and so she smiles.  You smile and lean on the support post of the bridge, and then you dare to ask once more, “So, have you thought about dinner at all?”

She then says no.  She then says that it isn’t a good idea.

You question as to why, since it’s only dinner, but she tells you that you are now her new best friend.  Her last relationship was the pits and the last thing she wants is another.  She tells you that if you were someone she just met, then she may consider to have-

And you fill in the word “fling” for her.

And she grins and says yeah.  She’s not ready she says. She doesn’t want it.  You tell her that it shouldn’t be that bad, because it could be every other week.  You tell her that you don’t see her that often, so you think it’s not a bad idea.  She says that’s different.  She doesn’t buy it.  She’s hesitant.  She’s shaking her head and frowning.  And then you finally tell her how you feel.  You tell her that she’s like no one else.  You tell her that you like her a lot.  You tell her that she is all that you see.  You tell her that you’ll always feel that way.  You tell her that she’s important to you, but you ask her what was the meaning of all the warmth these past few weeks.  Was the hand holding false?  Is spooning the shit that friends do nowadays?  Do monkeys ponder about equations of relativity when there is no one to fuck?

She says she regrets that, and that she’s a touchy-feely person.  Her tone is low.  You give a wry smile, and she asks if you’re okay.  She tells you that it’s hard on her too.  You tell her that she’s cruel, but you realize that this is her choice and accept the situation.  You tell her that you hope she enjoys the doodle, and you both begin to slowly walk away from each other.  You turn around and remind her to give back your DVDs, and the moment is over.  The love that brewed in your heart for this friend was known for awhile, obvious to her roomies, and even joked about at lunch by them, and you know it was known by her as well.  But you’ve finally said it.  It’s out in the open, but nothing can sway her mind.  This is her decision after all.  Then the doubt begins to grow, and your trust is slowly turning into mistrust.  Despite your display of bravery and conviction, despite all the happiness you “thought” you shared with her, the bridge that connected you two together on this day now becomes a precipice, and you’re wondering when you’ll fall…

The week was a hellish one.  Too many experiments, too many thoughts.  You see her in the halls and you say hi to each other, and you might have a line or two to say.  You’re thinking that she’s coping with everything well, while you feel like crap on a stick.  Her wonderful roomies invite you to go out to the park on the weekend, but you decide not to.  You want to keep your distance.  You don’t want your heart to sink lower than it already has.  Then the end of the week finally comes.  Friday was a busy day, and you decide to end it a bit early.  You pack your tupperware in your lunch bag in the kitchen area, and lo and behold, she’s outside talking.  She breaks up her conversation at the sight of you and calls out saying, “Hey, hey, hey!!”  You turn around and say hi and what’s up.  She asks in a stuttering way if you’re going to the park, almost as if she wants you to go, and you tell her you’re not sure and “We’ll see.”  She says okay, but she tells you that she has something for you.  It’s a rolled up piece of lined paper.  You say thanks, but you have to go.  You apparently have a bewildered look on your face, and you walk that cliff…err, bridge to the parking lot…

You unroll the piece of paper given to you, and it’s a ball point pen drawing of a sweater-clad monster hunched on a chopped tree with a small axe.  You’re amazed at the drawing, but frustrated too.  “Why the fuck would she give this to me?” you asked.  You wanted to rip it up.  You wanted to destroy it.  You wanted to burn it.  But you didn’t.  You folded it up and placed it in your bag to keep.  It’s a nice piece of art after all…

