When I met Kayak, I was completely buck-ass naked.
It started out a typical Girl’s Night, actually. How it ended? Well, Kayak tells the story like this:
He had received a voicemail from one of said girls who lives across the lake from him. In said message, she informed him that we were going skinny dipping later. Should he chose to join us, she’s light the tiki candles so he’d know we were starting without him.
About an hour later, Kayak was on his couch, half asleep and on the phone with his mom. Sparks of light from across the water caused him to sit bolt-upright.
“Hey, Mom, I gotta go.”
Drunk on wine and good company, laughing our asses off, we didn’t hear Kayak’s approach. He slid silently alongside us in his kayak…
The next time I saw Kayak, I was fully clothed and walking in my friend’s door. At the sound of my voice he popped his head out of the kitchen.
“Well. Here comes trouble.”
So began the Summer of 2006. I hung out with Kayak and a group of friends that live in my neighborhood almost every weekend, and most Thursday nights. Since we could all walk home, we drank far more rum than we should have, swam naked in the river whenever we had the chance, got far too little sleep, and pretty much had a ridiculous good time.
The chemistry between Kayak and I was palatable. You could not be in a room with the two of us and not feel it. Just meeting his eye made me go weak in the knees. I remember one evening, all of us more than a lil drunky pants, him looking straight at me from across the dining room while telling his friend what a beautiful body I had. So, really, he was talking to me, not his friend. I might have wet myself. In the good way.
Naturally, in stories that start out this good, there’s always a catch. This one is no exception.
Kayak had started dating someone about three weeks before he met me. She would later become Mrs. Kayak, mother of Baby Kayak.
Not that I need to say it, but the Future Mrs. Kayak never liked me. Ever. Not even a little bit. It wasn’t that Kayak ignored her to talk to me… we just really couldn’t ignore each other period. When I look back, I don’t remember him being rude to her or anything… it’s just… we couldn’t stay away from each other. It was the whole palatable-chemistry thing. The rum didn’t help.
Furthermore, they weren’t serious just yet, during that summer. And Kayak and I weren’t really all over each other… physically…
Except for… that one night.
Shit-faced drunk and in the wee hours, we went back to my house with his younger brother (oh, my then-roommates were not pleased with me). There were some very steamy kisses on the back porch. I practically begged (seriously – but really it was the rum begging) him to stay. His bro even offered to cover for him.
Look. I’m not a horrible person. Part of it was I knew (but couldn’t tell him because she didn’t know I knew and I couldn’t betray the person who told me – know what I’m saying?) that the Future Mrs. Kayak was still fucking her ex. Part of it was the rum. Part of it was… OMG. Not fucking you is making me insane.
And when I say he couldn’t? I actually mean that. I know I should probably say wouldn’t but… he’s a rare breed of dude that honestly cannot have sex with someone else like that. Just can’t. Sure… the kissing… but… sex? New boundary he
couldn’t ok fine wouldn’t cross.
That was that.
From that night on, things were different. He had made a choice, and despite being upset about it, I respected it. That night , he started down the road that would lead to Mrs. Kayak and Baby Kayak… and that decision signaled the end of our ridiculous flirtation.
However, the one thing we couldn’t change was the chemistry between us. So, instead, we started avoiding each other. We could no longer pretend we were the only two people in the room, could no longer give in to how good it felt to be near each other. We had pretended for long enough, and reality had set in.
I moved in 2008 (to my fucking amazing cottage) and didn’t see that group of friends very often for the next couple years. Part of that was I started dating someone too, and ended up growing close with his friends. More recently, however, I’ve re-connected with them… and remembered how awesome they are.
A few weekends back, I saw Kayak. And Mrs. Kayak. Who may or may not be preggers again (can’t really tell because she had on three layers, including a mock turtleneck – which is weird, who wears that to a bar? – and lawd knows I am the LAST person to inquire if her weight gain is a pregnancy…)
The chemistry is still there. Still undeniable – but we still act like, for the most part, it is. When the Kayaks left, he gave me a massive bear hug and told me how good it was to see me. Gaw… he’s so adorable.
