Two years. For two solid years we were just friends. No accidental slip ups expressing affection, no hugs that lingered a little too long. For twenty-four months, while seeing each other almost every day, we were platonic.
We did all the things that happy couples do. We grabbed a bite after work discussing our days. We went to Lakers games and the movies and even had dinner with his parents when they were visiting. Up until the very end, I didn’t tell a soul how much I loved that director. My mom and sister and roommate knew, because they knew me. And because over time the relationship started to take its toll, making me irritable and emotional. It just felt so unfinished. But I never spoke the words aloud.
During the year after we started Wildboyz, the director and I both casually dated other people. I became quite distracted by another boy (who, coincidentally or not, was completely unavailable) and the director had a series of short flings. We barely spoke of these things to one another and it was clear by the sheer amount of time we spent together that anything we entertained on the side wouldn’t last.
In November, our offices moved to Burbank ceasing our long carpool rides. At the director's annual New Years Eve party, we had dinner then arrived together. Technically we were both dateless, but something different was in the air. Donning party hats and blowing noisemakers, the last night of 2003 was the first time I knew that his feelings for me weren’t totally innocent. We danced and laughed and toasted to new beginnings. Still, when the clock struck midnight we were on opposite sides of the room. We left the party separately.
The show we were working on was deep into its second season and I was busy planning a lengthy shoot in India and Indonesia scheduled for March. This particular show put the cast members in dicey situations in exotic places. The crew was kept small and male. Just before they left across the world, I was set up on a blind date with a boy from my part of the country. We had mutual college friends and he was very nice and very nice looking.
I decided that during the month that they were gone on the production shoot, I was going to cleanse myself of the unrequited love for the director. What had started as a crush had become a real friendship but by now was an unhealthy relationship. We spent all of our time together and this kept either of us from dating anyone else, but we weren’t dating each other. I had hit my limit. I wanted something more and it was making me lonely.
The director called a couple of times from India and Indonesia, ostensibly for work-related reasons, but we always ended up talking about other things. I didn’t tell him about my blind date. Four weeks away is a long trip and I missed my friend, but it felt good to take a few steps back. I felt my heart unclenching a little. The blind date asked me out again and then again. I liked having someone show they were interested.
By the time the director returned from his long trip, I had convinced myself that I was a fool for ever wanting more, that he must look at me as only a silly young thing that worked for him. I wasn’t prepared for the way the grueling trip had changed him. They’d had a rough time in Indonesia and he came home rattled.
I was in the first baby stages of moving on, and on the weekend he arrived back in LA I couldn’t put my finger on what else had changed. The conditions of the shoot and his resulting perspective check caused him to finally say...
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