I knew with him leaving in two days, it was a now or never situation.
It was a weird sort of Saturday night when I met Damien—I was hungover but drunk again, and I’d just settled my bill at the bar when a friend I’d run into convinced me to stay for “just one more.” Damien was sitting near to us with his incredibly obnoxious friends, and one of them engaged me in a weird conversation about how he was purposefully trolling women on Tinder with weird notes about how he was already wearing a condom. I assumed from this interaction that Damien was an absurd, cunty hipster too, and the air of nonchalance he threw about coupled with his gorgeous, Matt Damon doppelganger looks gave me pause to judge him immediately.
His weird friends, drunk or high or just being dicks, became distracted, and left him sitting alone, so I awkwardly asked if he wanted to join our conversation. I’d already decided he was too stand offish and goodlooking to be interested in me, but as we softened into conversation, it turned out he was well spoken, hyper intelligent, and quite funny. It also turned out that his “friends” were actually friends of friends—people he’d just met–which was a huge relief. He was also from out of town and just visiting for the weekend.
We spent the next few hours immersed in conversation, and as 1 am rolled around, his “friends” declared it time to go out dancing and get more wasted. “I think this old bag of bones should call it a night,” I said to him, and he looked down at me with unmasked disappointment. “But I’d like to keep hanging out,” I quickly qualified my initial statement.
“Me too,” he said, smiling warmly, and we exchanged one of those awkward look-down-look-at-each-other-look-down-again moments with sheepish smiles. “Well,” I said, “I don’t want this to sound weird, but I live around the corner and we could go back and hang out at mine, my roommate’s away for the weekend.” I knew with him leaving in two days, it was a now or never situation. At that moment, it wasn’t even about sex—I just wanted to keep talking to this mysterious stranger.
And talk we did, almost until the sun came up. We sat on my bed, no touching, and talked about everything—our childhoods, TV shows, our fears—some things that I haven’t even talked about with my closest friends. We were instantly comfortable in each other’s company, and with the beautiful intimacy of strangers, we let ourselves wander off on personal tangents that aren’t always possible with the loaded expectations of familiarity. It was a sort of therapy, as I allowed myself to indulge in frivolous and long ago compartmentalized issues I’d all but forgotten about. I re-opened all my wounds, shamelessly and gratuitously, and mistook catharsis for connection.
“When I was in high school,” I told him, “the boys in my year wrote “ugly” across my locker. Sometimes I still feel like I’m that insecure, socially awkward teenager.”
He looked at me blankly for a moment and responded, “I used to be fat.”
Eventually we were too tired to talk anymore, and as the sun came up I suggested he stay the night, that he could sleep on the couch if that made him feel more comfortable. But he slept in my bed, and the moment our bodies were side by side he kissed me, and I kissed him back. We spent the next 48 hours in much the same way–in bed, talking nonsense about all the things in life that I’m normally too preoccupied or practical to wallow in. When we parted ways, we both felt like a true and naked relationship had been formed. But the thing was, aside from our candid outpourings, we had nothing in common.
We reconnected only two weeks later, and having exhausted every nerve-touching topic already, and having reverted to our everyday, regular selves, it was like meeting up with a stranger. I realized, aside from having handed me his bulging baggage, I really knew nothing about this person. Moreover, from what I did know, I had no interest in learning anything more. We were about as incompatible as it gets—his lethargic nihilism coupled with my over-enthusiastic pep caused an awkward friction that instilled an unspoken resentment between us.
I’d try to rekindle the conversation, telling stories from my past; “Once, travelling with my ex boyfriend, I had to sleep in a train station in the middle of nowhere, on the border of Romania and Bulgaria.”
He’d contemplate me with a raised eyebrow and respond, “That story seems a bit far fetched if you ask me.”
We’ve since cut off all communication with one another, and when I look back, I wish I had have seen the union for what it was–a 48-hour relationship. I believe that when you know, you know. Hell, the longest, most successful relationship I’ve ever had was the product of a 3-week tryst. But in this case, I didn’t know. Desperate for intimacy, I misplaced my need to purge and filled it with a hyper-real romance that didn’t have a leg to stand on. From the start, neither of us was really there for there other–it was a selfish mirroring in which we each allowed the other the liberty of psychoanalyzing ourselves. And I ignored the fact that I didn’t actually like anything about this other person because I liked the fact that he allowed me to talk so much.
There’s beauty in the momentary. The trick is knowing how to discern a true feeling of love blooming from the transience of a bout of selfish passion.
Kat Georgé is the author of Pink Bits.