On my way home that evening, I wondered what would have happened had we met first.
Knowing him, and knowing me, and knowing us together – we would have fallen effortlessly into bed. And into dating. And into a relationship. It would have been the one-night stand that that didn’t end in the morning. And, more than that, it would have been simple. Easy. It would have felt natural. Right.
My life would have been… so different.
I believe the relationship Kayak and I could have had would have been so good, I do not think I would have allowed Kay to ruin it, as she did with the one I was in when I met her. And the following one-point-five-or-thereabouts years? My Really Bad Shit? May not have happened at all.
But… Despite all of that heartache, all of that drama… it is almost shocking to think about the things I would not know, the lessons unlearned, the doors unopened… and the relationships not forged as a result of that fucking nightmare.
As for Kayak? Yes, that summer Mrs. Kayak was fucking someone else, even when he wouldn’t betray her and do the same. Yes, Baby Kayak was an accident that turned into a marriage, but… I have no reason to believe Kayak is not in love with Mrs. Kayak. And she with him. I don’t think she has cheated on him since. As far as I can tell, they are very happy together. So it’s not as if he choose poorly.
In addition? And perhaps more importantly? I would not have given him Baby Kayak. Yeah yeah, I know - obviously because I am not Mrs. Kayak. But… I would not have given him any Little Kayaks. Period. Even if, had the relationship been as good as I think it would have, we may have gotten hitched (yikes – there’s a thought), I am nowhere near ready for children. I’m not sure I’ll ever have them. To be frank, I don’t even really like children.
He adores his son. He is one-hundred-percent head-over-heels in love.
I would not have given him his son.
I have two points to make, as I wrap this one up.
First, “The One.”
There is ample evidence that Kayak would have been happy with both me and Mrs. Kayak. There is ample evidence that this was simply timing. And yet. Am I bitter? Do I think he should be with me and not her? Do I think this is wrong and we should be together? No. I don’t. Yes – timing is a factor, but we are both good “matches” for Kayak (for lack of better terminology… good god.)
The thing of it is – despite what we’re told constantly by Hollywood and popular culture, we shouldn’t spend our time chasing The One. The very idea is a myth. You don’t have another half out there somewhere (seriously – I’d like to own a unicorn too but…). Instead, it’s about the person who is into you for who you are, all of you, at that time in your life. From there, it’s about growing, evolving, living, loving, together.
And sometimes? There is more than one person. Sometimes, of course, there doesn’t seem to be anyone. But maybe? That’s the time to focus on you.
And, even if you find someone, sometimes you don’t grow and evolve together… sometimes it’s growing apart.
These are not things to fear. This is life. These are not things to cover up by believing there is one person who will complete you (vomit) – thinking that ideal will mean someone who will never leave you, who will love you because you are their soul mate… as opposed to loving you for who you are as an individual, as you exist in your life right now… not because you are the other half of their soul. I mean.. how bizarre is that, really? When you think about it?
Second… we all have these people in our lives that we look back on and wonder. Or those that broke our hearts and we look back on and pine. We focus so much attention on the person… on a relationship we miss or never had.
But…. what about life? What has life provided you with, in the absence of that person or that relationship? What is your world, now that they are not there? What you’ve lost is easy – but what have you gained? What have you learned? What doors have been opened? What other relationships forged?
Of course – these questions require you to be active in your life. To re-focus energy from remorse and loss, to future and growth. Yes, we all have to grieve, the importance of that part of life should never be underestimated, but what do we do with what life provides, in spite of our grief, our loss, our remorse?
I still wonder about Kayak. He still makes me more than a little weak in the knees. I don’t doubt, when our eyes meet, that he feels it too. But… such is life.
And, if I ever feel remorse, I look at the things life has given both of us. That we would not have, if he had met me first.