My girlfriend Jill has officially taken the lead she’s about 5 steps ahead but I’m slowly drifting further behind. Waiting for the two of us is Phyllis, a nice older woman who smiles as her hands rest on her hips. Seeing Phyllis I get a little nervous I wonder how I can bail out of my situation. I think that I’m a few steps behind Jill so maybe I can run and say I’m sick, but I realize that won’t work I’ve already smiled at Phyllis. Dammit, this is it, I’m getting closer and I’m about to come face to face with fear. That face is in the form of a nice old lady.
“Hello, I’m Phyllis.”
“Hi, I’m Josh and this is Jill.”
“Josh and I are really excited to see the apartment.” Said Jill.
It’s official. The communication has been established. The nice old lady who’s acting manager at the Sweetzer Apartments has just become my obstacle. She’s been in communication with my girlfriend for a few days and she has a “great apartment.” My girlfriend knows I need space and she clearly used that to her advantage, she found a place with ample room and two bedrooms. She knows I’m dying for a office and the second bedroom would be just that, Jill knows know so much about me but also knows so little about me, it’s funny how that works.
I currently live in a studio apartment and although I’m extremely cramped I would consider myself content. I’ve been discussing moving in with my girlfriend for months now and I’ve always figured out a way to dodge the subject when she brings it up. For some reason she can’t understand that being a 24 year old male means I’m afraid to make various commitments. I’m afraid to move in because I’d feel as though I’m about to start a future with someone who isn’t me. That’s not to say I don’t love her, it just means I love a lot of stuff she may not be able to coexist with.
My coexisting fears are about to get toyed with because I decided not too run 30 seconds ago. As I look at my girlfriend smiling towards Phyllis all I can think is that if Phyllis knew how I felt she’d have sympathy on me and tell us someone already rented the apartment. I wonder if Phyllis has a husband because maybe he can relate with me, I’d give him the man look and by some form of telepathy he’d understand everything. I wish there was a guy here.
We enter the spacious place and yes it’s nice. As my girlfriend looks around at the walls I immediately make my way to the office and bedroom. It’s been bugging me Jill keeps calling it a two bedroom apartment because she knows I want a office, then I hear Phyllis say:
“Two huge bedrooms.”
No, it’s my office, but I get it and Phyllis doesn’t know. As I look around I can’t help but admit that I like it. However I have to ask myself what I’m doing with myself right now. Since I’m feeling these issues and insecurities in my relationship something is off right? Something can’t be right. Looking at Jill I know I love her, she’s great but why am I so hesitant to move in with her. Am I feeding into the stereotype that men hate commitment? On top of all of this I have to ask myself why am I not able to split up with my girlfriend if I needed too? Or am I?
Jill is gushing about the greatness of where we are, little old Phyllis hands her two applications and the two continue to talk about nonsense, I stand off to the side with a dumb smile on my face. I start to recollect all of the older men who have told me to enjoy my youth. They’ve told me to take advantage of moments in my late teens to early 20’s. I’ve always thought I was but now that I think about it, am I? Should I be aimlessly sleeping around with women and making decisions I am going to regret tomorrow. I think that if it’s about regret than I have that area locked because I have a feeling I may regret some things if I sign that lease.
Phyllis looks to me with a huge smile and tells me it was great to meet me, of course she reminds me it’s a 30 dollar fee to process my application.
We’re heading back to Jill’s place and silence sits on my end, Jill can’t stop gushing, every word she speaks starts to press on my chest like a weigh has fallen on me. I realize I’d feel comfortable moving in with Jill if I didn’t have to sign anything, I’d rather have the option to bail at any moment, but the 3 syllable word rings in my ear…
We’re parking and while I walk to retrieve some material from the trunk I see a dark featured woman walking my way. She is beautiful and my double take has turned to a triple take. Then, since I realize Jill is standing next to me it’s okay if I say hi, because it’s almost as if I’m saying hi from the both of us.
“Hello!” I say.
Her radiating smile gleams back to me, “Hi!” she says.
Oh my God she was beautiful, who is this girl? She’s going to her car and I may want another peek and her. If I wasn’t such a nice guy that may have seemed weird, but Jill knows me better, and I’ll say Hi to a dog if it passes. Thus far I’m in the clear with my pleasantry. Although I generally greet people this was different, I think this girl and I just shared something. Between me closing the trunk, her walking to her car, and Jill talking about the 2 bedroom (office) I think that if this were a fairy tale I may get to know this princess. She was too beautiful not to take a chance. But as I know, this is no fairy tale and she’s about to drive from the apartment.
