This weekend, for a brief second, there was the possibility of a boy.
Mark that. A boy.
It was a Thursday and in college, no one makes any good decisions on a Thursday. There were drinks and a kiss, more drinks on his end than he probably wanted to admit, fewer drinks on mine than I had let on. It’s just so easy when you don’t have to get up early the next day.
But in the middle of being in his arms and trying to hold a conversation, I was struck with the idea that he was very much still a boy, a boy who needed attention, needed affirmation immediately of my feelings on the evening. He fixed his eyes on me, and told me very earnestly, “I have a crush on you, Maria. I have had a crush on you for awhile.”
And there was that word – “crush” – with the elementary school connotations that clung to it like those little bits of salt you can’t shake loose from your fingers after you finish a bag of potato chips. Because for all his earnestness, I couldn’t quite bring myself to use the same word. I admitted that I had been attracted to him for several months, but there had been others in between and I couldn’t help but think as I said this that there would be others after. He had pressed his forehead to mine and rubbed my nose with his in a motion that suggested we were far more intimate than was the reality.
And then his entire face lit up in the goofiest grin.
He was like a puppy dog really, in his sweetness and in his willingness to go along with whatever I decided. But there was something beneath it, an emphatic desire to rush us to the point of a relationship for a relationship’s sake. It reminded me of those months at the end of my eighth grade year where my friends, testing the waters of their sexuality through pleated skirts exposing flashes of leg and a swipe of mascara on the eyes, spent several weeks dating each boy in our class just to say that they could. There was a hollowness to the whole ordeal that even I could sense at the time (since I have always existed somewhat on the periphery of social interactions). If the Maria of freshman year could have met this boy perhaps the timing would have been just right. They could have grown together in a relationship, or perhaps simply grown apart.
But the timing matters. And after this weekend, I mostly wanted to pat his cheek and send him to bed. Slow down, you silly thing, you. All in good time.
So I called it off, shut the door on that little boy who will one day make a fine, devoted boyfriend to someone when the timing is right. But I would prefer a man right now, and that’s okay.