We Cuddled...for An Entire Day

I'll start with .. I'm a girl, but a total 'bro.' All my friends are bros, my few girl friends are pro athletes and not the kind I would spill 'deets' and partition for relationship advice. So here I am, word vomiting to the internet again in lieu of possibly imploding.

I don't know exactly how it happened. The 'bro' in question and I have been friends for years. I work for his mother on their farm, I'm best friends with his sister. I spend all the holidays with their family. Beyond my relationship with his family, intimacy is next to impossible for me, I have told this friend before I just want to keep things friendly and surface level. PTSD (post traumatic stress order) is something I internally wrestle with and beat on a daily basis, but simple touch or sitting close to someone usually gives me violent shakes or naseau. Something like vertigo and claustrophobia with a gun pointed to your head, and that's generally how I feel in close proximity to people.

He had told me back in October that he had liked me for years, and I explained my hang ups then. That while on some levels I was attracted to him, I didn't see myself being able to be with him; with anyone. My baggage is my baggage, no one else's. Through that, I think I've become a bit of an enigma for him. He progressively seeks more avenues into my life, at first much to my annoyance. I ride horses professionally, and despite having a sister who is professional equestrian, he began to take lessons from me and is now a pretty proficient rider. I go to art college, and he recently took up technical drawing and painting. Nights were I'm home doing art homework, he often barges with his own supplies for an art party. Wrapping up his degree and prepping for pre med or veterinary, he surprised me the other night by showing me a lot of articles he read recently on PTSD and our current understanding of it. He was very proud of himself, and explained which bio chemicals were producing the (irrational) fear that my body perceives is necessary for survival. It struck me then... this guy is really genuine. In fact, it scared me a little bit... to feel pursued.

So here we are, back on my couch the other night, being bros, normal as any other night. Laughing, being myself, not worried about much, I didn't realize for a few minutes we were holding hands. I'm really not even sure how my hand got there, but he was all giggles and congratulating himself for being slick. As the night and the reefer wore on, we gradually melted into the couch, my hand essentially being held hostage but with little complaining. Refusing to allow him to drive home up the interstate in this condition, I declared around three or four I was going to bed, and he could crash 'here.'

"Here" should have been more specific. Like couch. I'm curled up in my bed with a heap of blankets when I here a 'plop.' Nope, it wasn't my dog. I turned around to protest, and I certainly wasn't expecting to get an eyeful of shirtless (and ... I'll add ... ridiculously sculpted) man. More than likely incapable of speaking at that moment, I rolled back over and began to rationalize with the PTSD voice in my head.

Flee. Flee for your life and your modesty.

Stay. You're being a dork, brain.

The couch is open! No one will breathe on your neck. Go!

Stay. Do one thing that scares you every day. Or you'll never grow and you'll be stuck like this forever.

Yep. That was winning ticket. My mantra for the last four years. I squeezed my eyes shut and exhaled. This is was my one thing that I was doing today that really scared me. A big thing. I was so consumed with arguing with my internal voices, I didn't feel his arm wrap around my waist and pull me close. If it had been anyone else, I would have flipped. But he has a knack for making the stuff I perceive as hard to be easy. And we talked. And laughed. And soul searched. And Vented. And Philosophized. I didn't realize I had been in his arms for an entire night until I saw the light of dawn peeking through my bedroom blinds. I was aghast, I more or less talked to someone all night long. He didn't seem to particularly mind. Around six or seven we drifted off to sleep.

Our alarms went off at various points, we both had class. We both skipped them. Every once in awhile I attempted to rouse him with suggestions of breakfast or pizza from the little italian place around the corner. Nothing was really convincing him. He pulled me closer and we would talk until we fell asleep again. Finally after I saw through the blinds it had become dark outside again, I pried myself away from him and out of bed. I felt AWFUL being so lazy and unproductive, not even playing with my dog all day. But I ... I didn't feel guilty? I had numbed myself and been so devoid of company for so long, I forgot what I liked about it before. His every touch was electric, addictive, even. It seemed irrational how much it impacted me. After all, it was just a touch. Just fingers and skin, muscles and tendons and cell structure. But it felt bigger. Even more strangely, it felt out of my hands... in a higher purpose kind of sense.

I got out of the shower and he was waiting like a puppy dog (with my dog) outside. Suggesting he go and get some pizza and bring it back. Bring it back?! He wants to hang out more?! I took the bite, mostly because i was curious to see where this was leading. He did indeed fetch pizza, brought it back, (post showering and changing) and continued to post out on my couch. Taking some liberties, he resumed cuddling as though this was a familiar thing for me. He also hinted he was not adverse to the idea of spending a second night. Being the Boo Radley introverted hermit that I am, I was blown away that anyone would want to spend that much time around anyone, especially lil' ole me. I laughed (probably teased him) and told him to just go home. He tensed and went quiet, pulling me closer and holding both my hands. He was afraid. That I would change my mind, or this wouldn't happen again. Or that it didn't actually happen, just a quirky hyper real dream from the pot. Apparently he had dreamed about this before. I was at a loss, overwhelmed that someone would just want my company so badly. Knowing that.. well he just knew that he wouldn't be getting what the typical male wants to get in this situation. My brain was running on tumble dry low, I needed to recharge and sent him home, it felt like the right thing to do. Sitting on my couch now, he wasn't too off base. I'm washed over with doubt and desire all at once. Wanting something so badly that I'm worried it's unhealthy, and that together, we wouldn't be healthy for each other. Laundry listing the reasons over and over why it's a terrible idea, or the best idea ever if it does work. Mostly though, I circle back to my PTSD, and how someone like me will go about liking or loving someone else.

It gives me hope, at least. That I can be normal. That I'm not a medical anomaly capable of feeling a limited range of emotions compared to the rest of humanity. For years after my 'event,' all I could experience were basic primitive emotions. Flight or fight. Fear or rationality. If it did not comply with survival it did not compute. I did not feel affection for anything, or rather much of an opinion for anything, aside from my animals. Not depressed, mind you. Complete emotional stoic. That was me.

I hated that, a few times over the last months, especially the other night, I thought he was leaning in to kiss me. I expertly duck out the way, bartered with god, silly stuff really, to get out of having my face so close to someone else's. The thought of it makes me queasy, but then again so did the thought of touching a few months ago. I hate that's the best I can offer him right now. He's a great guy that deserves a lot, but despite what i want, I can't help but feel like he'd have a much easier time liking and pursuing someone else. 
An Ep User An EP User
1 Response Jan 21, 2013

Let him along for the ride with you. It seems he is willing to go the slow route. He knows you beyond the physical, so you have a smooth start. Take a chance. You deserve it.