Pavlov's Dog, Part One.

Author oh, rebecca. Category ,

This is a story, or part of a story; a true story.

Long Lost and I have known each other for seven years now - or known *of* each other for seven years. He used to come into the cafe where I worked, and have me make a million drinks for him and his friends, and he'd tip me big. Like, super big. And I had a crush on him the whole time, but I was chicken and scared because I'm a big stupid baby, so I didn't do anything about it, even though I DID (during that time) a) make out with one regular in his car one day because I thought I had a crush on him b) flirt with enough tenacity with enough regulars that I was certain a fight might break out one day and b) ended up dating two coworkers I had crushes on. I'm a girl, I make no sense, let's move on. Speaking of moving on, after I worked in the cafe for ten months I moved out of town to go to college - and abruptly came back less than a year later. Needless to say, Long Lost and I lost contact with each other, seeing as how our only contact with each other heretofore had been daily, in my cafe. When I got back into town, I happened to run into him at the store, and he happened to start coming back into the store and cafe regularly again.

One day shortly after a lady coworker had basically forced one of my male coworkers to ask me out and he'd delivered, lady coworker also said "I think Long Lost* likes you! I think he wants to ask you out!" Except that I was kind of busy being with the male coworker she'd forced upon me a week prior. I blushed and told her that he could have/should have done something a few weeks (or a year) ago.

That thought nagged me for the entire two point eight five years I remained with Male Coworker**. In that time, I occasionally ran into Long Lost at the store, here, there, not everywhere, and sometimes it would be months before I ran into him again. Then it got to be an awfully long stretch of time. Sometimes his friends would come in for coffee or books and I'd recognize them or they'd recognize me, and we'd wave and smile and say hi. But no sign of Long Lost, anywhere.

I thought about him a lot during those long stretches of time. I thought about what would have happened had I made a move in the beginning, or had he. I thought about how I possibly would not have wasted almost three years with a man I didn't ultimately want to be with (he wouldn't even let me have a dog when we lived together! TORTURE!) and who would never marry me because he never thought of marriage as important. I thought about what Long Lost was doing. I thought about how he was doing. I thought about him. Even while I was with Male Coworker - you've done it too, don't lie.

Then, Facebook heard me thinking about him. Or something. His name came up in my "people you may know" suggestions, but with no picture. I took a look at the mutual friends we had - and couldn't put together how they might know each other. So I put it out of my head for a few days.

But, as a worrier, I can't keep anything out of there for very long, even if I've padlocked the entrance and barred all the windows. The thought that it might be him nagged at me, so a few days later when his name came up in my "people you may know" - this time with a picture, I messaged him, did he remember me? I worked at the cafe in the bookstore? He responded in kind, of course he remembered me! How was I doing? What was going on? It had been awhile since we'd seen each other, hadn't it? Message him back! I did.

We messaged back and forth that day, and then that night when I was a little tipsy and testosterone-y from drinking beer and playing Gears of War with my friend Brandon and his then-roommate Dan, I got on Facebook mobile and messaged him to tell him I'd had a crush on him all those years ago. When the response came, I don't remember, but I do remember that he said the same to me. The next day was spent furiously Facebook messaging each other back with the logistics of our mutual crush, and I was out with my friend Peggah getting pizza and playing with sad puppies at the puppy store when the message suggesting that it'd be easier for us to talk outside of Facebook, so when could we hang out? came.

When I got home, he called me, and we talked for around an hour and a half before he asked me what I was doing - and by now it was around ten, ten thirty at night. He came and picked me up - we live less than a mile from each other - and we went downtown and had a great meal and some great ice cream and a very long, long, very fun, fun night.

A lot has happened between Long Lost and myself since early November. Some of it has been very fun, most of it has been very long. I don't even know what has happened. I don't know what's going to happen. I feel like all those years ago at my store were what has become The Introduction To The Story; this story I've recounted here is The Prologue To The Story, and the ensuing months, and difficulties, have been Chapters 1 and 2 Of The Story, but I don't know how many chapters it holds.

What comes next isn't one of the chapters, but a footnote, a sidebar to the whole story: a testament to either a) my feelings for him or b) the efficacy of association a la Pavlov and his dogs.

*OBVIOUSLY not his real name. I gave him this moniker, this codename, because my friends find it easier to remember the guys I've dated by such codenames: otherwise the flow of names, many of which are similar or the SAME, is kind of hard to follow.
**Also not his real name. I don't have a cute moniker for him though. He was the long-term blip on the guys-I've-dated flowchart, so mostly he gets to keep his own name, but here for the sake of codenames, I've bestowed this blase one upon him.


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