In the beginning of this post, I asked the question, Is friendship the most fertile ground for love to bloom between two people?  One would think so because both parties find comfort in divulging each others inner workings in a slow manner.  You find an appreciation for your different interests, especially ones that you initially didn’t give a damn about before, and the chance for the friendship to grow into something else just seems to be more, I don’t know, “natural” than if you were just introduced to someone to date for the sake of dating.  I’m not saying that all platonic friendships go this path, and I’m glad they don’t, but there’s always that ONE that will lead you there, where the potential just seems to be endless.  Many detractors will say that it’s a bad idea because the act of dating a friend would lose its “spark” and “mystery,” and the friendship would definitely be the victim here, but dating a stranger to me is just as much of a risk as dating a friend since you build a relationship with Mr. Mysterious as well.  Sure it seems less exciting to date Mr. Friend, and if a break up is inevitable with Mr. Mysterious, you could move on easier than you would a friend, but irregardless, they still end up the same way.  Hell, maybe I should’ve just asked her out when I met her instead of coming in as her friend or something.  Y’know, I could’ve gotten into a fling, right?  And can you believe there’s advice on how ladies should treat their guy friends like yours truly once we’ve been thrown to “you-know-where?”

I didn’t really think much about this friendship in the beginning, but it somehow felt like it was slowly growing into something more.  The first two months was quite normal, but the last month was what really accelerated everything.  I was actually convinced that friendship really was the best place for love to grow between two people, but with this recent revelation, I am now in doubt.  The issues of trust that she has from her previous relationship are now mine to bare.  The warmth of her hands is now a bittersweet memory that will plague me with questions wondering whether they were acts of pity, confusion or malice.  The Facebook chats are long gone now, and probably won’t be as long if they ever start again.  The current direction that the friendship has taken will undoubtedly steer in different shores, where all the intimacy that was built up over the past few weeks would tip over into the sea.  Watching her smile on a picture without me in sight will be another nail into the heart, and God knows how I’ll feel once she decides to get into a relationship again.  I heard from many people that the love of your life is like the best friend you never had, so it seemed like falling in love with a special friend would be the way to go.  However, nothing is ever easy between a man and a woman, and I now feel that friendship is not the fertile place where love can grow from.   Friendship is the place where love dies before it even has a chance to begin…

But this is her choice, and I have to move on.  At the very least, I know where I stand, and I can safely say that, even though it may not have been the same for her, I was truly happy at one point in my life with another woman, even it is was only for a moment’s time…

“I haven’t ridden a motorcycle for a long time. Actually, I haven’t been so close to a man for a while. The road isn’t that long, and I know I’m getting off soon. But I’m feeling such warmth this very moment.”                                    ~MIchelle Reis, “Fallen Angels” (1995).


7 thoughts on “Alone Together or Alone in Love?

  1. That was very touching. I don’t think friendships between men and women are destined to have the former “friend-zoned”. It really depends on the girl I suppose. There was a ray of hope in your story though. As you said “Arsenal kick the shit out of West Brom.” Long may it and you continue.

    • I salute you old friend. Long may the glory of Arsenal continue!!! I don’t know how to respond to the word “touching,” but as many of my links have stated, FZ is an unimaginable hell for which may do not wish to abide in. Oh the horror, the horror… 😛

    • Thanks for reading Typist, I appreciate it. However, in the lady’s words to myself, there is no such thing as instantaneous attraction. I’ve know her for almost 4 months and like I said, nothing really picked up until that last month. I’ve heard so many fems that tell you, “Oh, you should just ask her” so you can be over with this, but as the last few paragraphs stated, this wasn’t instantaneous, the really did happen over time, so why are you suggesting this when there was nothing instantaneous involved in this post? Regardless, thanks for the bit of advice. I’ll be sure not to lose hope on this… (ahem).

  2. Pingback: Weekend Roundup (11-19-2011 to 11-20-2011) | Naika's Lounge

  3. I have also come to the same conclusion. Friendship ain’t the most fertile place for love to grow. If low groves there, it would eat out all the fertileness of the soil and wilt away too soon leaving both itself and the land wasted.

    • In the end, you can say that for lots of friendships, but what I’ve learned recently is that it really depends on the person you have feelings for. I still believe that love can grow there and can create something meaningful, but that person truly has to see that in you as well. I am now currently in a strong relationship with the person I wrote about here in this piece, and in all honesty, the both of us couldn’t have been happier. We’re both aware that this may or may not last, but we’re trying to enjoy it for what is right now…

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