So it should come as no surprise, to anyone who reads this blog, that every Wednesday night I play Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, the Role playing game. Though there may be many who read this who are acquainted with the term Role Playing…and that it can be fashioned into a “game”….allow me to explain:
Dungeons and Dragons is basically a story telling game where you take on the persona of a “character” through which you affect the world that the DM (Dungeon Master) has made up. It relies on the ability of not only the DM to be a good story-teller but also for the players to be able to take the story line and make it their own. Acting out there parts in the story according to their own roles…I’ve played Knights (specifically Paladins..which are knights that are holy warriors of a particular god) a lot….but for this time I play Therrin. Therrin is a half-orc (Think BIG, STRONG, TOUGH, NOT PARTICULARLY HANDSOME human/orc halfbreed) Rogue (Thief basically…they don’t call it that anymore so that the books are more PC..but that’s what he is.)
Therrin and His brother Juris (a half-elf Paladin..played by my good friend Rob) are part of a group called “The Justicars.” And we are on a quest to save the world….from an evil cult…who’s trying to destroy it.
Now you’ll notice that I said Rob plays Therrin’s Brother. And that Therrin is a Half Orc and Juris is a Half Elf….Same human mother…decidedly different fathers. And by their chosen professions….a Rogue and a Holy Knight….they grew up with very different lives.
This makes for some phenomenal story telling…and some comical moments when they introduce themselves as brothers. This is all a story for another day. I tell you this for you to understand that Rob and I role play our basic “real world” relationship.
We are like brothers. I have known him now for 20 years. He is a police officer and prior to that was a United States Marine..and saw active duty during Desert Storm.
We met when our wives (who worked together at the time) decided to have a double date for dinner.
My wife and Rob’s wife remain pleasant acquaintances
Rob and I instantly became friends and remain as close as brothers to this day…so much in fact…it reflects in our weekly sessions of Make Believe!
Any way….You need to know this to understand a revelation that was dropped into our laps last night…
During the course of our game, the DM had to take a break to take a phone call. This left the 5 of us playing the game..some time to chit chat….and during the course of our conversation I learned that Rob and I came very close to meeting ten years before I met him….or at least our souls passed very close by each other….around the gravitational orbit of another soul…..
During the course of our conversation, Rob mentions he dated a girl that worked at the dollar cinema which is located in my home town of Chalmette…
My ears picked that up and I instantly responded with, “Really? What was her name?”
“Jodie.” He says.
“<Her maiden name>?” I respond.
Our eyes locked and I’m pretty sure his mouth hit the table.
“Holy shit.” He said
“Huh….” I responded “…I know Jodie well. We spent a lot of time together when I worked there.”
“Really?” he asked, “How well?”
“Pretty well…” I answered “She lived on <The name of her street>. I used to drive her home when she went out with us after work.”
“Yep….She and I worked together a lot!! I used to take her home all the time..” I answered
“Ha” he laughed, “Well, yeah…I did too.”
Of course I know what he means, “Yeah well….never went that way for me…”
“Dude, we actually broke up over something really stupid…” He offered
“…Ha…I was with her that night.”
“Dude!?! no fuckin way.”
“Yep…I remember she said she wanted to go out with the rest of us after work…She broke up with her boyfriend the night before and She wanted to just go out and have fun.”
“Did you and her start dating then?”
“Nope…I never dated her…” I admitted
“Really?” He had a confused expression… “But you guys used to hang out?”
“Yep…all the time.” I started to understand his expression.
“Hmph….She was hot.”
“Yes, She was…” I agreed.
The rest of the table was eating this up. 4 other guys were having a field day amusing themselves over the fact that Rob and I knew the same Woman, 30 years ago…
we talked so long about it, it delayed our big “final fight” in the game until next week…
Rob, obviously, “knew” her better than I did…and yes…of course…I was the one that had been “friendzoned”
So actually, that is what this post is about…
Not necessarily that Rob and I knew Jodie at the same time…
But about what our Roles were with her…
And how are roles were perceived…even to this day…about what they assume they know about our degree of intimacy with her…
I don’t know exactly what Rob’s level of intimacy with her was…I know what he suggests it was….
But here is mine…
was about 5’5″ tall
with a deep olive complexion
black kinky hair in tight curls
thick and mostly tied up in a pony tail
or one of those “Banana clips”
Deep dark eyes
with soaring cheekbones
That made her eyes smile
when she did
They would squint closed
The bigger she smiled
She was a sweet soul
From the moment we
began working together
She was never afraid
to show affection for Me
I remember exactly the way
She used to hug me tightly
when she got to work
a soft kiss on the cheek
after which she always wiped away
between movie rushes
eating popcorn behind the concession stand
She standing so close
sometimes WAY too close
arm sliding around my waist
with a gentle squeeze before She left
So we were friends, yes
Maybe I was “friendzoned”
But I have to tell you…
I don’t understand the aversion to the term
I understand what it’s meant to express
That you have been
completely removed from all hope
of an intimate relationship with a woman
Are you kidding me?
Are you fucking kidding me?
So here’s what Friendzoning meant
as it related to Jodie and I
any part of Her
that wasn’t appropriate
in polite company
any part of Me
That wasn’t bare skin
to be exposed in public
But that didn’t mean
that when she hugged me
that when she stood next to me
and leaned her hip against mine
That at any point
when I could feel her body heat
even through layers of fabric
that my heartbeat didn’t respond
and my blood didn’t race through my veins
We spent hours together
more at work
than outside of work
but I remember the night
She broke up with her “boyfriend”
Who, I had no idea, would 30 years later
be a brother-of-other-blood to me
I remember that night
because we all when out
and She didn’t find that it made her happy
To talk with the others…
She and I played pool
She asked me to show her how to shoot
We did the cliche’ moviescript
leaning over the back pose
I felt her hair beside my face
I felt her body under mine
I felt the skin of her arm against my own
I felt her snuggle into our formation
rather than pull against it
I felt the smile in her voice
when she made a crack about
not being “good at this”
I remember after the game
she asked me to take her home
and when we drove to her house
we sat in my 1984 olds coup
not about her breakup
just about things
And she reached out
and took my hand
and She held it
for a long time
not nearly long enough
for my pounding heart
But long enough
for her to lift her hand….
fingers still tangled in my clumsy paws
to wipe tears away
that I felt
hot and wet on the back
And that is where this “friendzone” term
can really fuck-off
Because I ask you…
if there is any place more intimate to be???
Beautiful, warm, affectionate, powerful creature
found the solace She needed
to relax her defenses
when they had obviously been breached
When she took that banana clip out of her hair
and I breathed in whatever fruit-flavored Shampoo she used
like it was life-giving oxygen
That she understood
she was perfectly safe and secure
That She could rest her heart on mine
and have nothing in the entire universe to fear from me
that any woman
anywhere else in this universe
finds enough strength
to let her guard down and be who she really is
even if it’s just for a couple of hours
at 2 in the morning
in front of her parent’s house
sitting in those fucking bucket seats
in that stupid piece of junk
that I inherited from my parents
Did I love her? Yes. Absolutely.
Was I sexually attracted to her? Yes.
Was She sexually attracted to Me? I don’t know….maybe?Did She love Me? Absolutely.
That…is worth more to me…than any possible sexual relationship I could have ever had with her……ever
I’ll take my role with Her, over his…any day. Our remembrances of her…are not equal.