Last week I started telling my love story. I'm wordy, so the telling has bled into this week. We'll wrap it all up tomorrow and then resume with my regular posting schedule. You can catch up on the love story by clicking here.
I decided to give up on the crush I had for a director. While he was on the other side of the world shooting a television show, I went on a few dates with a very nice boy and tried to squeeze my eyes shut to any possibility that the director and I could be more than friends.
When the director and I met on the set of his first movie, he the boss and me the plebe, even a friendship with this man was unthinkable. He was older, well into a second successful career, and we didn’t appear to share either humor or values. But the more we talked, the more we had to talk about.
Now we had spent exactly two years talking and only talking. Not so much as a friendly handshake had passed between us and I was deflated and emotionally exhausted. I used the month that he was in Asia to guard my heart and prepare to put some distance in our friendship.
The crew returned from the long shoot tired and rattled. A number of complications had caused it to be a difficult trip. From the first phone call after he arrived back in Los Angeles, I knew something had shifted with him, but it was hard to separate that from the walls that I was building in me. A few days later he admitted,
After the hardest days, all the guys were calling home to their girlfriends and wives for comfort. The only person I wanted to call was you.
These words changed everything. It wasn’t instant. It took several more weeks, several long moments when one of us opened our mouths, then closed them again without saying anything. Finally, one Friday night in our favorite dive bar, in the last week of March, we each took a deep breath and confessed our feelings over the loud punk rock band screaming out of the speakers. Our eyes widened, I fidgeted with my drink and he stared hard at the wall, but we weren’t surprised. It was a frank discussion, more factual than romantic. We did not use the word “love,” we did not use the word “forever,” but I knew it was so.
I was no longer terrified. A confidence rose from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head and all of the doubts I’d harbored vanished. The same cannot be said of the director. He looked blue with fear. We took the conversation from the bar to his house and he was nearly hopping from foot to foot with anxiety. He said then, and later, that he was scared. He was scared of ruining our friendship, he was scared of the effect it might have on his friends and employees, he was scared, above all, that it was final.
The more anxious he got, the more calm I felt. The director, by nature, is steady and even-tempered. It was perhaps the most significant time that our emotions were so far apart that they became balanced.
It was a long night. I curled up Indian style on the couch I had picked out, and as we talked he put his hands on my knees. I tried to listen to whatever point he was making, but I was acutely aware of his strong hands touching me for the first time.
It felt like my entire life had been leading up to this night, to this conversation.