So! In the last month, I have become less bitter spinster and more bitter girlfriend. This is as shocking to you all as it is to me, but I ain’t complaining.
Tyler and I officially met for the first time at a Taco Bell (which is how I firmly and wholeheartedly believe all burgeoning love affairs should begin), but we officially became aware of each other via Facebook. A relationship born via Facebook comments (he was the only smart and agreeable voice of reason in a sea of fools on a news article I stumbled upon), I was instantly captivated by him.
“So there’s this really cute guy on facebook, I think I want to message him.” I remember texting to Whitney. Screencaps were exchanged. Encouragement was given. Officially scorned, jaded, and over it was I, when it came to even considering internet relations – but something told me to just do it. Send a message. See what happens.
Nothing really happened.
He answered quickly. He was polite! So polite. He didn’t have much to say, and didn’t bite when I dropped hints that I was interested in him. I told him that he had gorgeous eyes, talked to him on and off for a few weeks, and then dropped it, totally frustrated, and ghosted.
“It felt like pulling teeth,” I said to Whitney, when she followed up. “He wasn’t into me.”
A few months later, I was laying in my bed at the Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis when I was deleting old message threads on Facebook. In the time that had lapsed since I’d last messaged Tyler, I had become completely obsessed with the musical Hamilton – so I gasped out loud when I scrolled down and saw his photo and his name – “Tyler HAMILTON”. “Son of a bitch,” I said to myself when I saw the thread. “His last name was Hamilton!”
This made me doubly bummed. Not only did the smart dude with the gorgeous eyes not dig me, the smart dude with the gorgeous eyes and the rad last name didn’t dig me. I sulked and stewed over it. For some reason, instead of hitting “delete”, I opened the conversation and let it hang there for a minute. Could I say something? SHOULD I? Would it be weird to pop back up again? Did it even matter? I decided the best way to approach this would be passive aggressively (what could be more attractive?), and I fired off a message to him that said something like “I wish you had liked me, because I still think you are gorgeous!”
He answered me right away. And it wasn’t pulling teeth this time, no, not at all. We messaged each other so frantically and frequently that my phone would stall and lag with notifications. It was like a dam burst – when he realized I was being serious and was really interested, he felt comfortable enough to tell me that he had actually been really interested, too, but was just shy and unsure. Getting to know him over the phone was like a drug – he was a captivating conversationalist, and I could not learn enough, discover enough, retain enough – everything he said I tried to commit to memory. He was interesting, real, genuine – I found every excuse to sneak away from work or class to get another bit of him. His mind made me crazy. His intelligence was staggering. He did not object to my heavy use of sarcasm, my tendency towards cynicism, and he patiently accepted my skittishness and fears.
When we finally agreed to meet, I was ecstatic and also hysterical. I hid in the bathroom at Taco Bell when I arrived, and I felt a fear I wasn’t quite familiar with. Anticipatory was not quite the word – I just understood that I was really afraid of things not going well, because I knew, already, that I really, really needed this kid in my life.
I’ll spare you all the gooey details for the most part, but when I finally slithered out of the bathroom, he arrived. It was awkward, it was awful, and then, suddenly, it wasn’t. We laughed a lot, and it was really nice. He brushed my hand mid-conversation, startled at how warm my hands were compared to his chilly ones. While this was scientifically factual, I sensed that he might be using this as an opportunity to hold my hand. Internally horrified at the display of vulnerability that holding hands might be, as I intrinsically reject any sort of affection, specifically of the physical sort, I sort of, kind of, half assedly let my hand drop into his, our fingers touching before intertwining – and that was it. I thought I had been electrified. I honestly thought I was actually going to be sick. His eyes went wide, he stuttered, he completely lost track of conversation. My vision was blurry. My mouth was dry. I kept thinking “say something, say something!” but I couldn’t find coherence.
No one had ever looked at me the way that he did in the moment our hands touched. And no one had ever made me FEEL the way that our intertwined hands made me feel. Every other boy that I thought I had ever loved in my lifetime slid away like leftovers down a kitchen drain – the highest of highs with them could never dream of matching this moment. An alarm went howling off in my mind, and I knew concretely that everything was going to be different from now on.
We joked earlier tonight about how this doesn’t feel like ONLY a month, and it doesn’t, not at all – it feels like a lifetime, and that’s sort of the best thing ever. It feels comfortable and weird and cool and I still wake up everyday surprised that something good has happened, but it has happened and IS happening, right now! At this very moment! And basically, I’m just glad I bullied a cute dude from Facebook into being my boyfriend. Best thing I’ve ever done.
The other night before we went to bed, we were listening to music, and “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles shuffled up. I instantly started to cry, because I’m hysterically in tears nearly 95% of every day of my life. Tyler is patient – he doesn’t panic when I cry, he just tries to understand it. I tried to tell him, embarrassed, that I wasn’t crying because I was upset, I was crying because I was happy. I’ve actually listened to “Here Comes the Sun” several times since we’ve been together, and cried every time – “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear” – I guess I didn’t know how much I hurt and how much I was holding on to until I met Tyler, and then none of it mattered anymore. In one instant in the middle of a Taco Bell, “the smiles returning to the faces”.
“Here comes the sun”, indeed.
“It’s alright,” he mouthed along with the song as he wiped my tears away.
And it is.