Most of my stories, the really good ones, start like this:
I got drunk at a friends birthday party one night in August 2015.
I was sitting in a couch, three drinks in and talking to two friends I hadn’t seen in eons because I’m a hermit shut in who was working long strange hours on weekends so being social was always a challenge. Also, I’m a hermit shut in. While chatting, I was approached by a woman holding a bottle of wine the way I hold a bottle of whiskey.
With fucking conviction.
She tells me (and I’m a bit of a haze because exhausted and damnit whiskey) she’s a divorce attorney right off the bat and I nod how impressed I am because a) a bit tipsy b) that’s forward c) she’s pretty young. I’m drunk and don’t know I’m being flirted with. I’m also dumb and don’t know when I’m being flirted with. It’s potent concoction.
I proceed to have a good time playing a very complicated game of Exploding Kittens (I’m not crazy about it you know? Give me Cards Against Humanity anyday) while doing pulls and my eyes get bloodshot and nothing hurts and it’s 1am and I’m in a basement party listening to Skrillex like I’m 19 and I know I’m being watched.
I vaguely recall sauntering over and talking, god only knows what I said but I’m pretty sure I was engaging. I was being grilled by other friends because I get loud and obnoxious when I’m high, drunk and exhausted. I do my best not to text Waffle and I realize with every cloud of smoke that I’m not even thinking about Waffle anymore. I’m not thinking about anything. I’m talking to this girl and can’t remember a goddamned thing but I’m Skippy peanut butter smooth and it probably is working but my close friend, let’s call him The Vet is sideeying me because he knows I’m drunk and I’m torpedoing my chances at anything remotely resembling a normal social human.
I go back to the game and see Her standing up to go and I drunkenly declare “I’m supposed to go with her.”
I have no idea why I felt the compulsion to do that but yeah, there you go.
So we’re outside and this is where, like most of the things that happen after a good night out I don’t remember shit.
I get home and find a message on Instagram.
Someone slid into my DMs.
If you’re one of those people who lives under a rock or is just not hip to things (or a proper hermit who doesn’t follow whatever is going on in the world) it goes down in the DMs. A direct message on Instagram is like opening the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders; it could be face melting.
It goes down in the DMs. People confess things, send you messages make you wonder what is going on in the world or with you that someone wants to just slide in and start chatting. I ignore it at first, mild interest compelling me to give one word vaguely flirtatious answers and all the while, my mind is drifting to whether or not this girl is someone I want to talk to because my heart is still stuck on stupid with Waffle. I let the conversation die…after giving Duck my number.
The texts come in, simple, occasional and flirty. I wind up reading them, low level checking out Instagram and keeping tabs. Duck is fond of selfies. VERY. Fond of Selfies. And food. It’s interesting. There is something alluring about the nearly hourly updates of selfies because the eyes tell a story that was still very interesting.
Duck gives good face.
Which brings me to the title of this post.
I’ve found that I’ve an uncanny ability of having strong feelings towards people with very simple features that seem to just be otherworldly if you know how to look for them. With Waffle (I can barely recall it now which, shoutouts to me for having the ability to kinda worm my way out of that right? Nah.) it was the eyes and smile. Still gets me. I noticed with Duck, it’s the jawline and curve of the lips. Go figure. It’s that thing. Everyone has it. That quirk that just makes a person perfect and unique to the beholder. I am compelled to tease Duck and text “You take alot of selfies.”
“Feel free to unfollow.”
Simple. Challenging. Confident.
What a little shit.
We flirt on and on and as Waffle drifts farther and farther away from me, the loss feels less and less like a loss and the hole still feels like a hole but it is what it is, I accept that this is just how things are going to be. Waffle isn’t coming back and Waffle is totally fine with never being anything to me.
I end up texting again with Duck and we make plans. I put them off. “I’m tired.” I put them off. “Come hang out.” I put them off. I get a call. I’m a little buzzed (naturally) and wind up making plans to meet.
I sit in a car with Duck from 11p to 4:30a and sleep like a toddler til 11a the next morning. It’s a Sunday and I wake up with a text message.
We make plans again and again and I don’t break them. The experience is unique. We’re trying to understand each other; both of us are victims of circumstance with relationships with pieces of metal fragments still stuck in soft part of our hearts and bodies. Her way of coping is with the selfies, mine, uhhh well, you know what mine is and we’re two people who are just trying to figure it all out. The strange thing about meeting someone and getting along with them is how often you see layers of other people on them. I don’t mean their pasts or their exes, I mean people you’ve met along the way to meeting the person in front of you. You see the person you had a crush on but were to afraid to approach, the person you were with and it all fell apart, you see the elements of someone you want to be in them and that’s when the layers fall away and you see it.
That thing. The thing that makes that person stand out in a crowd, how you can pick them out and know that they’re the one you want to spend time with. It’s not always sexual in nature, not at first because like anything, that takes time, especially when you’re talking about two people who are still very hurt by the way other people treated them. That thing is what keeps you two moving around each other, slowly orbiting until you’re comfortable enough to atleast broach the subject of whatever else you want, whatever else you need. It’s that thing that makes us all a little more curious to get closer in an increasingly isolating world of dating apps and casual connections; that thing that makes you crave human contact when you’ve adapted to life without it. You find yourself wondering how their day is, you stop thinking so much about the person you were with someone else and the person you might be with the person in front of you.
You weren’t looking for anything but it sneaks up on you and that’s it.
The trick now is, how to not fuck it up.