from the 25th season of Helen's Life:
a new friend reminded me of a song by anna nalick that recently popped back up on my radar via that crack-like medical drama, Grey's Anatomy. there's a story that goes with this song, and I'm going to mine the experiences of my somewhat blessed existence to share with you a short story about some feelings I had once.
I'll change the names and not tell the whole story for artistic reasons (mostly to make myself look good), and that's the best I can do by way of the anonymity disclaimer. hopefully this is sufficient. the people of whom I speak will instantly recognise themselves. other people who were there at the time will also know exactly who I'm talking about. It's ok with me.
I had a stalker crush on a handsome French Canadian once. I referred to him as 'supermarket guy' as it was both his place of work and a vague indicator of his gender. I crushed on this lovely person in a way that eventually drove me to recklessly dive into the asking out of the stranger. if we'd been at our current stage of linguistic evolution, I may have said YOLO first. we'll never know.
at that point in time, my crush was based in the substance filled concept that he had a nice face set off with something of a black eye (which only served to intruige, and would go on to be a reoccuring factor in the chapter of the description of me titled 'things she likes to see on faces'). he also smiled at me when i saw him in the supermarket.
I asked him to have a drink with me and it never quite happened and then I moved to another place and started using another supermarket and assumed we were done there. I did run into him from time to time and managed once to even give him shit about the fact I gave him my number and nothing came of it. I went to his birthday party. then I got so incredibly wasted on halloween that I believe I bought him a drink (I was a zombie clown, he was a suicide bomber). I did not remember doing any of this, but was pleased with drunk Helen's generosity. as luck would have it, I moved back into the old neighbourhood and again purchased groceries at his supermarket.
the best winter season of my life started with a long and cold and dark lift line with coffee from supermarket guy and so much boring tired/wired shit talk, none of which I remember. then we rode. then he had to work, and I went and laughed at him in the supermarket.
in between christmas and new year I managed to trick him into kissing me at a nightclub. it's a heady thing, when you stalker crush on someone with such persistence that you eventually make them kiss you. I don't remember much about this either (in case you're unclear, i was mainly drunk for three years in Canada. not even sorry), but I do remember being categorically un-disappointed with said kiss.
I left him a mixtape on my way back to australia for a three week family fiasco and hoped for the best.
I got back to canada and happened upon an awkward thing that had happened while I was gone: he had a crush on my housemate.
I never said this wasn't a bullshit romantic comedy style story. I never promised anything.
the song 'breathe' by anna nalick was a favourite of this housemate. and she had a lovely singing voice. and we used to sing together, until she ruined some other things and then ruined this one. I wish for both of their sakes they'd gone for it, their love story - if only my housemate knew herself a bit better and wasn't so naturally disposed to stringing men along. I spent time with this supermarket person, being his friend. the things I wanted, the extra things, ebbed into the background and the ambient noise with the realisation that we weren't ever destined for great romantic love.
but a thing happened somewhere along the line. we got to be real, true friends. before he moved back east to the motherland we got to spend a wild night in vancouver with the dropkick murphys and people disappearing and turning up agan wearing vomit pants, and there was real laughter, and real tears the day we dragged his hungover ass to southside diner for a farewell egg on toast. Heart of Gold played and I cried a real tear with the saying goodbye of my good friend. his heart is gold.
we've been better friends since then. I haven't seen the bastard since. we've written so many postcards it's silly; I take mine out and read them when I need to just have a friend's words nearby. I might even have a selection of them stuck on the wall; they make me feel real.
but as always happens with me and my half-assed committment situation, there's been a communication gap for a while. I've been sad about that gap, especially since I am still waiting for him to turn up on my doorstep with a backpack one day, like he's promised me he will. I love him, but the actual real love that happens now I know who he is and like him for it. maybe how our friendship started isn't traditional, but I love the story.
I love him in a way much better than the silly crush of almost 6 years ago, but when I hear this song by anna nalick, I remember the time of wanting something else altogether and the ridiculously childish jealousy I held tight in my heart for months for my silly housemate. that poor girl. I'm better at this now. I learned that from her.
and from you, supermarket guy, I learned that someone can be one of the loves of your life without you ever getting to kiss them again. and I thank you for this knowledge. Come visit me soon.