Still “In The Friend Zone” Even After a Crazy Weekend

If there’s one woman who’s left her mark on me throughout my college life, if there’s one name that’s been on my mind, in my heart, and usually on the tip of my tongue for the past 4 years, it’s been Kayla Ryan. She was one of those women who caught my attention from the moment we met, although at first in a “she seems interesting” sort of way. She and I took the same summer classes before our freshman year, and ended up almost always studying together. Eventually, I asked her out, but she said no. Afterward, we had what you might call a short fling, and that’s all I’ll say about that except for the fact that I fell deeply in love with her in those few short months.

Fast forward to this past weekend. My parents came down to see her senior recital, as well as make sure I had everything I needed for the last few weeks of the semester. Her performance was nothing less than breathtaking, and we all congratulated her in the receiving line. My parents and I then went to Wal-Mart to do some end-of-semester shopping, then we had a sumptuous dinner at the Gerst Haus. The remainder of Saturday night was rather hectic and chaotic; suffice it to say I had a lot of fun, which isn’t relevant to this particular story.

I eventually made it back to my room at around 3 in the morning, and at around 3:30 Kayla called and asked if she could come talk to me while she “chilled out.” Of course, I enthusiastically said yes. After meeting her downstairs, we proceeded back up to my room and listened to parts of the recording I’d made of her recital. I also showed her a bit of how to use the voice recorder I have, since she recently got the same one from the state.

Now, here’s where the real awkwardness begins. She asked me if she could sleep in my room. Seeing as there’s only one usable bed, it’d have to be with me. I was simultaneously thrilled and horrified.

We ended up cuddling, with very strict boundaries. I opened up to her about a lot of things, partially because being that close to her caused me to have an anxiety attack. After said attack, I didn’t put my CPAP mask back on, because I wanted to feel close to her and not like I was just hooked up to a machine. She told me a lot of things, like that she felt special knowing how I felt about her even though she didn’t feel the same way. I explained why she caught my eye all those years ago, namely that she struck me as a “strong, wise, beautiful, confident woman.” I think that surprised her; I know how it feels to sell yourself short and then be told by others that you are, in fact, exceptional to them.

The point of all this, I suppose, is that we’re still “just friends.” I feel like every time I accept this fact enough to forget about it (as much as I can anyway) something happens to make the pain of that fact come back and hit me full force. Oh, I accept it on some level, yet in my heart I wish, more than anything, that she’d given me a chance and that we could’ve been together.

Maybe I’m an idiot, maybe I’m a hopeless, romantic fool, or maybe I just need to let go of this image of a woman in my mind . It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to evaluate my emotional problems and change my attitude accordingly so I don’t end up a burnt out wreck at 30. As much as I’m eager to leave here, partly to once again run away from my problems, I know that this is a bad idea. I must, instead, learn from my mistakes and try to avoid making them.

As a final note, I would like to point out that, with the arguable exception of Whitney, none of the girls I ever fell in love with were used as Kayla “replacements.” I believe it’s possible to be in love with more than one person at a time (see also: polyamory ). Every girl I’ve been involved with holds a special place in my heart, even the ones that did me wrong (which is sadly most of them). However, I’ve mostly managed to move forward from those relationships. Kayla, meanwhile, has stuck with me all this time.

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