Last night was a friend's 29th birthday, and a bunch of us got together at Thirsty Dog to celebrate. It was a great time, full of my two favorite Baltimore treats - Blueberry Beer and Hearts Afire Palm Salad - and good friends. We sat at the Dog from around 6:30 until 10, when we went to another bar on the Cross street corridor. I think every other bar on the Cross street corridor is pretty horrible at 10 or 11 on a Friday night, so the night ended quickly after we made our way to the Federal Hill Lounge (which was even red on the inside, as if to exacerbate the feeling that I was in hell). We left before 11, as soon as I felt sober enough to drive, and made our way home.
My memories of last night are mostly good, but I'm still feeling a touch of melancholy today. The girl who for years I have given the pseudonym Renee came out with us. For me, she is the one who got away. And last night, I realized just how far she's gotten away. She broke the news last night that she's moving to the Twin Cities in Minnesota with her boyfriend, with whom she's been together for just over a year. And who is a massive tool.
I came across an e-mail she wrote me in the spring of 2002. At the time, it was shortly after I moved to Baltimore, and I was craving friends, and saw the e-mail simply as friendly. Now, what I read into it is a definite flirtation. In fact, much of my early times with her were misconstrued by me. Then, on June 20, 2002, she hooked up with a friend of mine after the three of us were out together. I know this date because I just read the old entry about it. And it pissed me off, and I used it as a constant excuse in my mind of why we never ended up together. However, the excuse was just that - an excuse. One drunken hookup with a friend who is now married to someone else should not be a dealbreaker. I made it so, in my head.
I also had my mind and heart wrapped around this other girl at this point, the one in Michigan who was going to move down here with me. The one who then decided to begin seeing someone else without telling me. She's now married too, by the way, to that very guy. So I guess things worked out for her.
Back to Renee - we have a great deal in common, and she seems to get more attractive every year. When I first met her, the word I would use to describe her is mousy. Not anymore. She's gained confidence in the last four or five years. She wears sexy, classy clothes. She smiles more. She looks really good. And she's easy to talk with. She loves baseball and the Tigers. She loves independent music and movies. She's smart. I mean, I'm not sure what I was waiting for. I'm ready now, but she's gone.
She's not a new "one who got away." At work, my colleagues have joked for a while with me that she's the one I should be with, and we've been waiting for her and this guy to be through. But, alas, it doesn't look like it's going to happen. And I'm kicking myself a little harder than usual right now.
I've long thought that people have a tremendous amount of others that they could be compatible with, and it's all about timing. Making sure you're in the right place in your life when you meet one of those right people is the challenge. I've felt for a while that this is more of a challenge to me than other people. Others seem to be able to drop one person and move onto another, as if their life depended on being in a couple. Take my college roommate, Jake, for example. I've never known him to be single. He was single for most of his freshmen year of college, but in the ten years since then, he's been with two different women, with hardly a break in between. Not me. I'm unable to play a lot of the games required for coupledom. Therefore, it's important that I don't let what I could have had with Renee - a natural extension to relationship from a healthy friendship - pass me by. I've got to do better with making those windows of opportunities a little wider for myself.
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