He was pretentious, spoke with an accent that had come from few years in USA, and had stayed put over the last eight years he had been back in the country. He held onto that accent, as if he was holding on to that part of his life that held the most promise. But i didn't really mind. He was someone i could laugh with, despite his accent.
But when one starts to tick off "despite this" and "inspite of that", the relationship is doomed before it starts. There are just too many things that one needs to overlook to actually get down to the long arduous process of falling in love. And it is a process.
A friend of mine once told me, "Falling in love is not a feeling, it's a decision." At the time, i scoffed at him, pitied him for his total lack of awareness of the best thing in the world. Two years and several still-born attempts later, I'm inclined to agree with him.
So i decided to fall in love with the at-heart-American. I wasn't doing much else with my life anyway, and he was nice. And then the oddest thing happened - he intrigued me. It's odd because I don't find that happening too often. Normally I'm quick to peg people into certain slots. And they usually don't bother trying to escape from it. But with him, there was something different.
For one, he was quite sexy in a completely hands-off manner. Tall, lean and totally my type. But additionally, he was almost ascetic - the virgin. I was afraid to touch him because I was terrified he would crumble with shock. And yet, I know that he had had his lovers, some whom he had left crushed, and others who had trampled him on their way out. In fact, it could very well be this improbable combination of being fascinated and yet compelled to run away fast that made me stand rooted.
He never made a single move on me. We talked about it - not about making a move on me specifically, but about sex in general - and it was a hugely academic discussion. We could very well have been discussing .... the weather. Oh! And the verbosity of it all. Words one wouldn't normally use in conversation came up all the time. My rusty vocabulary got a new shine, my dumbed-down sentence formation got a new life, and I finally understood a statement I'd been struggling with from the time I was 12 - "Words conceal instead of reveal" - it was the subject of a debate competition. For example, after hours of speaking with him, I still didn't know the answer to my basic question - is he into me or what?
So I started stretching the boundaries. Little by little, I added a bit of the outrageously flirtatious into conversations which he surprisingly responded to in kind, but with an added edge of indulgence. I invited him out to dark cubbyholes which play loud throbbing music and totally suitable for a bit of sin. But, instead of him being the odd one out in that place, he made the whole place odd. I really liked that about him.
It is also one of the first few things that I know will infuriate me endlessly in a longer-than-few-weeks relationship. Other things would include the accent and the verbosity, the annoying way he licks his lips when introspective, his huge phobia of commitment to anything, his shaky career footing, etc etc. That said, I like him, despite myself. THAT, I think, is the biggest problem. After all, how long can liking someone 'despite' myself work?
Oh! And I still don't know if he's into me. The fact that he could be imagining some other woman (or man, yes there IS that tragic possibility too) while I'm plucking petals off some unsuspecting flower is a little disturbing. Actually, just plucking petals off is disturbing enough.