She dances like an idiot at clubs. She does not care how stupid she looks. Her short, boy haircut bangs fall into her eyes as she wiggles her hips, pretending to apply compact makeup first to herself, then to her girlfriend in rhythm to a dance remix of Cold Play's Viva La Vida. This dance is a product of her own.
She works at an upper-middle class grocery store, where she is often approached by boys.
"Would you like to go out some time," a twenty-something stallion wagers one day.
"I have a boyfriend," she says.
"I have a wife."
wtf, she writes on facebook later, you having a wife does not help your chances.
She is not the type of girl who sees married men as forbidden fruit. You are beginning to see why she is so cool.
She does not know how pretty she is. Her boy haircut bangs, she does not know how much they affect you when they obscure her face. She does not know that her dark, unblemished complexion gives the impression that she would taste like caramel and honey. I am a little creepy, I realize. This is the point.
She is a tomboy. She likes to do stuff. She is stuck with a bunch of girlfriends in a suburban dump. All they want to do is talk. Guys are not typically like that.
It is easy for her to meet guys. She's in school, studying to apply for a dental program. She's smart, too, did I mention that? And her teeth are perfect. Incredible smile. I can see her being a dentist without having to try very hard. I would love for her to be my dentist. I was saying it is easy for her to meet guys. Guys always want to talk to her. She has a charming way of talking.
"Where did you learn to talk?" I ask her. We are eating dinner at a Korean bulgogi buffet. Did I mention she loves trying all kinds of exotic food? There are four guys in our party. One of us is dating her. The rest of us would love to have the same opportunity. I know I would travel all over the world with her, tasting every different culture we found.
She mentions growing up in South Carolina. She mentions having a guy best friend at the time. She doesn't mention that he was in love with her, but this is something that does not require very much of a stretch in imagination.
A few years ago: when we first met, we were looking for things to do.
"Do you play tennis?" she asks me. "I've been looking for a partner. Sometimes I don't like playing with the Asians. Too much drama."
I am, in fact, Asian. But because I don't have a life, I have no drama.
"Yeah," I say. "I play all the time."
I went out and bought a racket from WalMart later that day. She beat me. I have been told this is what you are supposed to let happen when you do stuff like this with a girl. I do not feel that I had much of a say in the matter.
She likes me. I am harmless. I am smart enough to hold a conversation. I say entertaining things. My biggest selling point, though, is that you don't have to feel like you have to watch your back around me. She confides in me. There are late-night texts as she falls asleep in bed, and good-morning texts when she wakes up.
When I confess my feelings to her, she does something that I will respect about her forever, and what she does makes me realize something that makes me feel regret to this day: she stops talking to me. She was not interested in the things that I could or would do for her. She was not interested in my attention. She just thought she'd found a friend. I was too busy looking for signals and playing the dating game to understand this.
The girl can get a boyfriend any time she wants. She doesn't have to give signals or play games. She wanted to be able to hang out with someone without having to worry about any of that.
Later: when she is under the impression I'm no longer in love with her, she tells me, "Sorry I've been shady. I just didn't want to send the wrong message. It's ok, you don't have to apologize. It's as much my fault as it is yours." It kills me that she felt she had to apologize for having a kind heart.
Recently, a sad story: a mutual friend of ours mentions, casually, her love for me. "He's a good guy. I love him." Our pretty girl (both girls are pretty) cautions her about using "love" in any context.
"It's a big deal," she says. "I just think it's a bigger deal than you're treating it to be. You have to be careful with that."
Perhaps an over-reaction, but she is speaking from experience. Boy after boy has misread her intentions. She's still kind, and still friendly, but now her actions must be guarded to protect the hearts of others. I said that she can get a boyfriend any time she wants. Cute guys try to hit on her. Cool guys just want to court her. Non-threatening nice guys email to her unwanted feelings at 4am. Everyone wants to be with her. No one can handle just hanging out with her. The boys pursue her, again and again - they just have to go for it, man. They don't want to regret not doing anything. It's better to confess your feelings and be let down than to keep them a secret and never know what could have been. We live in a world where a guy can never see a pretty girl without loving her a little.
One memory I have of her: late at night, she is standing alone out on her friend's driveway, reading a note from her ex-boyfriend. Attached is a mix cd. I didn't read the note, but I can guess what it says. I made a mistake. I can't just be friends.
Boy after boy, you see her faith in friendships dying a little more.