While my sudden unspoken desire was to deepen our intimacy, Paul’s signals proved alternately encouraging then confusing.A promised lunch together that fell through due to sickness; a lingering smile at my door one day turned into distracted “gotta run, department meeting” the next.Those qualities which attracted me to Paul, I realized, do not solely belong to him.
As much as I wanted to focus on the sting of rejection and the injustice of Paul not going out with me, the reality is that we’ve all been on the rejecter’s end as well as the rejectee’s. As much as I didn’t want to hear that Paul had chosen to spend his romantic energy on another woman, his intentions had never been to hurt or frustrate me.I have never doubted Paul’s respect for me nor his goodwill towards all sentient beings; as such, he could not lie just to spare my feelings or curb my disappointment.When I opened the door to his office one afternoon to offer our usual casual hello, an alchemical change packed a walloping charge through my body.When had my coworker become a handsome man with whom I suddenly wanted to share more than impersonal cafeteria trays in a crowd?“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take action.
Take action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron Paul and I had been acquaintances for eight years.
Last spring, Paul mentioned a woman he’d met at a conference. For two weeks straight, I woke to write five blessings.
Something in his voice gave me the courage to ask if he was dating her. What started out as “I’m so happy I don’t have to face Paul today with puffy eyes and this knot in my heart” turned into observations of my cousin’s laughter, my neighbor’s new puppy’s floppy ears, a test drive of a car I didn’t need to buy, the pearlescent purples of a sunset.
Just as I began to understand that he wasn’t interested in me in that way, he’d come back, affectionate and confiding.
His long-distance girlfriend had broken up with him or his relative was terminally ill. Nothing further is exactly how our relationship played, while, to my great consternation, we hit a plateau between consolation and water cooler repartee.
She rides her bike almost daily, pays bills monthly, and collects books and shoes perennially.