In the couple days after that first “date” on Sunday, September 4th, I had a hard time not thinking about what may or may not have been taking place. Class was futile. During Archeology class I wanted to put an arrowhead through my eye. All I really wanted to do was to see Barney. What was the matter with me? I had gone from independent art-student to a pile of mushy goo over a boy within a weeks time. And not just any boy. A quirky old friend named Barney whose last relationship was also two years prior, and with a friend of mine, none the less! I also had too much history with the circle of friends he had, which overlapped my circle. This was getting complicated before it even started. At least in my mind it was. I was trying to remove myself from some of that history and things that were carrying over from high school and early college. Hence my dreams to high tail it out of Ashland after graduation.
I rarely use AIM anymore. Back in the college days, though, it was a necessity for your social life. Facebook was out, but it wasn’t as “advanced” as the version we have now. I didn’t use it that much back then either. So instead of statuses in the news feed to check, you just went through your IM friend list and their away message said it all. Or, like Facebook statuses, they were some lyric to a song or a quote from a movie, or some vague statement that begged for attention, but no one understood it’s meaning. Somethings never change.
Barney had left me a message on my IM while I was out for a run that he had “an idea for this weekend” and that he’d “call me tomorrow”. I think I finally fell asleep at like 2am that night.
I spent that Wednesday in class, got a run in, and then to the art studio to stretch a new canvas. That building was bad for reception, but my phone let me know I had a new voicemail. Yay! I called him back and he wanted to know if I wanted to take a late night walk. Perfect! I had small group that night and an informational meeting about intramural softball, so late was good. I was supposed to meet him on King Road (near the house he lived in with two other guys) at 10pm. I couldn’t wait!
10pm finally rolled around and I met him on the sidewalk of King Road. We ended up taking about a 2 mile walk, down past the hospital on Hillcrest, down Eastern Avenue, cutting down Liberty to Center and back to College to the new athletic complex and the Eagle statue. Coincidence, maybe, but does anyone else find it odd that as we talked and laughed and got to know each other more, we were walking right past what would be our first home together? I do. I find it odd and very cool.
We talked about our families, I’m sure hoping we wouldn’t scare each other off. (Just kidding, family who is reading this! 🙂 ) He said he didn’t want me to think he was ashamed of me, but maybe we should just keep our seeing each other a little quiet for now. He said rumors were already flying and I knew what he was talking about. He said that for the weekend he wanted to go on a double date with one of his roommates and his new girlfriend after he got back from Erin and Adrian’s wedding that he was an usher in. (I thought he was all done with the wedding and reception, but come to find out he had skipped the reception to do the date with me. Sorry Erin!! lol) Barney said he’d introduce me to his roommate and date as his “friend”. He corrected himself. “Friend with perks.” Ha! Well if he considered walks and flirting on IM perks, than so be it. I still wasn’t ready to be an item any time soon, though I was becoming pretty fond of him.
The next evening, I got a tour of his house and learned about what a neat freak he was. His lined up shoes. His perfectly fluffed and karate chopped pillows. I also learned more of how driven and ambitious he was with what he wanted to do with his life. I liked that. Three hours later, (and a friendly argument about whether it was safe for me to walk to my dorm by myself at 1am- he won and drove me back) I was back in my room and was having a hard time clearing my thoughts to actually sleep.
The double date came and went, the movie was unbelievable. Unbelievably stupid. Dark Water. I get scared at scary movies. I was just annoyed that Barney paid for our tickets and we wasted 2 hours of our lives. I offered to pay him back the dollar he spent on me as a joke. That was also the weekend he had a bout with a sinus infection, something I am quite used to by now. Something different happened back then though. I went out of my way to go buy him tea and kleenexes and go check on how he was feeling. I was such a good nurse back then. I guess the novelty wears off;-)
I finally checked my AU mailbox for the first time all semester and to my surprise there wasn’t just junk in it! A package containing a stuffed animal and a message from “Jason”. He wanted me to start calling him Jason. I was fine with that. I didn’t know how much longer I could stick with “Barney” since my perception of him had changed almost overnight. It was a seagull that made, well, a seagull noise! He had learned one of the rare talents I have. I don’t share it with many. I can do a pretty good seagull impersonation. Top notch. I’m not a “ooh, win me a giant teddy bear holding a heart at the fair!” kind of girl, but this made me laugh and showed me he was thinking of me and was listening. Well, how could you not listen when a crazy red head is screeching out a seagull call.
I figured I’d lay low for a while. He was recovering from a cold and I needed to focus on my school work. Then the phone calls stopped. Hardly an IM. I became my own worst nightmare. An over-analyzing girly girl. I missed him. He should be better by now, right? He sent me a stuffed animal for crying out loud! That was pretty much the commitment statement before the ring, right? Okay, no. But what about our long walks and conversations and him telling me that he’s drawn to me and that he thought there was something more there after our coffee meeting? Oh, finally an IM…hmmm…how do I interpret this one? “Hey friend, let’s get together and talk about some stuff.” Friend? Stuff? Which way was this going? Way to be as confusing as a girl, Jason. We made plans for the 15th, a Thursday evening.
I get there, after hanging out with my roomies for dinner then catching up with Kristi Kirtland, and his roomates, and a couple friends were there. I felt like an intruder. We watched some SNL skits or something and Jason barely gave me the time of day. What was happening? I just relaxed though and talked with the others and we all laughed quite a bit, almost to tears. I thought at some point Jason was going to pull me aside and say let’s take a walk, or something, but it never happened. I was really tired, and it was already midnight, so I got up to leave and he said bye like everyone else. Didn’t walk me to the door or anything. I did drive that night, so I guess he wasn’t concerned about me walking back alone, but he never asked. I was a little hurt.
What I didn’t know was that there was something going on. He had invited me over to break it off with me.