S is taking me for a meal at my favourite pub this evening. We plan to get a bottle (or two) of red wine, sit near the open fire and talk rubbish all night. I briefly toyed with the idea of calling my old manager to see if he wanted to meet for a pint beforehand, but decided against it. I feel guilty, but I’m finding it hard to maintain the now internet-only friendship.
I’ve written briefly about P. He was the manager at the bookshop I worked in. He’s tall, gangly, geeky and ginger, with an addiction to coffee and amphetamines. At the age of 44, he still lived with his mother, was best friends with his cat and spent his life sorting books and getting drunk on Shiraz and Baileys. We hit it off straight away; our mutual love of Terry Pratchett and computer games pretty much sealing the deal. Now, let me state that I am a naturally flirty person; I can’t help it. I flirt with everyone but I’m totally unaware of it. So I don’t blame P for perhaps thinking I was interested in him. I made no obvious signs, but I did spend time chatting with him and going for pints, so I think he took my friendliness the wrong way. I was totally oblivious, but according to my co-workers, he’d been in love with me for months. Not just a crush, but totally in love with me.
I didn’t see it, at all. I suppose it never entered my head that he might have feelings for me; we were best friends, that’s all. I liked him, but not in that way.
When I got together with J, it all came out. He hardly spoke to me. We’d been very close friends for over a year, yet he just distanced himself totally. Still, we maintained a friendship of sorts. When I got with S, he went crazy. Deactivated his Facebook account, sent me flowers with a note attached saying I’d always have a piece of his heart, and disappeared off the face of the planet for months.
I was gutted. He’d been a really good friend, and I couldn’t help but think it childish to go on a strop just because I’ve met somebody. I never returned his feelings.
I miss him terribly, but it’s so awkward to know somebody has feelings for you which you don’t reciprocate. I’d love to be able to call P, tell him to meet me for a drink, and be able to share my happiness about my relationship with S… but I can’t.
I’ve never managed to have a real platonic relationship. Usually, the man has feelings for me; and I really don’t understand it. When I was younger, I used to wish men would fall in love with me.
Be careful what you wish for.