The third party

I am obsessive-compulsive. I am often ruled by my impulses and find it very hard to control them. I’ve always been this way. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s very hard for me to stop.

As I grow older, I find that aging does very little to help me reign my impulsive behavior. On the contrary, actually. The years seem to have made me more resourceful, better at enabling my obsessive-compulsiveness.

About three months ago, I made a decision. It’s not a smart decision and it took me about six months to actually make it, but I finally decided: I will go ahead and hook up with F. It’s wrong and there is no excuse, but I want him. I want to kiss him and find out if sparks will fly, if time will stop, if we’ll be magically suspended in mid air. I want to find out what he tastes like, what his hands feel like on my body, what his lips feel like on the base of my neck.

It’s not fair to him, I know. But do you know what else isn’t fair? The 22 years that stand between us. Where was he when I was seventeen and he would have been age appropriate? Why didn’t I meet him then?

And so I made the decision. I don’t want to hurt him, but I decided that I deserve him. I will commit this little sin, I will make this one mistake. And I will deal with the guilt and whichever other consequence might come my way.

Naturally, I went about making arrangements for my future transgression. And as I began to form a plan, our relationship also began to take shape in my mind. Nothing long term, mind you, as I understand we have no future. But little moments of happiness: lying down next to him, feeling his chest move with his every breath, holding his hand, hearing his voice as he speaks into my hair. And the more I thought of it, the more I wanted it to happen. Not in some quasi-near future, but right now.

And if this had been ten or twenty years ago, that would have been the end of it. But I’m so much better with people now. So I sent him messages – he seemed so eager to begin his adult life – and we agreed that I’d teach him “stuff” when the semester is over. And I was over the moon, as if I was about to ride this roller coaster, huge and frightening and oh so exciting. I was scared, but I was ready for this new adventure.

Of course, this being real life (MY real life), things didn’t go according to plan. F got scared and backed down, claiming that it would be better to wait until he’s older to learn certain things.

I should have been relieved. I should have taken it as a sign and rejoiced in the fact that I would not go against my core values. But I’m not this person. I was not relieved. I made a decision and I had to see it through. I couldn’t stop, not after all I’d lived inside my head.

So I insisted. I’ve been insisting ever since. I can’t let go. It’s not in my obsessive compulsive nature. I need to use up this love until I run out of it, until there’s nothing but regret and “what might have beens”. And the more I try to reach him, the more he drifts away. The nearer I get, the stranger and more unrecognizable our relationship becomes.

Last Wednesday I played my last card. I invited him out to celebrate the end of the semester, the end of my being officially his teacher. He said yes, and as we were agreeing on a date, he gave me the kiss of death: he suggested that his brother could come along. The third party from the title. His brother will be visiting from Europe that week and he could join us. I said “of course, that would be great”, but I understood the implications of his suggestion: nothing is going to happen. It’s over.

Ever since then, I’ve been going over everything that’s happened this last year. Could I have made it all up? Could it be that there has never been anything between us? Thank god for text messages, which ease my mind a little and validate my feelings of reciprocity. He liked me too. Perhaps not anymore, but he was interested in me as more than just a teacher, more than just this idol he put up on a pedestal. I have to cling to this idea, otherwise I’ll go insane.

Why can’t I let it go?

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