On The Past

7 July, 2010

Call it a crush, a preoccupation, a notion, a flirt, a ‘that-guy’, an ‘I’m-not-quite-sure-what-he-is-to-me’ – it’s fun to have someone in mind, someone that you can allow yourself, every now and then, to stop and think of and smile to yourself, because you know they like you, and you think you like them, too.

So let’s say I got me one of them (yes, it HAS been a while). While I’m hardly filled with the fresh stirrings of unrivaled passion, I’m having fun, and that is always welcome, and, c’est vrai, overdue.

Just a few light weeks into it, I have started to indulge myself in the occasional split-second daydream, the kind that leaves me with a quick sigh and reassurance that someone likes me (in case this sounds trite to you, you are probably lucky enough to have that kind of confidence on a regular basis. I last enjoyed it in 2009).

Imagine my surprise – and utter confusion – when a stolen moment of recalling l’homme nouveau conjured up not his face – but instead the visage of an old, old friend from high school, someone I haven’t seen or heard from since 1998 (possibly 1997). Lordy, was my subconscious messing with my conscious! I stopped myself and carried on my day, but the next time a daydream got the best of me – I once again saw in my head the same face of the boy who liked me in 10th grade.

This old friend – we’ll call him George, which is not his name – has previously been mentioned in this blog, cited for being one of the parties who once-upon-a-time fought over my affection. We had a nice if strange friendship, at least preceding the drama. We had several classes together, and he would pass me notes declaring his deep, true feelings for me, and I would blush and remind him that he had a girlfriend. Unfortunately for him (and me?), I enjoyed his friendship only platonically, and will never forget the shared embarrassment we both felt later that summer when (newly single) he tried to put the moves on me. Still, he remains an integral part of my personal and emotional history – perhaps because he was, I believe, the first person to show that he desired me, maturely, sexually. Of course, 15 year-old me had no idea what to do with that, and waited until those sentiments came from his friend, the victor of their fight, to actually explore them. But when I stop and think about it – as I was forced to do earlier – I do remember the strange, new sense of flattery and confidence that I felt around him, and how that indicated a clear, tender and sweet transition away from innocence.

Still, George has all but disappeared from my life – every 3 years or so, I’ll look him up on the internet, but he seems to be untraceable, free from the confines of Social Networking webs and apparently not doing anything so noteworthy as to wind up in the news.  I don’t think he died (surely, that would be in the news).  Perhaps he changed his name.

His obscurity only aggravates my confusion as to why, when concentrating on conjuring up an image of the new guy in my life, I only see this relic from my past. Physically, I suppose they share the same wavy dark hair – but that’s about where the similarities end.  Upon closer consideration, though, they also share the same awkward approach to me, to whatever we maybe forging – but is my subconscious really so sophisticated as to pull that out from obscurity?  This seems more like the stuff that dreams are made of – surreal, symbolic and suggestive.  But to pop up in a daydream… that’s so overt!  So blatant!  So flummoxing!

I’ve spent a few days trying to figure this out, as it wasn’t until I saw the new guy earlier today that I was able to finally rid George’s face from my association.  I’ve decided that there are more contributing factors to these crossed signals than I had originally thought – all minor, all subtle, but all undeniable.  It’s in the posture, the clumsy confidence that is bolder than it seems, the way they look at me, with eyes that have a lot to say but refuse to utter a word,  small mannerisms, the steady trot, and–perhaps more than anything else–the way they each wanted me, a sweet awkwardness.

All that being said, what surprises me most today is not that my brain drew a connection between these two gentlemen–it’s that it did so even though I have changed so much in these 12, 13 years.  George will always remained fixed in my memory as a 16 year old boy, and I exist in that memory as a 16 year old me, too.  I’d like to think that I have outgrown much of my own maladroit cluelessness and naivete since then, and it’s troublesome to have to wonder if my subconscious hasn’t yet noticed that change.

Having seen the new beau, I think I can more safely keep the two entities separate – one as a memory, the other as a reality.  There is is now an invisible thread endearing the two together, though, and I’ve come to appreciate the way the past has, oddly enough, sweetened the present.

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It’s funny how things* begin.

*things: ideas, relationships, jobs, regiments, friendships, passions, hobbies, living arrangements, solutions, paths, careers, programs, projects, ventures, enterprises, endeavors, moves, changes, etc, etc, etc.

There are some of these things that from the moment of their inception, we inherently invest a great deal of ourselves in, creating hopes and expectations, letting our imaginations carry us so far away that we lose sight of what is and isn’t. And then there is the inverse–happenings that we take casually in stride, going along for the ride wherever it may lead us, without thought or care to where these things have come from or where they’re going.

I find it fascinating and uncanny that the things we think we want can often wind up fading into oblivion, while the things that we think mean nothing to us often gain traction. Is this backwards-ness the universe’s idea of a lame joke?

Or is it nature’s way of teaching us that we never truly know what we want?

Look Ahead

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