I have few truly unrequited romances. Probably because I offered myself up for sex pretty regularly, and not that many men will reject that offer from a woman.
There are even fewer unrequited romances where I’m still in touch with the object of my attention. One is now a movie producer in a faraway place, and we are friends on Facebook. The other lives in my city, although he didn’t for a while. And it’s his story I am going to tell.
Let’s call him Greg.
We met when I was in my mid-teens; he was 8 years older. I was dating a musician at the start of his career (#5 of The Men I’ve Slept With), and they were often the opening act for Greg’s comedy troupe.
I liked Greg from the very start. He was older, charismatic, and incredibly talented. He could capture and keep an audience like few performers I’ve seen.
I dated that boyfriend for 18 months and during that time, we spent time off-and-on with Greg. I admired him from afar but knew nothing would come of it. After I broke up with my boyfriend, I would continue to go see Greg’s shows when they performed in my city.
He was always very attentive and happy when I showed up. We would talk and occasionally go out afterward with his troupe mates. He was nice to the friends I would bring along.
At some point, we started going out together – and by going out, here’s what I mean: I would see him at a show and we would say it would be great to see each other. I would call him and wait until he called me back (this was not a time of mobile phones, let alone texting). We would do stuff together – lunches, movies, shows. But generally, I was the one that pursued him.
My gut told me he liked me. But there was never any physical contact. I would follow up with him after a date and sometimes wouldn’t hear back. Or he’d be touring and it would be a while between “dates”. I was very confused, and there are many journal entries that speak to my confusion.
I couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on. I knew he liked me. But he didn’t pursue me at all. After a time, I came to the conclusion that he had a girlfriend. But he never mentioned one.
I was resigned to the fact that a relationship with Greg was never going to happen. When I was away for University, I would see him over the holidays when his troupe performed. One time, I was introduced to his Girlfriend, from Scotland no less, and it all made sense to me.
Here’s the thing. I was never sure he was a great match for me – but when you can’t have something, you want it even more.
My final year of University, he came to do a show in that city. Here is my journal entry from that day:
… But that’s not the strange part of my weekend. Sunday I studied all day, then went to show with Jerome [one of my roommates] at night. I called Greg and left him a message for him with the box office. I hadn’t seen him in 18 months – I missed their Hogmanay show in December, so I had not seen him since the show the year before, when I met his girlfriend from Scotland. I was somewhat nervous about seeing him, only because I was never really sure about how he felt.
It all turned out great. Greg was genuinely happy to see me, and he asked me if I wanted to go for a beer. We met at the local bar and he bought a pitcher. He kept telling me how great he thought I looked – and was asking me how I was doing etc. etc. He had to go back home at midnight, but we ended up talking until then at the bar, so he phoned to make sure he could be later.
Since he had to pack his things, we went back to his hotel room so we could continue to talk. He kept saying he wished he did not have to go. They were returning home overnight then leaving for Scotland for two months.
So I’m sitting on the edge of his bed watching him pack, and he sits down next to me. I was contemplating telling him how much I always liked him, and all I got out was “you know I always” and he leans forward and KISSES ME. If I had heard about it I would have fallen out of my chair. We kissed for a while, and he says “you know, I’ve always wanted to do that”.
It’s exactly what I was thinking, and I told him. He said he thinks I’m so intelligent and so beautiful and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see me (and I assume, kiss me). Wow.
I wanted to know if the time we were seeing (?) each other, however long ago it was, whether he actually had a girlfriend and if that was the reason that nothing ever happened with us. All I got out was “Did you have…” and he answered me. He said yes, he did have a girlfriend in Scotland, and that was why nothing happened, but he always wanted to.
He said she was moving to where he lived, but things were not going well at all. Whether that meant they had broken up I wasn’t sure, but he kissed me again!
He expressed great dismay that he had to leave, and that he never seemed to have time to see me. He told me again how fantastic he thought I was, and that he was sorry he was going away, and he didn’t just fool around with people, and that if something better came along I shouldn’t wait for him. I was too stunned to really say much of anything!
He took my address and told me he would write to me. Then I went downstairs to see him off, we kissed goodbye, and he was gone.
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.
Turns out, history repeats itself.