And in this moment, I need to be needed
When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear,
I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved
I love to be loved
Oh I love to be loved
A Long Time Ago.
His mother answers the phone. "Hello, may I please speak to L?"
"Certainly -- may I ask who's calling?"
"This is Aaron."
A pause, then L -- "Aaron, what do you want?"
I don't hesitate, saying the words I've long practiced. "I want to tell you I'm sorry for what I did."
"Sorry? After what you did? How could you? M and I are engaged, and that didn't stop you."
He's right, they're engaged, and there's no excuse. In many ways I am appalled at what I did. But. Even though I hurt him, I have no regrets -- how can something so wrong make me feel so much better?
I let him rant at me, saying nothing in my defense. Yes it takes two to tango, and yes M's the one who's engaged, not me. She was free to say no at any point. But I say nothing, because I value her friendship too much, and as long as she felt compelled to tell L, I need to apologize, unconditionally, else risk losing her friendship. He will heal, they will heal, and they will even invite me to their wedding in a couple of years.
Four years earlier.
I am alone, and I know almost no one in this town. I've been here five days, and my roommate, a fellow law school student, is kicking me out of the condo she owns. I am at the bottom, and I call M. It feels good to talk to her, we could always talk about anything, and she has the ability to make me feel better. I was going to ask her out in college, but I was so shy. After the summer, I told myself, but when I returned to school after the summer, she had already started dating L. And now, in my state of despair, she says what I've always thought.
"If I hadn't gotten together with L, I don't see how we wouldn't have ended up together."
Even as I seethe inside at my earlier inaction, she lifts my spirits. It feels so wonderful to know someone would want me.
Shortly before A Long Time Ago.
I am still not over my ex, even though she left me months ago. I feel that I am unwanted, that no one will ever want me again.
When I see my ex again, after I've moved to DC, I still want to try again, even though I know it won't happen. I ask her what she ever saw in me, to want to be with me in the first place. She offers no salve, unable to come up with a single positive trait.
Even then, I can't let go of her presence, and when I foolishly ask if she wants to come to the group beach house, she even more foolishly says yes. She is uncomfortable for the three days she is there. Even though I give her space, and am on my best behavior, she acts like a bitch, a defense mechanism after I'd expressed my continuing interest. She recognizes what she's doing, and is unsurprised when I ask to see her alone outside on a deck.
"What?" she asked, her arms crossed between us in a posture of hostility, defiance, anger, rejection.
"It's M's and Y's birthday this week, and I was wondering if you'd be able to bake a cake for them?"
My unwillingness to confront her threw her for a loop, but still she had won. Her behavior, regrettable as it was, had already worked its magic on me, and I was over her.
Ex leaves, M is still there, and when we drive to the bowling alley she muses on the past, asking if I remember what she'd told me four years ago. I assured her that I hadn't forgotten.
Later that night, as the two of us take a walk on the beach, I move to kiss her. She resists at first, but does in fact reciprocate, and the barrier between friends and more is broken. Though we don't have sex, I cannot help but recognize that I am still desirable. Once again M has lifted my spirits, though this time in a way she never has before.
The week at the beach house goes by, and after it ends, M stays at my place for one last night, before going back home in the morning. Cuddling under the blanket watching the movie, we move to fondling and groping. There are no words, both of us knowing that to speak would mean we would think, and if we stopped to think, it would break the moment. I am passive like I have never been before, letting her take complete command, afraid to go any further than she would take us. We go further and further, but before consummation she speaks, "No, I can't do this," and the spell is broken. I make no effort to go any further, slipping back into friend mode, even with clothes absent from where they belong.