I start to walk very slowly to the door to let Jill and I in. I mentally map out the girls trajectory and this girl is going to have to drive past. My man mind tells me I am going to shoot her a quick “Good Bye” smile. This is my last attempt for a fairy tale moment, and I want my smile on her mind as she drives.
I approach the door and hold it for Jill, she walks but I hold it a little longer. I’m waiting for the mystery woman to drive, she’s coming around another parked car, my smile is just a few moments away. I become aware that my door holding is feeling a twitch too long. Shit! Please hurry car, Jill looks at me, I act like I can’t get the keys out. This is the longest moment ever. Please hurry car, okay here she comes. My moment is in 3….2…1…and SMILE, little head nod, Keys out, smooth.
It worked, I got the smile back- this was a victory. The car drives away and I turn back around to enter with Jill, and it was that moment my victory has been overshadowed by the bigger picture. That picture being my girlfriend is not stupid. The elevator doors open, we both step in.
I really hope that I’m imagining my girlfriend catching that interaction. She couldn’t have. Her mood has turned to complete quiet, I know she knows but I keep trying to tell myself otherwise. The elevator doors open, we walk down the long hallway to her apartment.
I kind of want her to say something, but I hope she doesn’t, what is she thinking? Please don’t say anything - please don’t say anything - So far so good.
“Why did you hold the door open so long?”
“Ha! What? What? Held the door, what?”
“You just held the door to look at that girl didn’t you?”
“Girl? What girl….Ohhh..Pshhh… Please come on. You’re crazy.”
Well, I think it’s safe to say she knows.
As we enter her apartment it stays like this, but the mood is oddly eerie and I sense that crazy comment didn’t sit too well.
“Why did you smile at her?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You held the door.”
“Babe please, come on.”
As we have this conversation I am pacing around and expressing that I am completely dumbfounded. I know where this is going, and I’m about to enter a very awkward argument. I’m about to lie about checking out a girl, then Jill will talk to me about the apartment and I will lie and tell her I’m excited. I tell myself I’m lying because I’m going to make her feel better but in actuality I’m afraid. I don’t want to deal with the reality of the situation. I don’t think Jill understands any of my frustration and how can she?
“Can we talk for a second.”
“Come sit down.”
Uh oh. I usually can drink water and pace when we have these kinds of conversations, but not this time.
I was waiting for Jill to confront me even more, she was about to blast me and I knew I was going to feel real bad real soon but she said something unexpected. It’s as if God was giving me the thumbs up-
“Josh listen, I know this is difficult for you. I get it, all of this. The apartment stuff is a huge step, and I know you probably feel a little cramped with me. The last thing I want to do is pull us apart, so let’s not let that happen. (I’m staring like a deer in headlights). I know you may want to see other girls or look at them…or whatever, and that’s okay. So just be upfront with me, have some fun but be up front. If you’re feeling claustrophobic, please let me know, but I know you love me. And if you want to have some fun or a thing, that’s fine, we can have some fun.”
“You know, let’s take a moment to think about the apartment, and also let’s have some fun okay.”
“I, ah, I’m a little confused.”
“I love you Josh, okay, you know that. I don’t want us to lie to each other, we’re better than that, and I want to stay together.”
As I drove home I remembered exactly why I loved my girlfriend. She’s so damn great. What the hell is wrong with me? I posses a woman who carries more knowledge than me, she is absolutely right. She understands me with without me saying anything, and she just offered me the opportunity to have a thing with another girl. I don’t know if I can ask for anything better than what I currently have. The apartment was somewhat in the back of my head, but currently I’m too focused on the free pass I seemingly received.
When I entered my apartment complex I immediately ran to Corey’s room. I have a few very close friends living around and Corey has known me the longest and knows how to deal with situations. He is my go to mentor on many occurrences. Not only will he sit and listen for hours he always finds a way to tie it back to his life and then tell me a solution to any quandary. This time I had no quandary, I just wanted to tell him what happened with Jill. I knocked on Corey’s door and as expected he opened in typical inviting fashion.
“I have to talk to you.”
I told him everything: The apartment to the girl, to the look, and then to the reaction, then the completely unexpected reaction. He sat and listened as I spoke a mile a minute. I kept reiterating the fact that she just told me I could have some fun, and I never thought I would be in this position. I just cannot believe it. And as Corey typically does he offers insight, however this time it caught me off guard.
“So she said you guys should be open?”
“And she said WE should have some fun or YOU should have some fun?”
