There are dozens of proverbs and worn-out clichés about how every person you cross paths with in this life – friends, lovers, one-night stands – is supposed to be there. The reasons why they are there are unknown. Are they to teach us a lesson? Are they to help us to grow? Or are they there simply to prove we aren’t alone? Whatever the reason, there are always those people that you come across that change your entire world, if only for a moment. They make you question everything you know or have known and in a flash, they’re gone. These people rattle your mind and leave you opening door after door in search of them but as ephemeral as a puff of smoke, they’re gone into the wind.
I’ve had very bizarre experiences with boys – they can’t be qualified with the sophisticated term of “men” – in exactly this aforementioned way. They’ve come into my life for such a brief period of time, restructured my thoughts and prodded at my heart and then walked away, completely unscathed and unfazed. In a related media twist, this thought has direct relevance to a TV show I religiously watch. So, if you’re like me, you’re hopelessly dedicated to the show “Girls;” if the quick-witted and brilliant comedy doesn’t draw you in then surely it’s the gratuitous nudity and lasciviousness in every single character. In the most recent episode, Patrick Wilson’s Joshua meets Lena Dunham’s Hannah and within five minutes of meeting one another, Hannah impulsively kisses Joshua, setting an intense sex scene in motion. From there, the two play house for what seemingly is two days. Joshua takes off from work, cooks Hannah a steak, and tells her she’s beautiful – it’s both swoon-worthy and tear jerking. It’s this perfect sojourn away from real life that these two have that makes this episode so captivating that I had to actually remind myself that these are not real people. The point is, and I apologize for this horrible recap you probably didn’t want, that these things actually do happen. As foreign as the episode felt in how perfectly broken Wilson is, these sordid, completely random affairs where life is completely perfect, temporarily, actually happen. They usually end like Hannah’s and Joshua’s did – where she leaves an empty house in the morning with no note, no phone number, or any intimation that she’s going to return or that he’s going to seek her out again. But regardless of how they end, they’re beautiful when they happen; so, should they not occur because they are sure to hurt you or should they happen because they remind you of why life is worth living?
I can remember the first time I had an experience like Hannah’s – where one moment you mean something and the next, you don’t. It was three years ago, when I still went to dirty college house parties and drank unidentifiable alcohol from large red cups. At one of those parties, on Halloween night, I donned a French maid costume and spent the a few hours talking to my partner in crime – my best friend – and mingling with coeds I’d never met before and would never meet again. Except for one guy. He was tall, broad, yet attractive and strong jawed. He was dressed as a character from an old Matt Damon movie and repeatedly spoke in a poor Bostonian accent to further the ensemble. I met him in the kitchen of the house we were at because I had commandeered it, in my drunken ridiculousness. I had dramatically declared the countertop my personal bar and no one was allowed to drink unless I made it. Word spread that I was the bartender for the evening and I began to get handed random bottles of alcohol and juices, which I then threw, haphazardly, into a massive punch bowl that I had found in a nearby cabinet. Quickly, I found myself surrounded by this guy and his friends and suddenly I was part of their gang. Hugs, high-fives, and fist-bumps were exchanged rapidly and often and somehow the strong-jawed boy’s arm ended up around me. I vividly remember sitting on the counter talking to him, swinging my legs while he told me I was pretty and that I seemed “interesting.” Drunk and easily impressionable, I was entranced. God, I miss being eighteen. We spent the entire night talking and then when it was time to leave, and I was drunk enough, I asked why he hadn’t kissed me. That’s when he dropped the bomb. He had a girlfriend. I pouted, kissed his cheek, and went on my way – thinking I’d never see him again.
Unfortunately, we live in an age of Facebook and I drunkenly friended him that same night before tucking myself into bed and falling into a vodka-induced coma. In the morning, I saw that he had accepted and I stalked sadly knowing that I needed to write him and the night off as “that Halloween I got really drunk and pretended I knew how to bartend.”
A month later, that same house that had the Halloween party had a Christmas party. Donning normal clothes this time, I grabbed my partner in crime and walked into this all to familiar house to find myself a drink, a dude, and some mistletoe. Less than five minutes after my arrival, strong-jaw from Halloween spots me from across the room and gets this stupid smirk on his face. He hugs me, gets a drink with me, and he acts like we’re old friends – reminiscing on the days when I was a French maid. We spent the entire night together. I got introduced to his friends, he told me he visited my Facebook “once or twice,” and then …he revealed that he was no longer with the girlfriend. Pleased, curious, and anxious, I let the night unfold from there all while trying to suppress a giddy grin. We drank like fish, slow-danced by ourselves, and kissed repeatedly under the college equivalent of mistletoe – a sprig of artificial holly. I remember thinking I had never bonded with someone so quickly before that night and I was so excited to see what the days after would hold. I was full of possibility and hope that this could really be something. This wasn’t another guy. This could be my guy. It wasn’t until I told him I was leaving and he didn’t ask for my number or tell me he’d contact me soon that the knot started to form in the pit of my stomach.
And it wasn’t until a week or two after that night that I stopped lurking his Facebook, the knot in my stomach unfurled, and then, a few months later, I let go of the entire ordeal.
I couldn’t tell you what the impetus behind those two nights were because for me, they were fun, carefree, and exciting. I guess I never realized how naïve I was then, to think that that would surely become something when there were clearly a lot of things indicating the opposite. Hell, I didn’t even sleep with him and maybe that was all he really wanted out of it. All the same, I wouldn’t give those nights up for anything. It was kind of nice to belong to a stranger for those hours. It was nice having that feeling of possibility. It’s satisfying to have illusions because when they develop and crystallize, you never know if they’re going to shatter. And that unknown is half the fun of having them in the first place.
I don’t know what’s going to become of Hannah and Joshua on next week’s episode of “Girls” but I do know how their interaction made me feel and what it made me remember. I have no idea what that guy is doing with his life right now and I’m not sure I even remotely care. I have a thousand unanswered questions from those nights and I have no clue what lesson I was supposed to learn or what growth I was supposed to have. I do know, however, that had that boy stayed in my life he probably would not be nearly as significant to me as he is now. After all, it is terribly strange how the large wounds that never seem to heal don’t hurt nearly as much as those single pinpricks to the heart.