I hallucinate my phone is vibrating. It’s in my pocket, I feel it twitching against my leg. The nerves in my leg are lying to me. My phone is stone cold, silent, unmoving. It’s driving me crazy. It’s making me want to eat an entire pint of ice cream. Giving me the urge to watch a romantic comedy and add my own commentary Like this would ever happen in real life. Jesus. Oh of course just when you start loosing hope, he makes a grand gesture, OF COURSE. There’s no way you’d end up together! This is bullshit! Oh fuck you and your 360° kiss in the rain! Lies! Propaganda! LIES!
I’m suffering severe PSOSD- Post Sleep-Over Stress Disorder. Someone slept over. Nothing was defined. Is it a one time thing, or more? Will you ever see this guy again? What the hell is he thinking? Everything is unknown and you feel out of control. You don’t even have control over yourself, oxytocin has robbed you of that. And so you cope by yelling at shitty movies on Netflix instant. This is why I (try to anyway) avoid one-night stands.
I try the typical route of distraction. PSOSD initial treatment: immerse yourself in activities and friends. If I was always waiting for a boy to call, I’d be in fantastic shape. PSOSD drives me to the gym. I leave my phone out of sight, where it can’t fool my nerve endings, and run as if I can escape all thoughts of men. I have no control over their actions but I have full control over myself on a treadmill, and if I run fast enough, the beating of my heart and the heaving of my lungs drown out anything else.
I get back from the gym, sweaty but revived, no longer seeking ice cream or Reese Witherspoon to yell at. I’ve regained control. I glance at my phone and lo and behold, it’s blinking with the text message I almost forgot I was hoping for. That settles it, not a one time thing. Phew, because I don’t want a one-night stand (I never have), I want the full six-week whirl-wind fling my heart is now set on.
PSOSD cured: I see him every day that week. He makes me laugh, whispers sweet South African nothings in my ear, heats up my bed, and snuggles me to sleep. Later he’ll cook me huge helpings of Italian pasta. What more could you want from a mid-winter fling?
Then we enter dangerous territory. He meets my friends. All guys I have dated in Manhattan thus far have failed the friend check. They’ve all embarrassed me, left unfavorable impressions that raise my girl friends’ eyebrows “Really? You’re dating him?” Safa passes with flying colors. “I really like him!” Says my bestie who is very hard to please, “He’s really sweet and really cute. You’re sure he has to leave in 6 weeks?” Yes, yes I’m sure. Past the PSOSD, the usual freak outs of “Where is this going!?” are a non-issue. It’s ending in 6 (5 now) weeks. The expiration is a comfort, a convenience. I feel in control.
The middle of whirl wind week 4, counting down, he texts me “I need to talk to you, let’s meet for coffee.” Dangerous territory. That’s a set-up to a break-up scenario if I ever saw one. Slashing the 6 weeks in half? Why? We’re having so much fun! So much for thinking I knew where this was going. I brace myself, meet him for coffee. If this was one of the rom-coms I had been yelling at earlier, I would have cut him off before he even had the chance to say anything. But no, I let him speak, crossing my fingers I don’t have to hear another version of “I think you’re great, but…”
“I’m having issues with my housing,” he says. Yes, you’ve complained about that before. “I really can’t stand the people I’m living with now- I have to get out.” Is this some stupid analogy: I need to get rid of my flat-mates like I need to get rid of you? “So I wanted to ask you,” he takes my hand and continues, “Could I maybe stay with you? While I look for another place?” Whoa. Whoa. Was not expecting that.
[Click to continue The Safa Boy Series with Part Three]