The CHB Diaries, Part VI

When I moved to Mexico, CHB and I had left the relationship in that sloppy, liquid limbo space where nothing is defined. We weren't together, and we certainly weren't exclusive. But we weren't disinterested either. At least I wasn't disinterested. I was, as I constantly reminded my Mexican friends, muy muy interested. Because things were operating in that sloppy, liquid limbo space, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of communication with CHB. Would we skype every day? Would we IM? How many texts a day was too many? It turned out we didn't talk much at all. Five texts a day and a weekend skype date quickly dwindled to one text a day and nary a skype date. As our communication morphed into non-communication, I felt that familiar jab in my gut--the darting fear that CHB had changed his mind about wanting to be with me.

I tried to avoid my fears by immersing myself in the experience of living in Mexico. I stayed out late, eating sweet and spicy corn while listening to live jazz music in the heart of the city. I walked to my Spanish classes in the cold morning snap and then used my arsenal of new words to teach art classes in the afternoon. I fell in love with the colors on the city walls, the taste of ducles, and the roll of the language on my tongue. I even went on a few dates with men who didn't speak my language. All of this--the sights, the sounds, the great immersive experience of living in a foreign country--was enough to keep me from wallowing in my insecurities about CHB.

After two months in Mexico, I returned to Portland. I had hardly talked to CHB by this point and thought I had come to terms with the fact that he was merely a good memory. A bright star burst in the night sky. Operating under the assumption that it was over between us (Occam's Razor, after all), I called CHB shortly after coming home. I told him that I had fallen so deeply in love with Mexico that I wanted to go back to school to get my PhD in Latin American Art. He didn't say much upon hearing my plans. Some silence. Then, we exchanged pleasantries and with no real intentions of ever talking again, said good-bye.

I thought about CHB every day after that phone call. For the next two months, while I was busy researching PhD programs and working on application letters, I thought about him, his face, his voice, his kiss. He was imprinted on my mind's eye like the shock of a camera flash. Every time I blinked, he was there. I felt as haunted as I had in Korea.

One afternoon during the haunting, I received a letter in the mail. Jacob's sister-in-law was a burgeoning friend from months previous, and we had become pen pals of sorts. She had sent me a letter in which she wrote, "I'm sorry to hear that you won't be my future sister-in-law after all." I read that line again and then a few times more. It didn't seem right. Something jarred inside. I knew, in some quiet space in my body, that things were not over with CHB. I was not ready to give up my title of potential future sister-in-law. I decided I had to tell CHB how I felt. I had to tell him that despite the fact that we lived several states away, and despite the fact that I had every intention of moving across the country for my PhD, I wanted to be with him. I needed, now more than ever, to see about him.

With a deep breath and an exhale I wrote:


i like you. and i think about you all of the time (i say this at the risk of sounding totally uncool and pathetic). i know we decided to just be friends--it makes the most sense. but if you ever feel like you're in a space to take a risk, please let me know. if you just want to be friends with absolutely no potential i can go with that. but i hope, if i'm being really honest, that the potential part of our friendship is still floating around out there somewhere.

ok, that's nice to breath out loud.


With a prayer and a click of the "send" button my petition was off, my vulnerability moving at lightening speeds through the internet.

To be continued...