I have this friend we’ll call “Rocky.” Rocky and I met nearly eight years ago at a bar in Hoboken (don’t judge, I had friends who lived there at the time). Rocky and I hit it off right away and spent the night nurturing this connection. The highlight of the evening came when I visited the ladies room. Rocky was apparently so smitten and desperately needed alone time that he followed me into the bathroom to have some one on one time. Upon exiting the stall and noticing him there, it was only natural to kiss. It was a good kiss, which my protective, uber-aware, tall, dark and dreadlocked friend Ian rightfully broke up by dragging Rocky out of the bathroom with a “Oh Hell No!” forcefully by his arm.
Rocky and I proceeded to date for four or five months but we were both a little bored romantically with one another. The relationship, only consummated a couple of times, fizzled out to neither of our chagrins. It was truly a breakup for the record books. Neither of us were hurt.
I’d never been able, no matter how many times I’ve promised otherwise, to continue/start a friendship with someone who’s been inside me, never mind someone I’ve cared about. I’m more of the Miranda in Sex And The City mindset: “We didn’t work out. Poof! You need not to exist anymore.” Something was different about Rocky.
A month or two after he crept out of my life, I got an email. He was looking to share with anyone a happy hour and I was looking for one, albeit broke. No worries, he was willing to treat. We met up and so began seven years of trading off the treating of get togethers, concerts, parties and other countless pseudo-dates. I became a good ‘wingman’ and even set him up with two of my best friends, I loved the guy so much. He became my bestest buddy. My go-to guy when it came to dating and the ‘what the fuck is up with men?” conversations. Simply, My Rocky. That’s how it continued, through various break-ups, jobs, apartments and life for the next seven years.
Then, we went out Saturday night.
Now, I should be upfront and state that upon receiving a call that he was watching the Syracuse/UConn game that afternoon meant that it would be a rough evening. I obliged the 7:15pm text that recommended “start drinking now”. We met up on the lower east side for drinks before heading to Arlene’s Grocery to catch a band he was hot on. On my end, the kettle one/tonics were flowing. On his: the Bacardi/diet cokes – he just went on the South Beach Diet. (Don’t bust his balls dear readers, I did far too much of that for both of us). We had our normal good debaucherous time.
As the band in question came on, we were stuck to the back of the room. Like Baby, nobody puts me in a corner, so I edged us 2/3 of the way to the stage where we held court throughout the set. About three or four songs in, I felt it. I was suddenly the recipient of a shoulder/neck massage. I felt nothing about it. Friends do this. But then it lasted a little (read: LOT) longer than I anticipated. Felt date-like. When I turned around to query, Rocky and I had what I’ll call “A Moment.”
We didn’t kiss. We almost did, but both repelled at the last moment. For the record, in that moment, I would have kissed/gone home with/married him. Instead, we got our coats and awkwardly bid adieu for the evening, me to a cab and him to Katz for a Ruben.
Awkwardly platonic text messages were then exchanged.
Me: “Btw, we were just in a weird place. We’re cool. Love u like a brother…”
Rocky: “Yes-totally-we r good!” There was also one following it calling me “Kiddo.”
In my cab home, (cue the “Carrie” voice) I got to thinking, could this work? I mean, he’s the Harry to my Sally, I love his family and friends, have seen and been seen at both our worst and best, makes me laugh, et al. He is, afterall, my Rocky!
This morning, head aching, my first thought was “but, he’s my Rocky!” After texting to make sure we’re both still alive and mutually not speaking to last night’s ‘moment’ ignored our almost insanity.
After all, he’s my Rocky and why would I want to screw that up?
Labels: Rocky friends with benefits