Over President's Day weekend in February I went with a bunch of friends to an SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) camping event, Estrella, outside of Phoenix, Arizona. My friend Travis borrowed his Great Grandmother's car to take us all, and I helped him return it the weekend after the event.
Travis' great grandmother lived in Bicknell, Utah, a small 300 resident town in Wayne County. Never heard of Wayne County? Neither had I. I drove down Herkie, my bright red car that went a Herc-a-minute (as my co-owner sister Mary lovingly said), and he drove down her white boat of a car. We spent the night (my bedroom had a full gunrack in it, which made me nervous all night long), and then planned to return together in my car, via Manti, Utah, where we were to do some of Travis's family file baptisms together.
I enjoyed my second small getaway from Provo. Travis and I visited his aunt, who gave me an entire cooler full of frozen lamb (my most favorite meat ever). Her daughter, Brittney, named a lamb born that night after me. We made lamb chops for his great grandma (hmm, I'm noticing a distinctly ovine cast to this getaway....). Travis and I also indulged in lots of great talking that night, first while we walked around the sleepy town, and then in a basement bedroom, sitting on a bed covered in a classic, white Chenille Bedspread.
You may be wondering why it sounds like Travis and I were dating in all of this (and indeed his grandma thought we were dating, I believe). Travis and I were just good friends, and Travis had the ability to have a good gab fest as much as any girl.
So Travis and I sat on that Chenille bedspread, having fun mentally pairing off everyone in club. When we came to Avram, I couldn't think of a single girl in club that he would go well with.
I once had a roommate who related the Analogy of Dating/Marriage and Chairs (via her parents). Some people are like Comfy Armchairs. Everyone loves to sit in them. Once you sit down, you recline back and are set for life. These La-Z-boy people will easily find someone to marry, because almost anyone could marry them and be happy. Then there are those like my roommate, who are a 19th century hard wooden chair. They are unique. Rare. Individual pre-Industrial Revolution Shaker. Most people think this chair is uncomfortable and move on. But eventually someone will see this find for the true antique it is.
Avram was a 19th century Shaker chair, and needed someone who could appreciate that, rather than just notice a narrow wooden seat. Someone who saw his reading Jeremiah, chapters at a time, not as an overly pious action, but rather as an internal pulling away from a situation he found difficult or uncomfortable. Jeremiah reminded Avram that others had it harder than he did. Someone who saw past his self imposed library pallor and esoteric front - self imposed because of his innate shyness - to his plebeian soul. Someone who realized that past his facade Avram used short words like the rest of us, and that he likes Michaelangelo - the Ninja Turtle. That growing up his hero was Michael Jackson. That he can eat sushi with the best of the yuppies. That he's a Batman person. Oh, and also someone who cares about Ancient Egyptian envy of the priesthood and likes those with Semitic Physiognomy.
As I mentally reviewed the twenty odd girls in club, none came to mind who would work with Avram, even in potentia. As I hesitated over the thorny question of Avram's theoretical romantic future in club, Travis just looked at me. "If Avram were to date anyone in Club, it would be you, Thora."
Now looking back this sounds like a shadow puppet play with the plot twists as transparent as the puppets themselves. At the time, however, I had never consciously considered Avram romantically. As I mulled over Travis' statement in my head, an internal switch flipped, and as easy as a moment lying on a Chenille white bedspread lost in thought I had a complete romantic crush on Avram.
Avram already interested me as a person; I always looked forward to seeing him, to talking with him about subjects both academic and mundane, I had felt a "connection" with him from the first night we met. I liked the ancient Near East, and could tell Avram was a unique Shaker chair - not just an old wooden seat. I had previously even half decided that the next person I dated would already need to know and love Cat Stevens. The infrastructure of a crush was complete, but it had all been channeled into friendship, since that was ostensibly all I had been looking for in life. I had but needed the catalyst Travis provided, and suddenly that connection was Chemistry, and I knew that I liked Avram.
And yet now I was aware - and absolutely nothing was happening. Avram and I had our usual interesting conversations and dynamic encounters at club meetings, but he treated me the same as any other girl in club. Of course, I ostensibly still had my missionary, Dennis. And I wasn't looking for dating, as everyone around me knew. Sometimes I wished that I hadn't been so effective at giving off an "I'm taken" aura, that Avram would ask me on a date anyway, or even seem to notice me as a potential girl interest. And yet I also knew that I wasn't ready by any means to commit to a relationship. As much as I liked Avram, I also liked my independence and solitude, I liked knowing I had responsibility to no man, and had no commitment to keep on like anyone for any set amount of time. (Yes I had many commitment issues after my broken engagement. We'll see a lot more of them later.)
By the end of February I still wanted to remain friends with Avram, and not pursue any further relationship - while also wishing that he would do more than just casually talk with me.
Keep reading for soon to come Part III. This was actually longer, but I didn't have the heart to try and recapture all of my thoughts tonight, so this is a little short on actual events. I'll be better next time.
Read Part III - Thora Progresses Deeper into Denial About the Flexibility of Liking Your Friend.