Hopeful 6 Hopeless 4
On Thursday, October 25th, I met Amin after school. We had agreed on a place that was public but not too public. He had asked that it be a bit quieter, so that if he had any strong feelings, it would not be so embarrassing. Yet, there was also an advantage to being in a busy place; people are less likely to notice you in the crowd. I forget exactly how we came up with this, but we settled on the food court of the Complexe Desjardins.
We met first in the metro and headed there together. My stomach had been doing somersaults all day. The conversation I'd had with Amin the night before had made me feel a bit more cheerful and more hopeful. I had to at least try to see if he would date me. I had thought to just skip to the part about not being able to date him, but I managed to convince myself to give him all the information. My fears screamed at me all day that I should not admit to having any feelings for him and that I was better off staying single. I kept swallowing hard and pushing them down as best as I could. They were truly in full force that day even as Amin and I were making our way to the Complexe.
We both got some tea at the Café Dépôt in the food court. We had quickly learned that not only were we both chocoholics, but also tea drinkers. He went for black tea, which would normally have been my choice. Seeing as I was rattled, though, I knew I had to have something herbal to calm my nerves. We surveyed the food court and found that one of the least crowded areas was actually the section called The Gazebo. It is usually my preferred place to sit, because the painted scene on the ceiling makes for a nicer atmosphere. Amin pulled his chair up next to me again, to hear well. I don't know whether sitting across from me or beside me would've created more tension. I just sipped some of my mint tea and tried to breathe.
He had asked me to be as direct as possible for what I had to say. I tried my best, but people who know me well know that it is difficult for me to be succinct most of the time. I also wanted to be as diplomatic as possible in such a conversation, which usually requires more words rather than less words. Amin, however, doesn't like to be in suspense for any length of time on such matters and also finds it less than genuine to say things such as: "I like you, you're a really nice guy (etc., etc., listing personal qualities), but..." He believes you should skip this unnecessary and possibly insincere flattery and just get to the point. I couldn't. I had to preamble. I couldn't help myself. I apologized for it, saying that it was too ingrained in my personality, but that I would be as brief as possible. I explained to him that I had thought about what I wanted to say, but that expressing it was difficult. I entreated him not to interrupt me, even if I was pausing a lot. It was simply my trying to get out what I wanted to say. I said something like, "If you see me waving my hand like this, it is because I am still trying to talk." I said that I would like his input, but to please let me finish first. I told him to let me talk first and that I promised I would invite him to share his thoughts afterwards.
He agreed. I took a few deep breaths. Despite my preamble aimed at calming myself down and easing us into this difficult conversation, I was still really worked up. Amin noticed. He could see how nervous I was, because my hands had started shaking. He took them in his. He hadn't held my hand since September 28th and this time, I made no objections. "Hey... your hands are shaking," he said, as though he were saying "shhhhhhhh". It had a very calming effect. It also had a distracting affect. I had to focus on what I was saying, because it was too important.
I told him that, though I "liked him so much" (I was quoting one of his favourite phrases), it was not possible for me to date him, because it had come to my attention that I had one of his deal-breakers. I took a deep breath and recalled what he had said about the girl he chose needing to accept the two years of absence for the military service and be willing to stay with him through that separation. I explained to him that I couldn't promise him that kind of commitment, particularly since I had no idea what the military service entailed (here, my diplomacy lapsed and I found myself blurting: "I don't know if they expect you to kill people!"). I reminded him that my life was not fixed at this point either, because I was still studying and may well end up in Toronto within the next year or so to pursue my next degree. I told him that I wanted to date him, but that I could only promise him what I had now, such as it was. He was looking at me perplexed, which made me feel discouraged. That had all been difficult enough to say once; I didn't want to have to repeat it. I also didn't know how I could reformulate it to make it more comprehensible. I rephrased a couple of things and Amin started catching on.
He had been so convinced that I was going to tell him that I didn't want to date him, he was too stunned to understand what I had actually been saying. He could hardly believe that I was sitting next to him telling him that I chose him. He hardly thought it was possible. Though we are both the type to make a serious commitment, we both found ourselves agreeing to a short-term relationship, a "see-where-it-goes" arrangement. It was my turn to be surprised, that after all his pronouncements of the other night were not as serious as I'd thought and he further explained that the military service question might be mute anyways, as he had high hopes for an exemption. He told me that he was content with my "best try". My Mom said that it was just like a bad romance novel, where the characters don't know that their affection is mutual and assume that a romantic relationship would not be possible. What struck me as "bad" was that it was one of the most unromantic speeches I had EVER made and in fact, probably one of the most unromantic speeches I had ever heard of! I suppose this is more what it is like in real-life as opposed to the colourful stories we grow up with...
It was all Amin could to keep his emotions bottled up. He had been trying with more or less success for some weeks and had been as calm as possible while I was talking. He hit his breaking point, however, and when the subject of vibes and the Gardens date came up; he just reached over the table and kissed me. I should've expected this, but I was nevertheless very surprised by the kiss. It had been such a long time for me that my head was swimming; I had not been ready for that. I could see how happy Amin was, so I decided on the spot not to say anything, so as not to upset such a special moment for him.
Given the hour, I was beginning to lose energy because I had not eaten since lunch. Attentive as ever, he suggested we just stay put and get some supper. I was really glad we did that; it helped normalize things for me. It helped my anxiety start to come down. I was once again able to simply enjoy spending time with him. We continued talking after eating. I am sure Amin felt like never letting that evening end. He always insists, despite whatever I say about that day, that it was such a wonderful, happy day for him, one of the very best in his entire life. I was thinking in more practical terms, about the necessity of getting home before I got too tired and things like that. I didn't want to cut anything short, either, so it was a question of finding the right balance. I think we achieved that.
Two more kisses, holding hands and sitting resting my head on his shoulder with his arm around me rounded off the evening. He accompanied me half of the way home. It was out of his way, but as he is fond of saying, it bought him more time to spend with me. It was at that point that I had relaxed enough to start feeling happy too. It was familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. It began to remind me what it was like to be in a relationship. Yet, it was so different at the same time. It was better. Everything was better. I couldn't help feeling that this was exactly what it was supposed to feel like when you have a boyfriend. It was surreal for me, a feeling that persisted for awhile.
I was glad that I managed to find the courage to tell Amin how I felt. It really reminded me of the song by the Ennis Sisters that I used for the title of this entry. The chorus says: "Kiss him, Go ahead and say how you feel, You've just got to show him your heart, You've just gotta tell him what's real, 'Cause girl you're gonna miss him, If you let him slip on through, Go ahead and kiss him". They say in their album that they hope people not only have the courage to kiss someone, but to do take on many other things in life, to speak their mind and fight for what they believe in. The line from the title of my post is from the last verse: "Just stop your whining, Somewhere the sun is shining, You never know till you try, I don't give advice but, You wouldn't have to tell me twice". Normally I would encourage my friends to give it a shot with a guy they really liked, so I was not about to not follow my own advice. I took "just stop your whining" as: stop worrying and fussing, don't let your fears control you. I gave it a try, and I found a spot where the sun was shining brightly.