Ten years ago, I was a senior in college just about to graduate. To celebrate, I went out with some of my best friends and my friend Jake, who had brought along his friend Mark.
We all spent the night dancing like crazy to hits of the 80ʼs, drinking and having a great time. Mark and I started dancing with each other and, as the night went on, he kissed me on the dance floor.
I was finally one half of a couple at middle school dances that makes out like crazy on the dance floor in front of everyone not giving a fuck – except please remember I was a senior in college, like of legal drinking age.
I had never met Mark before, but I knew that he and Jake had been friends for a long time. If he had Jake’s approval, then I knew he was a good guy. Also, he super cute, so, yes please.
Ok, so I did know one thing about Mark; I knew he had recently broken up with someone. That was fine with me, as I was leaving town soon anyway. I was going to use Mark. Not in a mean way. It’s just, come on, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get some real dates under my belt before I headed into the real world.
As the night wound down, Jake drove us home as Mark sat next to me in the back seat holding my hand.
Ever since that moment in “My So Called Life,” when Jordan takes Angela by the hand in the hallway, in front of all of his friends, declaring their relationship; holding someone’s hand is all I’ve ever wanted.
As we got to the bottom of my street, I told Jake that it was OK for him to drop me off there. I kissed Mark on the cheek, got out of the car, and began to walk up the steep hill to my apartment. It was almost 4:00am, the moon was setting, and the sun was just starting to rise. The street and sidewalks were wet from the rain earlier in the night. The streetlights, still on, were making things very romantic.
It was like a fucking movie, yʼall.
I remember telling myself, “Don’t look back; you’ll look so much cooler if you don’t look back.” So I strutted up the hill, which I’m sure looked much more like stumbling. But, after a moment, I just couldn’t help myself. I looked back. I turned my head just enough over my shoulder to look adorable and alluring. They were still there. I turned and I kept walking.
I never heard from Mark. Ugh. So much for my brilliant master plan to use him as a dating test tube!
Soon after that magical night, Jake casually mentioned soon that Mark was getting back together with his girlfriend.
Great. Good for them. A few weeks later I was gone.
Cut to ten years later, the present. Jake and I have remained close over the years. He comes out to Los Angeles for work every month; we hangout and get crazy. About six months ago during one of his visits, he told me his friend Mark – YES THAT FRIEND MARK – is living here now with his girlfriend. Would I want to hang out with them? UM. YES. I was ten years older, wiser, more mature, and definitely infinitely more awesome.
Because Mark’s girlfriend wasn’t around, just the three of us went to dinner. It was fun to see Mark again. He looked the same: slightly bearded, glasses and tattoos. Sigh. He was still cute.
So now, whenever Jake is in town, the three of us usually all hang out, grab beers, and have a fun night.
This past weekend was one of those weekends.
I met Jake and Mark at a bar near my house, after I had already been out with a few friends. The three of us hung out for a bit, doing shots and all the other mature things that thirty-something’s do. I brought up the idea of heading to another bar, the kind of place where the lady bartenders yell at you, and you have to pay a dollar to sing karaoke.
That night as Jake sang, Mark and I talked. He said that this was the best night that he had in a long time. The bar reminded him of New York, and this was the first time he found a little piece of NY in LA.
All of the sudden Mark says, “…that time we made out ten years ago.” Honestly, I have no idea what else he said because my ears were ringing with that last part.
“WHAT! You remember that?”
“Yeah,” I said, trying to be cool. “That was a good make out.”
Last call seems to come early and we leave the bar. Jake begins to throw a drunken fit about the bar closing and Mark and I watch. Suddenly, I feel a hand on the small of my back. HUH?! Then, before I can process the small of my back business, that same hand is gently trying to wriggle its fingers into mine.
WHAT THE FUCK?!
So before I can really understand what is happening to me, we all start walking to 7-11 in a futile attempt to get more beers with Mark and I holding hands like this isn’t the weirdest thing ever. Jake turned and said “Are you two holding hands!?”
“What! No!” We said in unison and quickly dropped hands.
As Jake continued his search for alcohol, Mark and I quickly turned a corner. He walked over to me and grabbed my hands. Our fingers dancing together felt so soft, but I felt self conscious that my hands were dry and rough.
Then, almost exactly ten years later, we were kissing again. It felt like middle school all over again, but let me remind you – WE ARE IN OUR 30’s.
Jake pulls up in a Lyft, and screams out of the window, “What are you doing?!”
I, for one, had no idea what we were doing. I knew that he still had a girlfriend, although he never mentioned her name. But still, we rode with Jake to his hotel to raid the mini bar. Every time Jake would turn or go into the bathroom, Mark and I would start kissing on the couch. Finally, succumbing to the beers and whiskey shots, we fell asleep next to each other.
I woke up around 6:00 the next morning, pushed Mark off of me to get to the bathroom. When I came back, we began to make out again. HOW WAS THIS HAPPENING?! What sort of weird wormhole had I entered where I was Angela Chase and Mark was Jordan Catalano?
But before I could fall too deep into my fantasy, Mark finally said, “I shouldn’t do this.”
Of course he shouldn’t.
Iʼm not sitting here wishing that he would break up with his girlfriend and call me. No. No thank you.
But wouldn’t it be nice if he had thought about me that night 10 years ago with the same affection that I did? And, now I know that he does, or did rather, it feels like closure. His hands, not his kiss, told me that.
Rebecca Edwards is a writer and improviser. She has trained at The Improv Asylum, Second City Chicago, iO Chicago and The Nerdist. She loves dogs, drinks and napping. She is also probably in love with you. Follow her @BecsBecRebec.
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