Last time, I shared how Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid slowly but surely became Smart-Ass Redheaded Best Friend, just in time for me to move to LA and him to jet off to Europe for a month.
On Father's Day 2008, Redhead was printing his boarding passes and tying on his luggage tags as his flight for his month-long Euro-trip was leaving that night. We had been talking very regularly, and had managed to grow a real friendship, one that I was really upset was going to have to be put on pause since he was going to be gone and wasn't taking his phone. Redhead had managed to become my best friend in a matter of weeks, and it was him whom I wanted to text when I was bored, and he whose advice I needed when in a bind. I was inordinately worried about what I would do without someone who just weeks prior had been nothing more than a distant, but fond, memory from junior high.
Smart-Ass had asked me if he could come over and say goodbye, and even though we had family visiting for the holiday, I really wanted to see him off, so I said okay. He showed up, and we hung out in
There is one moment that I distinctly remember from that day, as if it has been seared into my memory for life. For a quick minute, while standing around my Dad's garage, surrounded by tools and standing on a floor full of oil stains, Redhead and I somehow relaxed into the most couple-y, comfortable hugging position. My back was to his front, and to this day, I don't know how we got to that position, or why we settled there for a minute, but I remember it feeling so right, and the fact that it felt so right feeling so scary. I snapped out of it, remembered we were just friends, and we laughed about how weird that minute was. Thinking back now, I'm fairly confident we were both wondering the same thing...why did that feel so right?
Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid was about to leave, we hugged (normally), and then I got a bright idea.
"You should write a note! In case anything happens to you. Not to be morbid or anything, but you know, just in case. Leave it with your Mom or something. Your last words" (This over-worded constant flow of thoughts is exactly how I speak in real life, by the way.)
Redhead told me he would, and that if anything happened, to make sure I got ahold of it to read. This train of thought is seriously bizarre looking back, but I have to think we were both thinking there were unspoken words between us, and that maybe this would be a way to get them out, even if we couldn't quite say them out loud or to one another.
Redheaded Kid left that night, and it would be almost 48 hours before I heard from him on Facebook (the only contact he had while in Europe, as he didn't bring his phone). Not sure if it was because I was still stuck on this whole "in case anything happens" kick, or what, but as the days (okay, it was only 2 days, but it felt like a week) clicked on and I didn't hear from him, I got more and more worried. But I got word that he had made it safely and was having fun in Europe, and felt relieved, although still missing him.
I was somewhat consumed with starting my new internship, and living outside of my parents' home for the first time, but I found myself constantly going on Facebook to see if Redhead was online, and if he had sent me any new messages.
Days after he left, we were chatting online and I told him he should tell me what was in the note he left in case anything were to happen. While I'd like to say the reason I suggested this was pure curiosity, I was also infatuated with finding out whether this note mentioned me at all, or if this tension I felt between us was all in my head.
A few days after my request, I got a message in my Facebook Inbox that would change everything. The message was prefaced with a warning that it was written a few glasses of cheap French wine deep, but that everything in it was true, and that he had been wanting to say it to me for some time now.
I'd like to keep the majority of that message to myself, as I'd like to think of it as the start of what would be a love story that, to me, is beautiful and something movies are made of. I will share with you that the message Redhead sent me, buzzed off his butt at a computer-station in France, included the nicest things anyone had ever said to me.
In the message, Redhead told me I was amazing, that I deserved the best of the best there was out there, and that I was beautiful. While I've been dealt a compliment or two in my time, there is something about someone bearing their soul to you (even over a Facebook message) that seems to make the compliments ring so much more true. In the message, he told me he would be willing to work with the distance between us (when he returned from Europe, there would still be a 2-hour driving distance between us indefinitely at the time), but that more than anything he valued my friendship and hoped sending the message wouldn't ruin things between us if we couldn't be more than friends.
In my rented room in Redondo Beach on the receiving end of the message, I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling. I was partially surprised, though I had felt that there was something there almost from the get-go. I was flattered by his sweet compliments, and taken aback by his complete honesty. I am embarrassed to admit that it took me longer than it should have to respond, and that I wasn't very considerate of his feelings. I was so confused, and didn't know what to say. I am more embarrassed to admit that when I did finally respond, I, too, was a few glasses of cheap wine deep, and looking back on my response, there are a quite a few typos that I wish I could take back.
Redheaded Kid's Euro-trip started off with this intense message, with my very half-assed response in which I
Little did I know that while I was wondering what would become of our friendship, and whether it would turn into more when he was back in the States, Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid was doing all that he could to show much he cared about me from across the pond...but I'll save the story of those efforts for next time...
Want to catch up on the story of how my Handsome Husband became my Handsome Husband? Find out how we met, what it was like going to high school with HH, how he reappeared in my life after moving to San Diego for college, and how he went from a memory to a best friend in weeks.