Today Jeremy asked me if I would give up on joining the Air Force if he didn’t join the Army. I stuttered. I evaded. Then I told him we would have to talk about that later. He said he only asked me because he knew I would say no. Thing is, it kind of felt like a test.
I don’t want him to go. With more feeling than I could say, I don’t want him to go. He is my best guy friend. He is my several days a week. He is what I look forward to and what I worry about at the same time. And I love him. Of course I don’t want him to go. And I’ve told him that. But I don’t want to ask him not to go. If that’s what makes him happy, that is what I want for him. Because, despite how terribly I would miss my friend, it would be worse to see his dreams unfulfilled. It would be worse to see him unhappy. I just wish he would find something that would make him happy right here near me. Where I can still see him all the time. I don’t want him to go.
And then how hypocritical of me is it to say that I won’t promise not to go? It may not matter to him. I may care more for him than he does for me. He was probably just picking at me, but now I’m thinking about it, which means I want to write about it.
So many relationships I have seen come and go. Things I thought would never end, could never even be questioned, fell like sand through my fingers. Like holding onto ice. And now I fear to care too much, because how could this friendship last? How long will the threads hold?
Soon enough, one of us is going to start dating someone. In all likelihood, that would probably be him. And then that means that one of us is going to have someone else claiming our free time. Much more of it. And the person dating a person will want that, of course. But that means we won’t spend several days a week together. And slowly, we won’t be the kind of friends we are now. We couldn’t be, I think, not forever.
And I shouldn’t worry about that time to come. It doesn’t matter yet. Not today. I can only hold onto and appreciate the days and hours and minutes we have now. That is all we ever have anyway. It doesn’t matter today.
He already made fun of me for wanting things I can’t have. And that hurt. More than I let my face show anyway. It made me want to put up guards and walls and protect my heart in ways I didn’t know I had to do. Because I was trying not to want anything. I didn’t expect or hope for anything more from him than he already gives. I’m not stupid. I’m not blind. I know what isn’t mine to have. And I don’t want what isn’t freely given anyway.
So if I say, “Jeremy, I would give up on the Air Force if you would stay out of the Army,” two things happen: first, I put myself into that position where one day he leaves me anyway. Not for some army base. Not physically. But he just wouldn’t be there anymore. Not like he is now. I’m selfish and one day there will be so much less of his time for me. For whatever reason it may be. Then he won’t be that chunk of my life anymore. And then I wouldn’t be going to the Air Force. That would suck. Or even, conversely, I might meet someone. And I’m going to want to give him all kinds of time and attention. (And he’ll like it, damn it!) And, again, I wouldn’t be spending so much time with Jeremy. And then he is not in the Army because we made a deal? I don’t want that responsibility. Not for my friend.
And second, it would give him a new power over me. What does it mean to say to a person, “I give up my future dreams for you?” That says more than, “You are my friend and I love you.” Or even, “I have feelings for you.” That’s like, “You are more important than my dreams.” And I can’t say that at all. I’ve already said too much. It was hard enough to say what I’ve already said.
I can’t say those words, even in jest, to someone who hasn’t offered me the hope of an alternative future.
And this is all stuff a person can’t say in the middle of Chipotle over slowing warming Diet Coke/Pibb Extra. Not when he is grinning like a joke and I’m feeling serious.
It doesn’t matter anyway though. I have to lose 46 more pounds and that’s going to take much longer than I would like. Much, much longer by the way things are going. 6 months? And who knows what that will bring? All kinds of futures lay out there at the ends of all my decisions. Like so many tree branches with endless, endless leaves.
One day, there will be a person that replaces the “my” in “my future” with “our.” Then, and only then, should I start changing my goals and ambitions for another person. We would be a team then, making concessions for one another. Honestly, there are probably many concessions I would make WITH (and not just FOR) my Person.
For the Person that says, “Yes, I like you too.” For the Person that wants to claim my free time and personal space. For the Person that learns to love me. That slowly relinquishes and claims ownership until I am his and he is mine. For the Person who decides that he enjoys my company most of out everyone else he knows. And he wouldn’t call me his whole world, or his other half, or someone he cannot live without. No, he would say that he is healthy whole and happy all by himself, but it will make him infinitely happier if I would be his partner for the rest of the journey. Until we both turn into wrinkled up old versions of ourselves. Until the color fades from our hair and skin and voice and all we have left is memory and a will to wake up another day. For that Person, I would change my future goals.
But I am just a young woman with romantic dreams. Waiting for a man whose name and face and voice are foreign to me. For out of all those teenage “crushes” and now the adult “feelings”, I have never once known what it feels like to be wanted in return. To be reciprocated. I imagine it’s a heady feeling.
I’ll let you know when I find out.
For now, I’m going to work on joining the Air Force as best I can. Because I sure love my friend Jeremy, but he wasn’t really asking me to give it up anyway. And I’m sure he didn’t want to hear all of this either.
One would think, after all this practice, I would have learned patience. I’ve been busy learning other lessons, I suppose.