It had become common for Alex and I to share upcoming vacation plans with each other. It felt like it was a way for us to give the other head’s up we may be out of pocket for a bit or less accessible. Alex let me know he was going out of town on vacation for a long weekend to attend the wedding of a cousin in the Bay Area. He shared he and his wife were going with his parents, brother and sister-in-law. He said he wasn’t excited to go at all because he hated weddings. The fact he wasn’t excited helped me feel better because hearing about this trip out of town wasn’t exactly thrilling to me.
Jealousy. I hated feeling jealous. I was jealous of his wife getting to go out of town to a fantastic city and to a wedding. Let’s face it, most women love a good wedding! I also automatically assumed I would be in little contact with him because he was going to be surrounded by family 24/7 and since he was off work there wouldn’t be the work excuse for him to be on his phone. Also, when he would go to his home state, I knew he would spend time around her family who he didn’t like, so that was a more miserable experience. This trip was potentially a romantic type trip with his wife and immediate family. Jealous.
I decided since he was the one out of town, I would not initiate any interaction with him. I may be a lot of things in this relationship I otherwise normally wouldn’t be, but I am aware enough to know my initiating interaction when I knew he was with his family like this wasn’t exactly appropriate. Mostly just out of respect for only him and allowing him time away from work and with people he loved.
They left on a Thursday and were coming back the following Monday. He told me when his flight was, so of course I was paying attention to the time throughout the day, wondering where he was and if he was missing me, yet. Then, I would get mad at myself for being in a situation where I couldn’t go an hour without thinking of him and hoping he was thinking of me.
I was miserable at work, so I decided to leave a bit early and go home to get my mind off him and onto something more fun. An evening with just girlfriends. I was getting ready and will admit my thoughts of him continued to rush in uncontrollably. I hadn’t ever missed him as much as I did this time. I think it reflected exactly how much we had grown over the last several months. As I berated myself in my head for feeling this way, I wondered if he felt the same way. Then I was reminded of the conversation.
We are friends. He does not have feelings for me, we are friends. I purposely asked him about interacting with his other friends while on vacation and he said he does not; since he and I were friends, then I could expect no interaction from him let alone him even thinking of me. This made it even more painful.
Later that evening as I was driving to meet my friends, my phone chimed with a new message. My heart fluttered. I was hopeful, but immediately told myself I was ridiculous to think it was him. He was out of town with his wife and family, the last person he would be messaging was me. As I pulled up to the stoplight, I knew I would have enough time to check my phone. I reached down, pushed the button to light up the screen and saw the BlackBerry Messenger smiley face lit up. I typed my password, went into the application and my heart about jumped out of my chest when I saw the message was from him.
“Why so quiet today?” the message said. I let out a long sigh. He missed me. He was thinking of me. Alex and I would ask the other why they were being quiet when the flow of communication had been reduced in any way. It was our way of letting the other know we had noticed something was different and wanted to know if everything was okay.
The light changed to green, so I placed my BlackBerry back into the cup holder and decided I would respond once I got to the restaurant. I knew he would see I had read the message and hadn’t responded immediately. I was okay with this temporary torture.
When I parked my car, I picked up my phone and started writing a message back to him. I told him I was so happy to hear from him and that I knew he was on vacation with his family, so I didn’t want to interrupt his time away. He immediately responded and told me he was bored hanging out with them and wanted me to provide him a break to being bored. I told him I was fine with that, but that in addition to my being quiet, he was quiet that day, too, so if he wanted to interact, he needed to show that, too. He agreed.
And so it began.
Looking back, this was a weekend that took our communication and interaction to an entirely new level. At the time, I didn’t think it was possible, but it was.
He was texting me constantly. Constantly. He and his family were out sightseeing the next day and throughout the day he was messaging me, telling me all about what they were doing and what he was seeing. He would take pictures and send them to me, too. I have to say, I loved it! He was venting about how annoying it was to be with his family nonstop. What I couldn’t figure out, however, was if his wife was included in this annoyance because one would think since they had to spend so much time apart several months earlier, they would appreciate time like this away. Of course I didn’t ask if it included her, partly because it wasn’t my business and partly because I didn’t want to know the answer.
On Saturday was the wedding and his interaction did slow down during the actual ceremony. I was expecting that to continue throughout the evening because they were at the reception in a tall hotel overlooking San Francisco. Just the setting itself sounded amazing and enough to keep one focused on the situation and people he was surrounded with. Not so.
Around 8pm, the messages started at rapid fire pace. It was clear he had several beers by this point because he was more open and the conversation was flowing. The messages didn’t stop until 2am. Two o’clock in the morning! Throughout the entire reception he was messaging me. The longest period of time on a couple of occasions between messages was three minutes or so, all other messages were sent in less time than that.
We were talking about his family and how annoying his family was, his parents, his brother and sister-in-law. Then he moved on to his extended family, telling me he had many cousins who were doctors and because of this, he was always viewed in a less than way because he wasn’t a doctor. He said he hated that feeling. Whoa. This is deep conversation. I asked him if people really saw him in a less than light or if it was just in his head, and he responded very passionately that it was real and true. He said even his mom felt that way. My heart broke for him a little bit. I didn’t understand how this could be true when I saw how bright and talented he was and for heaven sakes, he was in a position in his current company that wasn’t often held by someone as young as he is. So, none of this made sense to me, but also made me more defensive and protective of him.
I could tell the beer continued to flow. I told him I loved how much he was interacting with me, but asked him where his wife was and how was he getting away with this. He told me she knows he hates weddings, so she was letting him be. I wanted to ask if she knew who he was messaging with, but I didn’t dare. I was afraid by asking the question it may prompt him to stop. I didn’t want that to happen.
The conversation continued throughout the evening and when it got really late, the flirtation started. Alex and I flirted through messaging on occasion. It wasn’t a blatant style of flirting, but instead this teasing-complimenting way we had with each other. One of the things he told me in particular is that he would rather spend any moment talking with me than spending a moment talking to or with anyone in that room with him. My heart swelled. How could this be when his wife is in the same room? Did he really mean everyone except her? I didn’t know, but I loved the way it made me feel.
Finally it was time to go to sleep and he was about ready to pass out. He thanked me for having such a good conversation with him and that he loved the fact I was willing to talk him through such a terrible evening and experience. He then ended it on a high note, he told me that anytime he could talk to me, he could make his way through anything.
As I put my phone down and laid on my back in my dark room, my heart was full. It felt as if I had just gotten home from the most amazing date with the most amazing man I had ever met. I had never experienced this before with someone who I was simply messaging on my phone.
He is married.
There it was like clockwork. That thought was never far from my mind when I was beaming in the light of his glow. That night, however, I decided to put that thought out of my mind and to fall asleep thinking about the most amazing, connected conversation I had ever had with someone over messaging.
The next two days of his vacation were more of the same. Constant interaction and communication. On Monday when he was at the airport waiting to catch his flight home, he sent me a text saying he couldn’t wait to get back to work tomorrow to see me. He wanted to make sure I made time on my calendar for us to go to lunch.
No question I would make that happen after the weekend we just shared.