Chapter Three: The “Good Friend”

So, we finally met.

I knew his name, and he could finally put my name in place of the “Lady Bug Girl” which (unbeknownst to me) he had been calling me up to that point.

A blurry webcam “selfie” in my dorm room,
taken right around the time when I met M.

However, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I hoped. After meeting him late that night, each time I saw him over the next couple of weeks all I could get out of him was a quick smile and a wave. Despite my best efforts to catch his eye, he was so standoffish… and I couldn’t figure out why. He always smiled and seemed happy to see me, but our interactions were so brief.

I began to wonder if he just wasn’t interested.

I saw him nearly every Friday evening for several weeks. Each time I saw him he would smile and engage in a bit of small talk before excusing himself to do something else. He was never rude or unfriendly, just very… aloof.

In the meantime, a boy on my residence block asked me out on date. His name was T, and he was nice, funny, and he looked a little like Vin Diesel, who happened to be my celebrity crush at the time. (It was 2004. If you know, you know.) We were absolute polar opposites in almost every way, but we began spending a little more time together. He was interested in me and I was flattered, but he knew that each Friday was YSA night with my friends… where I’d catch myself thinking about M.

Several weeks later, something changed.

Just before Christmas M was asked to help out with an activity. I was sitting on a couch in the foyer with a few friends, and I saw him setting something up across the room. He was alone and there was no one around, so I decided to say hello. I walked over and made some sort of witty comment to begin a conversation. He smiled and laughed, and actually talked to me for a minute or so. He had things in his hands and quickly excused himself to go do something upstairs.

It had been our longest conversation to that point, but it gave me a sliver of hope. I was still casually dating T at school, but I couldn’t explain the connection I felt to M, even though I barely knew him. There was something about him that I felt very drawn to.

Later that night, I saw him standing by the refreshment table on his own. We made eye contact from across the room, so I walked over to ask how his portion of the activity had gone. He smiled and actually started talking to me.

In full sentences. With smiles.

I was hooked.

Still chatting, we walked over to the edge of the stage where we could sit and see the sea of people in the room talking and mingling. There, he finally told me a little bit about himself and I began to unravel the mystery of M.

He told me that he had just come home from serving a two-year church mission in Oregon a few weeks earlier and didn’t really know very many people yet. I immediately offered to introduce him to my circle of friends, pointing out fun people I thought he’d like to meet–carefully avoiding any pretty women. ;)

We sat together and talked for about a half an hour, by far our longest conversation to date. The wall he had constructed around himself came down, and he was surprisingly easy to talk to. Before long my ride was ready to go, so we exchanged phone numbers… and he said he would call me on Sunday night to continue our conversation.

I still wasn’t convinced he would call, or that he was interested in anything more than being friends. It was another several weeks before I learned why he had been so reluctant to talk to me.

Remember his friend A? The one who met my cousin, then came to find me?

He thought that A was interested in pursuing something with me and didn’t want to hurt his friend, even though he was interested himself. In trying to be considerate to what he assumed were A’s feelings, he built up a wall and stayed back.

M & A, taken right around the time we met.

This night, where we first talked, he still wasn’t sure where A or I stood… but he decided to let me in, even if just a little. He recognized that I knew a lot of people at the activities, and thought that I would be a good friend to have, if nothing else.

In the beginning, he thought that friendship was all that I wanted…

…little did he know that we would be so much more than that.

————–

<<PREVIOUS CHAPTER: Good Shoes & Good Smile*
>>NEXT CHAPTER: The Accident

[Original Post: http://lifeisgoodblog.ca/2008/03/chapter-three-the-first-words.html/]

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