i fell in love with a women that worked at the woodhill plaza. it happened on my first day. she worked at the only office in the building that never closed, a 24-hour children’s triage hotline. we’ll call her julia.
at first it was a secret crush. trying to flirt with a woman while she’s a work just seemed like a bad idea. especially when i was the janitor. it was actually her that broke the ice. all she did was ask my name on the way back from her cigarette break, but it was enough.
we became friends after that and eventually exchanged numbers. one of her friends tried to convince her not hang out with me when i asked the first time. at first she cancelled our plans, but she changed her mind an hour later.
i wasn’t sure if what we were doing could be called a date. we never kissed or held hands, but i did the spent the night. sleeping on the floor. it was a weird move on my part because i’m pretty sure she offered to share her bed with me.
a decade later she told me that she wanted to sleep with me back then. besides my complete failure at reading signals, i’m not sure why it never happened. we started hanging out several times a month. we kissed one night in her bed, but nothing became of it. i don’t remember why we stopped.
she wasn’t the only person who i met during my time as a janitor. i also became friends with a women named quyhn that worked on the second floor. i saw her on myspace one day so when i got home i found her profile and said hi.
looking back that was an insane thing to do. but social media was so new and people were still excited about it. we hadn’t really established any rules about messaging strangers yet. up to that point, strangers were the only people you talked to online.
quyhn was delighted to receive my email. we started hanging out, but only a handful of times. we went to a college party once. i slept over at her place once after hanging out with julia.
it never occurred to me until recently that quyhn may have also been trying to sleep with me. the night i slept over she kept trying to get me to sleep in her bed instead of on the couch. we didn’t hang out a lot after that. maybe she felt rejected.
my failure to pick up on signals with two women in a row likely came from disinterest in sex at the time. i was young and inexperienced. sex made me nervous.
i was always worried about making my partner uncomfortable so i never made a move unless i was sure it was okay. and i’d still apologize about it later. i grew out of this in my mid-20s, but i’m sure it was frustrating for the people involved.
julia was leaving for france to study abroad for six months so we hung out as much as we could. most of the time we just got high and wandered around minneapolis. i used to make fun of her for loving uptown as much as she did. the joke was on me when i moved there ten years later.
we lost touch after she left. i moved on. started dating other people.
a year later i was driving around uptown with my new girlfriend and i saw her walking around. i texted her to confirm that it was her. we started talking again, but we never scheduled a time to hang out.
a few years later we started hanging out again. a lot. she had a boyfriend, but every thursday we would go bowling together. we kissed one night in my car. they broke up shortly after and we started dating.
i had waited five years for this moment.
it didn’t work out. we were both exhausted from previous relationships that we didn’t know how to be together. i still loved her, but she wasn’t the person i met at the woodhill plaza anymore. she drank a lot. more than me. and i just couldn’t do it anymore.
i still miss her. she’s sober now. we still talk sometimes. but i haven’t seen her in a few years. every time we hang out i fall in love all over again. but it will happen again. we’re just too different. always have been. i’m not sure why we were dating to begin with.
we were both lost and found each other, i guess.