• Brandon Quinlan

To Her

To her,

I’m not sure if it’s completely over between. I can’t really tell, but it sure feels like it is to me. You say you want to be friends, but nothing about our previous, more intimate, relationship tells me that we can actually have a functional friendship. I haven’t put as much emotional energy into anything like I have with you over the past 9 months. I have also gotten flaked on and shoved aside by you time and time again while watching you lie straight to some of your friends faces just to avoid telling them no for some reason. When I’m alone with you it feels like you are 100% real with me, but then you act in ways that directly contradict things that you’ve told me in those moments. Then you act distant and push me away in any way you can find when we aren’t together. Do I believe the private moments that we’ve shared together? Or do I trust your actions the other 99% of the time?

About 18 months ago I was single and living with my best friend and his girlfriend, Jay and Jessie. Us 3 along with 1 other guy, Conner, had been an incredibly tight-knit group ever since we all graduated college. We hung out every weekend and although we ventured out into our larger friend circle occasionally this was our core group. Every once in a while, one of us would have an obligation to hang out with their work friends or their old sorority sisters or their high school friends. This is where our story begins.

One night when I was laying on my couch relaxing with my dog watching The Office while my roommate was having sex in the other room, I received a text. It was from one of my oldest friends, Brennan. When I moved to Texas in the middle of high school he was one of the first people to introduce himself to me. Brennan was always a good friend, but I’d say I pretty regularly took him for granted trying to make other, “cooler, friends. It wasn’t until senior year that I was finally entrenched as part of his friend group. Me, Brennan, and a few other people had a big group that went to prom together, went on a Senior trip summer vacation together and regularly hung out until we left for college. That’s when we went our separate ways. He went to Alabama and I went to Oklahoma. We’d occasionally hang out on holidays, but we spent these years making new friends and relationships.

I graduated a year before many of my friends and moved home to live with my parents to save money. The only other person who I knew and was also back at home? Brennan. We hung out again as if nothing had changed, but he spent a lot of timing trying to network with his school’s alumni. I didn’t have much interest in doing this because I was just waiting for my friends to graduate and move here. After hanging out again as if nothing had changed for about a year we separated again. I bought a house and my closest friends had arrived. Brennan seemed like he had found a group of friends through his networking efforts so I didn’t feel bad for kind of leaving him behind.

So on this day he sends me a text. “Hey a group of us are doing volleyball on Thursday nights if you want to join the team?”

At this point I had developed a regular habit to not responding to Brennan’s invites to parties and activities. I had gone to a few of his events and just wasn’t really a fan of his friends. So I had to ask myself, do I want to commit to 6 weeks of hanging out with these people? That’s when I had a flashback to the previous summer.

I’ve loved playing sand volleyball since college when me and my friends would get really drunk at the pool and challenge people to sand volleyball during the summers at our apartment complex. Since graduating I’ve tried joining a team with my co-workers. We weren’t very good, got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, and then they didn’t invite me back the next year because taller people got hired… Then the previous Summer I tried to get my crew together to try to win it all. Unofotunately, this may have ended some friendships. We all knew eachother too well and none of us were really good enough to tell eachother what to do. We went 0-7 and decided not to play anymore.

I really wanted to play despite not really caring for the people because I figured it’d still be fun and maybe we’d win a set or 2. I said that I was down and Brennan added me to the group. I hadn’t met most of the teammates before so it turned out alright. Some of the people on the team actually seemed kind of cool. At this point I was accepting Brennan’s invite slightly more regularly. Maybe his friends aren’t that bad? Not sure yet. At a holiday party I even had a really long conversation with one of the girls about college football. Usually I can’t stand talking college football with Alabama fans because they won’t get off their high horse. She grew up as a USC fan though so she wasn’t as up the SEC ass as the rest of them.

As her and I sat on the couch talking about sports I really wanted to try to kiss her. I had 3 issues. 1. One of Brennan and I’s high school friends was at the party and he decided that he would sit next to me on the couch this entire time, couldn’t make out with her without looking rude and not making out with him. 2. We were adults now. Is it still cool to just randomly start hooking up with someone on the couch at a party anymore? 3. I was getting pretty drunk at this point. When I get really drunk I have a tendency to feel nauseous. I am usually able to manage it, but that becomes much more difficult when kissing someone. I know this because in college I brought one girl home from the bars in this state and ended up pausing our hook up session on the couch to go throw up in the bathroom. Long story short, she left shortly afterwards. I wasn’t going to do that again. I decided to call it a night and leave the party.

When that volleyball season ended I took a hiatus from the group. We didn’t play volleyball in January-March. I have a tendency to get really competitive so I needed to find some sort of competition to fill my time. Me and my crew, along with occasional guest appearances, decided to spend almost every Saturday for those 12 weeks at a local bar dominating at trivia. I also started dating a girl off of a dating app during this time.

Short interlude about this girl. She showed up to our first date wearing her own bowling shoes (we were going bowling), enjoyed college football, and regularly had board game/trivia nights with her friends. Starting off, she seemed like a perfect fit for me. The first few dates went really well. On our 3rd date we got really drunk together at a 90’s country cover band concert and went back to her place. It was that time of the month so we didn’t do anything R-rated, but she did ask me to stay the night with her. This was the first time since I lost my virginity that I had stayed over at a girl’s place or vice versa. Things started going downhill at this point because I have a tendency to get paranoid with girls. I somehow convinced myself that it wasn’t her time of the month and that she just didn’t want to sleep with me for some reason. She started becoming less free to hang out, but we were still able to have a valentine’s date. This was the first time I’d gone on a Valentine’s date since I used the holiday to break up with my 6th grade girlfriend. Any way, she continued to remain more and more busy over the next few weeks that I, in an attempt to be petty, decided that I would no longer turn down invitations in an attempt to fill up my own calendar. We broke things off shortly after this around the middle of March, but I was set on continuing this mission.

