The wedding was some distance away, but when I got the invitation old memories came back and I decided to take the opportunity to see Kelly again. So I found myself at a wedding where I knew only Kelly's family on the bride's side, but then to my surprise, I realized the groom was someone I knew!
Geoff, the groom, was someone I knew in college. Specifically, I met him when I worked one summer in the dining hall. I was assigned the job of dish washing-- helping to run the dish washer and washing the pots and pans. When the supervisor showed me the room, there was Geoff. During the regular school year there would have been more people, but the dining hall ran on a reduced staff during the summer.
Well, my freshman year I was pretty successful attracting guys and for most of the year I was going with one of the most popular guys in the school. Jay was an upperclassman and a star athlete. I admit I thought I was really hot stuff, but I was serious about that relationship, and wanted it to continue despite the fact that Jay was away for the summer.
Well, the first day Geoff and I were working together I managed to mention my boyfriend at least three times, just to let him know that I wasn't really looking for any moves from him and that he had no chance with me-- and also because I was nervous about working all the summer with one guy.
Well, Geoff was really easy-going about it that first day and I thought I caught some amusement in his face as well. But over the summer we had plenty of time to talk and soon I was finding Geoff easier to talk to than my boyfriend--in fact, easier to talk to than anyone I could remember. We managed to talk about a million different things.
As we worked, I watched Geoff and the people he knew. He seemed to know everybody in the school: all the faculty seemed to know him, and lots of guys seemed to come to him with questions. A lot of girls would come by to talk to him too, often dropping hints. He was friendly with them and seemed to share a friendly intimacy with a lot of girls, but never did I see any hint that he was going out with any of them. He always seemed to have time to talk to everyone, and eventually I realized that he never avoided anyone, no matter how unpopular.
Well, the summer was one of the friendliest times I ever had, talking with Geoff every day, but it was also one of the loneliest. With no dates at all I tended to have dull evenings.
Soon my fear that Geoff might ask me out grew stronger because I was afraid I would say yes. But he never did- -he never even dropped a hint. I began to wonder about it because he seemed to like me and he always seemed glad to see me. Usually when I meet some guy I can sense their attraction to me, but Geoff was always very friendly without a hint on anything more.
I remember a couple of Fridays when I was wishing and wishing he would ask me out, and I even remember trying to drop some really subtle hints. But he never seemed to notice them.
Well, when Fall semester started, I got two shocks. First, Jay seemed distant, and after a couple of weeks he was dating a freshman--naturally the prettiest one of the crop. The other shock was that I discovered that Geoff had transferred. I couldn't believe it--we had talked so many times and he had never dropped a hint about it. I certainly had no claim on him, but I was in a daze for months after that.
Well, here I was at the wedding, seeing Geoff again for the first time in nine years on his wedding day. I didn't realize it was him until I saw him standing at the front of the church! I admit my mind went into overdrive. I had thought of Geoff once in a while over the years, thinking about what might have been, but seeing him again made me realize immediately that since that summer I had been unconsciously comparing every man I ever dated with Geoff. I had gone with one guy for a couple of years, but other than that I had had no lasting relationships.
Suddenly I felt pitiful. Here I was, throwing my life away on a guy who had found love with a great woman, and who never gave me a thought. And it was all my fault -- he certainly had never done anything to lead me on. I felt a sudden stab of jealousy because I knew that Kelly and Geoff had been living together for quite a while, but that led to guilt feelings for having such thoughts about Kelly's husband -- on her wedding day, too.
Well, the wedding finished, and as I left the church, I grew more nervous as I approached the bride and groom. I wondered what he would think of me--and I wondered if he would remember me. Well, Kelly introduced me to him and at the mention of my name, I saw a fleeting startled look on his face. Then he told Kelly he already knew me and that we had been best of friends for a summer. He did it so smoothly I lost my panicky feeling. He took my hands and leaned over and hugged me.
I couldn't believe I was finally touching him, and in this situation! I knew I should kiss his cheek, but I was in a daze I just backed away, not taking my eyes off of him. He was still pleasant, acting the groom, talking to the next person in the receiving line. I walked away with every word he had spoken ringing in my head.
I went to the reception which was at the hotel where I was staying wondering what this evening was going to be like for me. I sat at a table with complete strangers. They were friendly enough, but I wasn't much to talk to. Dancing started with the traditional dance between the bride and groom and in a little while Geoff came over and asked me to dance.
He asked me how I was doing and about high school with Kelly and told me briefly what he had been up to. He was very friendly, and seemed really glad to see me. After that, I was still in a daze and I finally slipped out long before the reception was over.
I went off to my room, tried to read for a while, then ended up just laying awake in the dark. I thought and thought about missed opportunities, of about my snotty attitude in dropping my boyfriend's name the day we met, about my own temptation to drop him more hints, about my double-dealing boyfriend, about my years of thinking of Geoff off and on, and about the times he had come to my mind when I lay in bed rubbing myself. And I was no more than one of his many friends, though perhaps his best friend for one summer.
Finally, I had to do something -- I got up, put on my robe, and slipped out of my room to head for the vending machines. But as soon as I was out of my room, I found myself face-to-face with Geoff! He was apparently walking towards the vending machines or the ice machine too. I froze in the doorway. He didn't say a word, but I watched his face, and it lit up as if I were the only person in his life! He walked up to me, leaned against the wall, looked down at me and said "We should have had a better chance to see how well a relationship would work".
I felt a lump in my throat and my stomach felt like it was turning inside out. He HAD been thinking of me. We might have had a chance, but I had ruined it. "Why did you transfer?" I blurted out. I immediately wished I hadn't said it. I didn't want this to go on.
He said, "I couldn't stand the idea of seeing you with your boyfriend."
I felt tears welling in my eyes. Suddenly I was conscious of the door open behind me to my hotel room. "Well, it is no time for a relationship, but we CAN have one kiss," he said. He took me in his arms and kissed me. And I pulled him so close and crushed my lips against his.
It was like a dream. I kept clutching him and pulled my body against his and I never could have wanted a man so much as that moment. We kissed and kissed and finally I felt him draw away. He still held me in his arms. He looked at me and I could see tenderness and concern. I realized I could take his hand and just draw him into the room behind me -- I didn't know what would come of it, and I didn't know if I cared.
But I did care. I finally managed a faint smile though my eyes burned with tears. He seemed to read me like a book and he drew away, quickly brushed my forehead with his lips, turned and walked away. I immediately backed in, and shut the door, standing in thought. Then I went back to bed, got under the covers, and fingered myself as I imagined what might have been.