It came as no surprise when he asked me out for a drink, I already caught him staring at a party. When I heard through the grapevine that he had taken a liking to me, my suspicions were confirmed. I had heard of Kernov through friends’ stories, yet somehow we had never met before the party at our mutual friend Arizona’s house.
Not that I know Arizona that well either. He came into my life about 2 weeks before the party but soon managed to squeeze himself into my schedule and we ended up meeting almost every other day. At times I wonder whether we are becoming friends, or whether we are only in the waiting room to start dating. He never openly flirts with me, but he messages me every day, picks eye lashes of my cheeks and invites me to hang out on activities that my friends call dates. Yet we don’t date and I still feel a disconnect. While this post should be about Kernov, Arizona is always lurking just around the corner. Quite literally.
Kernov and I meet up at a cafe on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. We sit outside and talk while watching people pass by. Suddenly I recognise a familiar face across the street. You guessed it, it’s Arizona. He looks at us but he doesn’t stop, just grins and walks on. I try to go back to the conversation I’m having with Kernov, but my mind wanders to the probability of him accidentally passing by. Granted, Arizona lives in the neighbourhood, but considering he knew about our date, his timing seems too convenient to be just a mere coincidence. I try to put it out of my mind and focus on Kernov’s travel stories instead. He’s telling me about his aspirations and his struggles, entertaining me with the kind of conversations I enjoy having by skipping small talk all together. When he’s staring at the table, trying to find the words to describe one of his travel experiences, I take advantage of him being deep in thought to observe his face. Boyish, but with a hairline that is starting to reveal his true age. Hair slightly curly, nose slightly bent. There’s a sense of content you get from looking at his face.
After finishing our drinks we visit a flea market nearby. We walk around pointing out the crazy and the precious items others have discarded. As I pick up a painting to show to Kernov, he leans in and for a split second my heart flutters. It was only a glimpse, making me wonder whether this is a spark or just some awakened raging hormones of a twenty-something virgin.
As I grab my bike to go home after our date, I text Arizona to ask whether it was a coincidence he was passing by at the exact same time Kernov and I were there. He gives me a vague explanation and asks me if I want to hang out with a couple of friends tomorrow instead. The next day I go over to Arizona’s place. As I’m hanging out with Kernov and Arizona at the same place at the same time, it really sinks in. That split second of attraction will never turn into minutes, hours nor days as long as Arizona is in the picture.