It's not like I was in love or anything. It was a crush--that's it. A big one, sure, but a crush nonetheless.
And it was distracting. In a fun way...but also in an anxiety-producing, do-I-look-OK-maybe-I-should-change-outfits kind of way.
There were a few dates and then there was a talk. And during the talk he let me know that he liked me a lot--he found me attractive and enjoyed spending time with me, but he wanted to be my friend. I stayed silent as he spoke, but I was filled with exasperation. My friend? I have way too many friends already, I don't need another one! I wasn't looking for friendship when I agreed to go out with you.
But I didn't say that. I said it was fine.
But of course it wasn't fine. I thought about it throughout the weeks that followed. What did I do wrong? Did I talk too much? Should I have worn more makeup?
And then one Thursday night, he asked me to give him a jumpstart. His car battery had died and he had to move it the following day because there was street cleaning where it was parked. I told him that if he had cables and knew how to do it, I'd be happy to help. He said yes to both.
I said I'd come over.
When I pulled my Prius up next to his Honda, he popped my hood, peered in and furrowed his brow.
"Um...where's your battery?"
"I don't know...it's different from most cars. It's a hybrid."
"Right. I don't see one...wait, maybe that's it?"
We stared together at my car's inner workings, mystified, for a good five minutes.
"You know, I think that maybe I should get someone else to jumpstart my battery. I'm afraid to touch anything in your car--the last thing I want to do is screw it up."
"Yeah, that's probably a good call."
"You want to get a drink anyway?"
It turned out to be a nice evening. We sipped wine and then bought ice cream cones and walked around his sleepy neighborhood.
As I drove home later, the symbolism of the evening's events struck me hard--I literally couldn't start his battery. And it wasn't because there was anything wrong with my car. It didn't matter that he had cables or generally knew how to use them; my battery was intrinsically the wrong one to jumpstart his, and there was nothing that either of us could do about it. And he's a nice guy, so he didn't want to risk causing damage to my car.
But it didn't mean we couldn't enjoy a nice walk and some ice cream.