Thursday night, I watched basketball with Kansas (my alcoholic ex-non-boyfriend). It wasn't planned. I had no guarantee that he'd be at the bar (well, except that he's a barfly). I cannot justify my behavior or my pursuit of the unavailable. The bizarre cherry on top of the night was that Sailor (faded work crush) was there too. I'll get to that in a minute.
That night, I was bound and determined to push myself a little out of the comfort zone of work-home-knit. I've been doing this volunteer thing and the organization was holding a happy hour, so I went.
I didn't stay long. Not only would no one talk to me—no one would even make eye contact. It was pathetic. I was the only solo person there. How can you go to such an event just to hang out with your friends? Crazy. One guy turned around to move his coat out of my way, talked to me, moved his coat, then turned back to continue a conversation with his friend. About Easter timing. Seriously. That's pretty private, emotional stuff. Good call on not including me.
I was so frustrated that I finished my drink ultra quick and scooted off. You might almost say I left in a huff. I was frustrated and I wanted to see a friendly face. I wanted someone to be happy to see me.
Walking to the happy hour bar, I'd promised myself that if things did not go well, I could go to the old bar and see what was what. After that one quick drink, it seemed like an especially good plan.
No, of course, I knew it was "wrong." I did a little internal tussling, but my course was set and I was staying it.
When I walked into the old bar, there was Kansas, perched on his usual stool in his usual spot. He perked up when he saw me but didn't seem especially surprised that I was there. I sat down next to him and we started up an easy conversation and I ordered a drink. I said, "You're something. You don't seem surprised to see me at all."
He said, "It's basketball season." True enough.
Sitting next to him, I felt bittersweet affection. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about Kansas, other than ruefully, but I know that I like him. I had a brief moment or two when I thought about kissing him again. And then I remembered what it was actually like to kiss him and I remembered the snoring. I sighed and turned back to the basketball game and let go of my fantasy.
On a trip back from the restroom, I saw Sailor. He was sitting on the crowded side of the bar, out of view of Kansas's spot. I couldn't tell if he was on his own or with the guy sitting next to him. I was surprised and happy to see him. I stopped and we chatted—about basketball, of course.
Sailor is as unavailable and unattainable as Kansas. He is appropriate, though, so a better object of affection. But it kind of doesn't matter. Neither one of them has boyfriend potential. And, as you may recall (but I don't recall if I wrote about it), Kansas doesn't want to be my boyfriend either. He just wants someone to lean on. Sailor doesn't even want that (from me). I'm so tired of only liking unavailable men. When will I learn my lesson?
I got back to Kansas and said, "Huh. I just ran into this guy from work."
"Really? Good or bad?"
I thought for a second, "I don't know. I had a big crush on him but he didn't like me. What's wrong with him?"
Kansas said, "What indeed!"
I said, "You know, I don't think I have a crush on him anymore." (I believed it when I said it.)
"You don't. That's good."
Kansas asked if I was going to come back on Friday and watch the Carolina game. He said, "It's at 7:10pm. I'll be here. You can watch it here."
"Or at home. All the games are online."
I said, "I'll probably come here. Sure."
I had a great time watching Duke almost lose (Butler: I love you forever after that game). As soon as the game was over, I said, "I gotta go." I gathered my stuff and Kansas didn't ask me to stay or offer to walk out with me. I was gone in five minutes.
The sad thing is that I went back on Friday. I walk into the bar and see all of Kansas's buddies. Good guys. Friendly guys. Most of them remember me and I'm happy to see them and talk. Kansas is no where to be seen and I feel foolish. Carolina is walking away with the game and I decide to go home. I'm talking to Kansas's best buddy and I say, "I have to go home."
He says, "You don't have to."
I say, "I have to."
He says, "I don't want to overstep. But I know what you're thinking: Kansas is coming soon and you don't want to see him. Don't worry, he's not coming out tonight."
I smiled (ruefully, of course) and said, "I just saw him yesterday."
"Anyway, if anything, he should be avoiding me. I don't care." (Liar!)
"Ok, well, you don't have to go home then."
I said, "I have to go." I bummed a cigarette and walked home. I thought, "I should really thank Kansas for keeping me from making an even bigger fool of myself." And, "If his buddy only knew that I was there looking for Kansas. What would he think of me?"
Fuck it. I'm going to Paris.
Grateful for: soft landings.