“Well did she mean both of you or just you?”
“Just me…I think.”
“Well why would it be just you?”
Oh my, he’s right. Now I can’t remember. I’m trying to recall the things Jill said to me but I can’t recall a thing. I thought she just meant me, but of course I would think that, I’m selfish. Why would it be just me?
“Corey do you think she meant that she wants to have some fun too?”
“Yeah, actually I do. I think you opened the flood gates with that look to the girl and agreeing to this.”
I felt sick to my stomach I told Corey thanks but actually I meant “Thank you for nothing you asshole.” I proceeded to my room and immediately called my girlfriend.
It’s funny how this works, that express wanting your cake and eating it too has never been so true. I feel it’s okay for me to “have fun” but it’s not okay for my girlfriend, what a moron I am. As I called Jill she told me she was going out with her friends tonight. I asked her if she wanted to hang out but just told me she thought it would be good if we were with friends.
This couldn’t be worse. I only thought that Jill wanted to meet another guy. Before we hung up I told her I loved her about 8 times and that I wanted to talk about what we talked about earlier. She told me we’d talk later, my sick stomach just turned to panic.
I was panic sick alone in my small studio apartment. I had been in their for about 10 minutes but it felt like 3 hours. Maybe Corey was wrong. Corey’s life meter could be wrong this time so I needed a second opinion I needed my friend Alex. Within moments I was knocking on Alex’s apartment.
“Do you want to grab a beer?”
As we walked to a close bar the therapy session continued. The same thing I said to Corey I said to Alex, but this time I was hoping to get a different response. My venting continued up until we ordered our first Beer. We sat down, I took a sip and Alex looked at me and said:
“Sounds like she wants to have some fun too.”
I proceeded to drink my beer faster and pulled out my phone to text my girlfriend. Alex tried to show me the upside to things by acknowledging I still too could have some fun. But at this point I wanted no fun. I just wanted a pure girlfriend. I currently can’t imagine her telling me about some great guy she met that she proceeded to have fun with. And I can’t go crazy about it because I agreed to this and actually enjoyed the idea… When it was about me.
When we finished the second beer I excused myself to the bathroom. Which meant one more call because I didn’t want too look to pathetic in front of my buddy. Jill answered as I was pacing alone in the small bathroom.
“Babe, I miss you do you want to meet up later?”
“I’ll Call you later okay. Josh, please just relax this is all going to be okay.”
“I am relaxed.”
“I just want to be with you and you should have your space, I can smolder you sometimes, I get it.”
“You don’t smolder me.”
“Babe, just enjoy your night stop worrying.”
“I’m not worried.”
“Babe, I love you.”
I could be over reacting but that was no help whatsoever, I spent another 5 minutes just thinking about what she could be doing. In my mind she was riding a mechanical bull while men threw money at her. But she was probably just hanging out with her friends. I need to just relax and remember how this all started. I took a deep breath and decided to tell Alex why I was gone so long. I figured he knew, or he didn’t care but it would give me a open to talk more about this.
As I exited the bathroom time slowed down. The beautiful princess from earlier was standing in the middle of the bar smiling. Her smile was just as great as before, I can’t believe she is in here. Is this destiny? Is something happening here bigger than what I can imagine? A fury of thoughts came into my head. What the hell do I do? Do I talk to her? Is this a test?
I decided I would just say hi, that’s it. I’m still shaken from my girlfriend being out and I don’t want to jinx the situation. Okay so I’d say hi and then a little flirting BUT THAT’S IT. As I got closer her smile was in a odd direction, it was facing where I was sitting.
A few more steps revealed she was talking with Alex. My buddy was making his move on the princess.
“Josh this is Megan, I think she lives by Jill.”
Megan said: “Do I know you?”
“Um, well, I think you actually live in the same complex as my girlfriend Jill.”
It clicked for her “Ohhh, right. Hi nice to meet you. This is my favorite bar, are you guys always here?”
Megan excused herself for a second and as she walked away Alex was glowing with happiness.
“How hot is she!”
Alex didn’t put 2 and 2 together; he was too caught up in her beauty. I didn’t say anything because he’d already listened to me enough. A part of me wishes I made more emphasis on the girl when I was telling Alex about earlier. But I was too caught up in “having fun.”
“Josh this girl seems really cool.”
I watched Megan make her way back over and engage with Alex. I have suddenly become the sidekick to this scenario. I took another large swig of my beer. All I could think is that I would love nothing more than to be with Jill living and laying with her right now in a two-bedroom apartment, having no fun.