My friends and I were in New Orleans for either a stepshow or a football game (HBCU road trip - it had to have been one or the other). While in the French Quarters, we ran into one of our other friends and his cousin, NL,. Tall, locs, cute and one of those accents that make you drool. Yessss. Anyway, he and I became cool when a bug-a-boo would NOT leave me alone -he pretended to be my boyfriend. NL lived in New Orleans so we only hung out for those couple of hours. After we got back to school, we would pass pleasantries through his cousin until one day his cousin told me, "Here's his number - just call him." Ummm, no. I wasn't going to do that but hoped that I would see him again when I visited N.O. again. Unbeknownst to me, cousin gave NL my number and he called me first.
We would talk for HOURS about music, sports, dating, school life...whatever came to mind. It was fun. I would come in from step practice and right on cue, the phone would ring. My roommate/then best friend would say, "And there's your boyfriend calling." He wasn't but he made it very clear he liked me and why and vice versa. We just knew it wouldn't work being in college and trying to be in a long distance relationship. So we continued to be friends while liking each other.
Summer came. We talked just as much and still hadn't seen each other since that first time. He loved Puerto Rican culture and would always ask me to go to abc place to see if I could find xyz for him. He wanted Uptowns with the PR flag on it so he could watch the PR Day Parade on tv in them while waving the PR flag I sent him. Weird and funny...but it worked. My mother would even say, "I don't know...this might be the start of something good."
And then he mentioned his friend. He'd call me form time to time and say, "meant to call you back but I was at my homegirl's house and fell asleep. I didn't get up til __ o'clock this morning." Oh really? I had a problem with it but I didn't know what to do. I was even worse back then expressing myself than I am now so what'd I do? Write a letter. I told NL how it was always a little weird for me how he always "fell asleep" at her house and how it wasn't cool for him to tell me how much he liked me but was chillin overnight at his "friend's" house. Here's the kicker: At the end of the letter, I told him I didn't want to talk about what I'd written - just wanted to tell him. At 21, I still wasn't ready to have talks like that and especially not to someone who wasn't really my boyfriend. So, he acknowledged that he got the letter was "Ohhh okay cool" and changed the subject.
We never really spoke much after that brush off and after a couple more conversations, it ended completely. Just like that. I saw him two years later at his cousin's graduation. I saw NL from a distance so he never knew I saw him. He looked...different. Worn down...BEAT even. I told my friend, "There's NL. Looks like I dodged something with that one." He was with some girl and I was a-ok with that. It was only a few months that lasted with us. More of a phone rendezvous than anything.
But for about a year and a half, I'd off an on ask myself: Was he the one that got away? Was he one of my "soulmates?" Could that have been it?
That's my story...and that's all I've got on that one.