Volleyball season 2 came around in early April. I was going to use this season to actually try to build relationships with my teammates. They won’t invite me to things if I remain closed off to them. I started actually showing up early and staying late to our games to hang out with my new teammates. I was starting to notice that 2 of the girls on the team fancied me a bit. Sam and her roommate. When I went out with the group to watch the NCAA Basketball national championship I stayed late talking to her roommate for about 3 hours after the game ended and everyone else left. At the next volleyball game Same asked for my phone number and started inviting me to things. Someone other than Brennan was now inviting me to activities with this group of friends.

“So I think 2 of the girls on my volleyball team are into me.” I told Jay and Jessie after receiving a text from Sam that Friday. She said that her and her roommate were going out and wanted me to join. This was the first time I had to say no on my tour of accepted invitations. I already had plans to attend a party with Jay and Jessie. “I don’t know if I like either of them, but it’s fun to flirt with them.” I continued.

“Don’t lead either of these girls on.” Jessie told me as we got in her car to drive to the engagement party.

Over the next few weeks, I would hang out and drink with these girls at volleyball and then when Sam would invite me to hang out I would make up excuses every time. I was trying to listen to Jessie’s advice. Sam clearly had an interest in me, but I was doing my best to avoid that. My other that was, “What if her roommate is the one who’s into me, and Sam is just trying to get me out because she doesn’t want to be too forward?” I definitely liked hanging out with her roommate more, but figured I shouldn’t take the risk. I did use the next few volleyball games to flirt with her roommate as much as possible though. It seemed like we were getting closer so I gave her my number at one of our games. She put it in her phone and that was it. Never texted me, never gave me her number.

It was late June at this and I forgot to mention that I had been going on a number of dates off of dating apps. The goal was to hopefully find someone that could keep me from making any kind of mistakes with either of these 2 girls. The one I enjoyed their time didn’t seem to like me back. So I needed to place my attention elsewhere. Most of these dates didn’t lead to anything, except 1. Her name was Emily and she was an elementary school teacher. Things started up with Emily at the worst time. We went on our first 2 dates in a 3-day period and things were going well. That weekend she was leaving to house-sit for her parents for a few weeks in Austin and I was attending a housewarming party with all of the Bama alums.

Most of this party was spent chit chatting with people that I hadn’t met before. Although I was saying yes to their invites, I remained distant to the group to avoid making any stupid mistakes. I spent much of the day in the mini pool in the backyard with this girl with huge boobs joking about our weird and funny interactions on dating apps since she had recently broken up with her longtime boyfriend. A number of the new friends would engage me during this party asking what was going on between me and Sam’s roommate. I gave no information.

Why do these people need to know or even care what is going on? Plus, as far as I’m concerned nothing is going on. I still don’t have her number and I went on a date with Emily literally yesterday.

When it started getting dark I had to get out of the pool. I was a little too drunk to avoid things now and picked the spot next to her on the couch while everyone slowly gathered in the living room to play games. We flirted and giggled to ourselves for a bit until the games started. We started playing what they called “The questions game”. This was a drinking game in which the goal is essentially either to get drunk or embarrass your friends.

But these weren’t really MY friends. They were people I’d occasionally hang out with, but I didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t know which funny questions to ask and honestly didn’t really care to learn anything about most of the people in the group.

Here’s how the game worked. Everyone wrote questions on slips of paper and put it in a big bowl. The bowl was then passed around the circle and everyone would draw 1 question out. When it was your turn you would say your answer to the question aloud. Anyone who wanted to read the question would have to drink for a certain number of seconds. E.g. Someone reads their card and then says “4 inches” aloud. If you wanted to read the question you would have to drink. Then you’d see that the question said “how big do you think Nick’s penis is?”

I only remember a couple of things from this game. The first is that one of the couples ended up in a fight because one of the questions was about their sex life. The second happened to be a question about me. It got to be the turn of this guy named Zach. He didn’t go to Bama with the rest of them so he was kind of an outsider like me. Him and I hadn’t talked much as he was just part of the group because he was dating one of the Bama girls and again, I didn’t really care much to get to know these people. I wanted to ensure that I could come and go in this group as easily as possible. Zach read his card, looked over at me, and then simply said, “Yes.”

The entire room started to chatter and everyone wanted to know the question. Because of the mass interest they made hm just simply read the question out loud. “Would me and her hook up?” was the question. (Obviously using our real names). The room erupted while her and I sat there quietly without looking at each other. We’ve still never discussed this situation to this day.

The night started to come to a close as everyone stood up and started cleaning up. One of the hosts of the party, James, who was dating one of her closest friends came up to me and whispered to “go for it”. I remained aloof saying I didn’t know what he was talking about. I mean, I had just gone on a date last night. I left, but had some things to think about.

Maybe this is more than I thought. Everyone else who knows her better seems to think that I should pursue this thing…

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