After Halloween night, I tried to find an excuse to see you again as soon as possible. Everything was different now, and I was certain that the next time I saw you, “you and I” would officially become “we.”
I was wrong.
When I next saw you, a mere 36 hours after I had dropped you back off at your car, it was never mentioned or acknowledged. It was like Halloween had never existed. Like nothing had happened between us. Like nothing had changed.
I have to admit that I was hurt. I do not take romantic affection lightly, and I thought this sudden shift was the real deal. But you acted like it had never occurred. I wondered if it meant nothing to you, or if you had only done it because you were horny and drunk, or if you were too drunk to even remember that it had happened in the first place. That rush of feelings I felt, just erased.
Even though you wouldn’t come outright and acknowledge Halloween night, things between us did start to change. We started to go out and do new activities, spending more time together than ever before. When November came around, you not only invited me over for Friendsgiving, but you asked me to come before everyone else. I even helped you to finish cooking and clean up afterward. Not long after that, you invited me back over to play Scrabble and…meet your mom. We were definitely entering a new phase of our friendship as fall gave way to winter.
Oh, sweet December.
A few days before Christmas, we decided to go see Trumbo at the movie theater. We had some time to kill before our showing, though, so we went to Buybacks to browse their CD selection. As we were wandering through the store, you suddenly (finally!) brought up Halloween. You then proceeded to talk about how all of our mutual friends thought we were dating all summer long, so wouldn’t it be funny if we actually started dating? Wouldn’t that be a good joke? That would show them!
Of course, I was dying inside (in a good way) the entire time, but I kept my cool, playing along and matching your tone of jest. I didn’t have the heart to ask if you were really joking or not. Once the conversation wandered off in a new direction, I decided I would just let it go. I wouldn’t mention it again unless you brought it up first.
You weren’t joking though, and it certainly wasn’t long before the issue came up again.
About halfway through the movie that night, you put your arm around me. This time, the action was welcome, expected even, and it did not send me spiraling into a panicked state. We went back to your house afterward to exchange Christmas gifts for a quick minute, but that quick minute turned to hours. We sat in your living room, talking and watching dumb videos, your hand on my knee and my arm linked through yours. It didn’t feel surprising or weird; it simply felt natural.
When I finally mustered up the motivation to leave, you walked me out to my car. We stumbled over our words as we said goodbye and gave Christmas wishes. I blurted out an invitation for you to join my friends and I for New Year’s, and you agreed to it. I couldn’t believe I had invited you, or that you were coming, or that any of this was actually happening.
The stretch of time between our gift exchange and New Year’s Eve was tortuous. Not only was I eager to see you, but I was worried that you were going to entirely change your mind. I knew that a day or so after this had all occurred, you were visiting a friend from your first year of graduate school that you had had a crush on once upon a time. I was worried that you were going to see her and realize that these feelings you thought you had for me were all a mistake. In that whole stretch of time, we only texted on Christmas, further adding to my fear that this had all been one big misunderstanding.
If I could just make it to New Year’s Eve, everything would be alright.