Recovering Manic Pixie Chick 1.4: The Awkward Midwestern Undergraduate Years/Student Film Will Turn You Slutty: Chris

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Chris was a big fish in a small pond, or rather, a good-sized fish in a small pond. He knew a lot of people on campus and a lot of people knew him. Much of the work done on his low-budget horror comedy came from favors called in from friends or mutual acquaintances from the student film club. At that first meeting, my initial impression of him was “Well, he seems like a nice guy.” I suppose that first impression was mostly right. As mentioned in my previous entry, sometimes the night shoots went well to the 2:00 a.m. point. Being a gentleman, Chris would offer me a ride back to my dorm in his car, which was usually loaded from floor to ceiling with film equipment. We would chat cordially, but I don’t think I ever saw him sexually until a friend of mine looked at his picture online and said, “Hey, he kind of looks like Jude Law.” Keep in mind, this whole time, I’d been having my clandestine encounters on and off with the rather tall, pale and snarky Paul. It was fun, but after awhile, I wanted to be with someone who didn’t make me want to take a shower immediately after he was done touching me. Chris was the polar opposite of that: Eagle scout, white bread, small-town boy with an easy smile and a dorky sense of humor. He was also gentle, if a bit predictable in bed to the point where I referred to him as “missionary position Chris” when discussing him with friends.

Then again, appearances and first impressions aren’t everything. I don’t exactly remember how it started, but we got in the habit of fucking in my dorm room late at night. Or, sometimes he would be editing the movie in his boss’s office and while it rendered, that was more than enough time to have sex. He was a bit paranoid about being caught to the point where he actually pocketed the condom instead of disposing of it in a bathroom garbage can. Still, it was all just a bit of fun.

After the encounter with Paul during the intermission of the student film festival, I saw Chris that night. In a weird, twisted way, that was when I figured out that I didn’t like Paul at all and actually wanted to do the exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend thing with Chris. After a confusing tear-filled conversation, Chris and I sorted things out... and by sorted things out, I mean we had awkward quiet sex that night.

Things sort of came to a head when at Chris’s 21rst birthday, I helped his roommates carry him back to his dorm and then when he suddenly leaned in and kiss me, one of the guys said something to the effect of “Wait a minute, you two just kissed.” This should have been the first sign that something was wrong. Of course, I understood perfectly why he wouldn’t want to publicize that we were having sex to the crew. Thinking back on it now, their surprise might have been more due to “Wait a minute, you two just kissed (and you’re not his actual girlfriend).”

I had to move out of the dorm and back to my parents’ place over the summer. Once again, there was a complete lack of summer romance, especially considering I was still in love with the young man I left behind. We didn’t exactly discuss any sort of agreement one way or another, but once the school year started again, he treated me rather coolly. I was naive to think I was ever his girlfriend. Yet it still took me over a year to get around it. If I thought I had entered a descent with Paul, I found that there was a deeper abyss past the ledge I had landed on. It didn’t help that I found that despite being able to graduate about a year, I still had no plans or prospects for employment after graduating.

One night, I wrote an impassioned open letter on my social networking profile, most likely while under the influence of alcohol. To my surprise, he actually responded sometime around unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

As a test, I made like nothing had changed and that something close to a year really hadn’t passed since our last encounter. I gave him a hug. He smelled like the same Cameron, a warm sunshine-like smell tinged with sweat amid the old leather of his brown coat and light scent of beer from a night out drinking with his friends on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. At first I reached around the coat, feeling its softness from wear and variable roughness like suede and smoothness like skin. It wasn’t a part of him, so naturally there was no real change there. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a metaphor for something since I really hadn’t seen him wear it in a long time. Was I like an old brown leather jacket, something comforting to return to no matter how often I got tossed aside? The thought was ridiculous. I really hadn’t seen him at all, let alone pay attention to what he was wearing when I did.

The following scene had two possibilities:

1. INT. RECOVERING’S APARTMENT--LATE NIGHT

RECOVERING

(pulling away from CHRIS)

I’m not going to have sex with you.

CHRIS

(taken aback)

I wasn’t expecting anything. I just wanted to make peace.

2) INT. RECOVERING’S APARTMENT--LATE NIGHT

RECOVERING

(hugs CHRIS even tighter)

I’m glad to see you again, it’s been too long.

CHRIS

(smiling, pulling back to look RECOVERING deeply in the eyes)

I’m glad I came.

I’ll let you readers draw the conclusion as to which scene was the more accurate. He sat next to me, but on the opposite end of the couch despite the personal space I had already breached.

“I read the letter you posted on your profile.”

“I know.”

Technically, the sex was the same. Sex is never an original act, considering how long it’s been around, but there are slight nuances which make it different from person to person. Paul was violent. Chris was more reserved and a bit nervous, eager to please. However, this time, I sensed complacency, the attitude of “been there, done that.” It was then that I finally realized physically what I had known somewhere unconsciously all along: Chris did not love me. He most likely didn’t even respect me. Perhaps he never did, but even that didn’t matter anymore. It seemed like the one thing I had wanted most that year: to get him back in bed either sleeping next to me or making love to me, was the one thing I would most regret allowing to happen. In the time he and I weren’t speaking, I didn’t really miss him, per se, just missed the safe feeling I had with him. Now the whole experience was just tainted as yet another three month stand.

I later found out from a mutual friend that Chris had a fight with his girlfriend (now wife) about his drinking that Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Mainly he likes to get drunk and at the very least, he certainly liked fucking me, she was pretty much anti-drinking and anti-sex from what I gleaned from my limited interactions with her. I had also found out that Chris had also at some point hooked up with one of the lead actresses, the producer’s ex-girlfriend and someone from the advertising program around that time. For a time, I developed a complex about that, wondering if I was just “that girl” the disposable one that guys had fun with until they found a “nice, respectable girl” to settle down with. That complex would eventually come back to haunt me later.

So yes, that is the story of how I technically cheated on someone, but the cheating was mutual. I’m not saying that made it ok, especially considering I didn’t know what the fuck was going on at the time. For the longest time, I thought that Chris was the greatest love of my young adult life. In retrospect, I am glad that I was wrong.