At the age of 17, I had an almost relationship with a cute Danish girl (who, like pretty much all of my exes, has now grown up, gotten married and had at least one baby. Her first child was one she had with her boss' son, although she did stress that it was planned.). I say almost relationship because it wasn't really a genuine one. I was certainly attracted to her, and I think she was to me. We shared a lot too - sent letters to each other with photos, chatted on MSN for hours and compared our woes, many of which centred around the myriad of crushes we both had and how we weren't getting anywhere with them.
As you do.
It took me a few months to realise that I no longer cared that I wasn't getting anywhere with the crushes I had at home, because I had her. Realistically, on account of the fact that she was in Jutland and I was in North London, this wasn't going to go anywhere either. Neither of us entertained the fact that it would, but at the same time, there was this little spark there, something that seemed to suggest that - through some fortuitous circumstance (and the fact that I'd been saving money...) - we may end up together.
At the same time, closer to home, my token black friend had had a bit of a breakthrough, insofar as he'd asked out the girl in our year who he fancied (and who quite clearly fancied him back), and she'd said yes. It took a while to get him to do it, with various tactics involving a steady stream of encouragement from the Manics fan and Lightsinthesky repeating "ask her out, ask her out, ask her out" like a stuck record. He held off all the way through her birthday party and, finally, asked.
"We should organise a multiple date," said Lightsinthesky while we walked back from town after decamping to McDonald's to discuss recent events. I mean, you've now got [here he said the name of my token black friend's new girlfriend], and I've got [here he said the name of his new girlfriend], and you've got [here he said the name of my Danish friend.]"
"Not really," I said. "It's not a real relationship. I mean, it might be. I'm not sure what it is."
"Well, have you asked her?"
"No," I admitted slowly. "We just talk a lot. Most of the time, really. We just stay up late and talk."
At which point my token black friend walked into a wall. He'd been in a happy daze for the rest of the day; it was nice to see him in such a delighted mood.
And so the uncertainty continued. On and on and on it went, with her sending me art she'd made and me sending her photos of my face; discussing politics and religion and the Danish school system took up far too much of my time, which I should have spent doing homework. But it made me feel less lonely and a little more valued, and the fact that neither of us had said it wasn't a relationship kept the option open, if only for a short while.
After a few months she kind of vanished. She still reappeared occasionally, but she spent less and less time online, and rarely texted any more. I was kind of relaxed by this point - had my first kiss with Soldiergirl, my first sexual experience with Esque, and was heading towards my first real relationship with Rebecca - when I saw her pop up online again. I said hello, asked her how she'd been, and was wondering if she was all right, as she'd been quite quiet recently.
She told me that she had a boyfriend. She even showed me a picture.
Now I think about it, I probably should have felt differently. But all I felt at that point was relief. She had moved on with her life just as I'd been thrown headlong into mine. And, to her credit, she was happy, and no longer confused as to what she wanted. She started paying attention at school, went on to college, got a different boyfriend, and what I've heard recently, all is fine.
As much as I'd enjoyed the uncertainty while it lasted, I was relieved that it was over. Now I knew where I stood... and I was free to carry on with my own love life, which was soon to reach fever pitch. It just hadn't quite happened... not yet, anyway.
Something nobody's ever asked me about is who the girl on my "About ILB" button is. Well, that's her. It's a sketch of her I drew back in the day, when she mentioned being so confused. I sketched her, along with a few other people (realistically, I did a lot of these, including 47, TMF, Louise, Soldiergirl, and myself, but she was the first one I did), and sent these people their sketches by post. She put hers up on the wall.
No point in waiting for someone to ask, I guess. Time to tell the story. So, in fact, I have.