Boy meets Girl.
Boy flirts with Girl, because boy is a) an incurable smartass, and b) will do anything for a laugh, and c) is secure in the knowledge that it can never go anywhere.
Because you see, Boy has issues. From early adolescence, Boy had pretty much held himself aloof from other people. Boy didn’t want to seem like a misanthropic loner, so humor was the weapon he used to keep people at bay. He wore it like a mask to disguise himself. It became his schtick, to make people laugh. After a while, the act became so much a part of Boy that he found it hard to separate himself from the act.
Most people liked the act. Others thought Boy was an arrogant smartass, or even worse, not someone who could be taken seriously.
And Boy pretended it didn’t bother him, all the while secretly despising people who weren’t smart enough to see behind the mask.
And then one day someone peeked behind the mask, and didn’t shrink from what she saw. Boy fell deeply in love with this someone, and married her. They spent eight wonderful years together, and two not-so-good years. During that time, Boy and Someone had a beautiful child, an imperfectly perfect little creature who taught Boy and Someone things about spirit and love and determination that they would never have known otherwise. Boy thought it would last forever.
Alas, Boy was wrong. Old habits die hard, and Boy didn’t realize until it was too late that he wore that mask and used that act with Someone far more than he realized. Boy’s first clue that Someone wasn’t happy was the day he came home from a trip, and found the note Someone had left behind, the note that said she felt like a roommate, not a wife or lover. Someone wanted a divorce. Boy was devastated.
Boy spent many nights being angry and bitter, and telling himself, “See, people can’t be trusted. You’re better off never loving anyone.”
Boy came very close to reverting to the same ugly person he was before he met Someone, the person that used to laugh at the people that liked his jokes, only his was a laugh of scorn.
It was some weeks before Boy learned that Someone had been seeing Someone Else, been sharing her thoughts and feelings with him – the ones she wouldn’t share with Boy.
And Boy was consumed with such an all-encompassing rage that he contemplated ending Someone Else’s life. Actually, he did more than idly contemplate. But Boy took a long hard look at himself and stepped back from the abyss.
He came to understand that he was at least partly to blame for Someone leaving. He took her for granted. He didn’t make her feel loved.
Even with the most important person in his life, he still wore the mask. He still did the act.
And Boy vowed that he would never again become the person he was. He would drop the act, and take off the mask. He would share more of himself, because frankly, going through life alone sucked.
It was hard. Even now, Boy finds it easier to keep up the act. That’s why he’s using this silly little device of writing about himself in the third person, even when he’s talking about something serious, like loving someone.
Boy spent that first year and a half falling in and out of what he thought was love, seeking to find that feeling he had with Someone. He had his clumsy dating adventures, some of them with very nice women, but none of them lasted. Boy was still getting used to this sharing himself thing. In the process he hurt some wonderful women, and he still regrets that.
But eventually Boy sorted it out. He quit pining over Someone, and even became friends with her again. He still cares a lot about her. She taught Boy a lot about himself. Boy also learned he could be more open with people, show them a little part of himself, and they’d still laugh. He discovered that people liked his humor, but they didn’t shy away when he dropped the act and shared something painful and personal.
On the contrary, they showered him with understanding and affection. Boy was absolutely amazed, and humbled.
But there was still that part of Boy that he never showed to anyone else, the part only Someone had been allowed to see. And Boy began to despair that he’d ever again find someone he liked in that way. He had pretty much given up.
He still believed in fairy tales and white picket fences. He believed in happily ever after, and ’til Death do you part’. He just didn’t think it was going to happen.
Then one day Boy met Girl. There was this something about Girl that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but Boy was powerfully intrigued. Girl was definitely not what Boy had always thought of as his type. Boy linked her blog, and started flirting with Girl in the comments. He was pretty shameless about it, partly for the reasons listed, but also because Boy couldn’t deny that he really was attracted to Girl.
Girl laughed him off, because she could see through Boy’s bullshit, and Girl was pretty enough that being hit on was nothing new to her. Girl had issues, too. She had been lied to before.
Boy and Girl started talking privately, and struck up a friendship. Soon the conversations became a nightly thing, and they would go on forever and take unexpected turns and Boy would laugh and think and argue, and then look up to see that six hours had passed. Some of the conversations would delve into very dark places that neither Boy or Girl felt comfortable letting people see. Yet they did anyway.
And the months passed, and the flirtation grew and Girl started to wonder if Boy was really serious. Boy was, but he was also scared to death, because he didn’t think he was in Girl’s class. Still doesn’t.
Then one day Boy realized that the highlight of his day was those conversations, and that Girl had become his best friend. He found himself thinking about her at odd hours, and smiling with the whisper of her name on his lips. Boy realized what he had seen in Girl from the beginning; himself. Not himself as he was, but himself as he could be.
Boy fell in love with Girl. He was scared to admit it, because the last and only other time he had felt this way, he had gotten hurt.
Boy also considered that not admitting things like that was the reason his love for Someone had died in the first place, and how he had vowed to never let that happen again.
So Boy took a deep breath, and dropped the act. He told Girl how he felt, fully expecting her to tell him to get lost and never speak to her again.
But she didn’t. She told him she felt the same way.
And just like that, Boy’s life changed. And in the weeks since, it has only gotten better. The future looks like a better place than it did even a month ago, because Girl is a part of it.