I really should be studying right now, but I can't stop thinking about some thing, some things, some one. I suppose I chose my own poison by blogging about everything I did here--knowing at the same time that someone, The One that has been there all along...and now reads my blog, however occasionally, without commenting. (I'm sorry, I didn't know what else to call you, though "Romeo" seemed quite accurate for logistical/technical reasons...I didn't (and didn't think you would) like the connotations.)

So here's the story, however briefly, about The One who's been at the back of my mind and in the shadows of my heart during every relationship/friendship/date over the last seven years:

The first time I saw him was at Griffith Park during a cross-country practice meet. My friends make fun of me for my inability to remember personal details about people and events (in contrast to my keen ability to remember scholastic/academic details); however, with The One, most of it is crystal.

I remember standing in the middle of our area by some picnic benches and trees, by myself, and I turned around to watch the guys coming by. Only one person really came into view, and it was him. Our cross-country jerseys were a glaring bright orange, but he was wearing (what I later would find out was) the black track jersey instead, and it looked good on him. He was going fast. I wondered to myself, who is this guy? Well, he was The One who had caught my attention, back then...for no real reason other than the fact that there was something about him.

I believe it was on that bus ride back, me sitting a row or so ahead of him on the left-hand side of the bus, aisle seat, him the row behind me on the right-hand side of the bus, aisle seat, when he leaned over and tapped me on the shoulder.

"What do you think of when you see this picture?"

"Yasser Arafat," I replied.

I should have known it then that the first thing we spoke about would be one of the main things that would come to divide us. How ironic.

"Nono, but what do you *think* of...Arab?..."

I guess I just wasn't taking the bait.

"No...leader of the Palestinians."

I guess he didn't mind my answer because we became friends from there on out, slowly but surely, talking after cross-country practice, hanging outside the locker rooms waiting for our respective rides home. He was quiet and shy, friendly and genuine...he held himself back, but not as much as he does now. One day, I think I initiated it...I got his number. Ah, but how? Well, I had an address book, and I just passed it around to everyone on the team. Simple.

Back then I was a lot more naive...and a lot more straightforward. I gave him a call one day, just to see how he was doing, say hi. Simultaneously we started chatting online. But we were really good at talking on the phone. We had conversations about everything and anything till all hours of the night. The One explained tons of mystical things about guys, I explained a few mystical things about girls. To be honest, he was like the best friend I'd never had. In school we'd see each other sometimes in the hallways in between his Spanish class and my French class...I'd shyly say hi to him and duck in. It was still somewhat awkward in person...on the phone I had his voice, I knew his voice. But sometimes it was weird to be right next to him because I didn't know how to act, was too self-conscious.

Pretty soon my parents noticed my late night talks...with a guy at that. And they started asking me about him. You see, The One is Muslim. A very traditional Muslim, whereas I am Jewish, a relatively traditional Jew (I call myself conservadox). Anyway, my parents are also very overprotective. No dating until marriage. Whaaa? I always wondered how that would work out. And remember, you need to marry a Jewish guy.

I remember the year before right before my Bat-Mitzvah I went with my parents to speak with the Rabbi. He asked me questions with another guy and his family who was also going through the process.

"So...what do you think about marrying someone Jewish?" he asked.

"Well...if they're Jewish they're Jewish. But...if they aren't...and I love them..." I was still an idealistic innocent girl, and my parents stared at me. Hard.

"Of course they MUST be Jewish," replied the other guy, to the beaming and smug smiles of his parents.

That car ride back was one of the longest rides of my life.

Anyway, my parents didn't like me speaking so much with a guy...especially a Muslim guy. They decided to rectify the situation. They took me outside of Fantastic Sams while I waited for my turn at a hair cut. And they yelled at me, taking their turns. But I wouldn't back down.

"What the heck?!" I told them. "It's not like I'm marrying the guy. I'm only talking to him right now."

But to them it was pretty much equivalent. Apparently one thing leads to the other. But heck, I was only 13, a freshman in high school. He was a senior.

My parents continually tried, from then on, to sabotage our phone conversations. You know, how parents do, asking you to perform some ridiculous errand or wash dishes every other minute. I became a dishwashing machine. A fast one.

As the year went by we continued talking. We spoke a lot about our religious differences, but not our differences of opinion. That was not spoken about. Especially the Israeli-Palestinian issue. He told me he could pretty much marry any person as long as they were "People of the Book," meaning monotheistic. I didn't speak much about my situation. Technically in Judaism the mother determines the religion of the baby. So it shouldn't really matter.

Small memories from that one year we were together stuck in my head.

Like being at a friend's sweet 16 birthday party, both of us dressed up...sitting in the quiet candlelight and chatting, with another friend there too, while great soft, slow-dance music played...and really wanting to dance with him, but not wanting to leave out my friend, and not knowing how to initiate. Hoping he would, but knowing it wouldn't happen.

Like going out by the beach during that party and playing on the swings, him giving me his suit jacket. Going back home and smiling for no reason and jumping around as I got into my pjs.

Like sitting on the bus on the way back from a track meet, sharing headphones across an aisleway and listening to music borrowed from a friend.

Like thousands of hugs goodbye after school events or parties. The only "permitted" contact.

Him waiting for me to get my crutches together and walk over to the bus after I had, yet another, run in with a messed up hip injury during a cross-country event. We were the last ones on the bus.

Playing anagrams all afternoon and night. Me winning. He losing.

Playing chess online. He winning. Me losing. (Except for once.) =)

I started going to Chess Club, not only because I was interested in the game, but because The One told me about it. He was really into it. And I got really into it too.

The One introduced me to all my good music: Sarah McLachlan, Andrea Bocelli...Jem.

I remember him going to Northern California for a trip, coming back, and bringing me a picture frame. I was completley surprised. I still have it on my desk. Exactly as he gave it to me, with the little frog with a thermometer and cold pack on it, still in there.

On Valentine's Day I gave everybody candy, but it was awkward giving it to The One. So, just before I got into my carpool's car to leave after practice, standing by the trunk, and him about 20 feet away by the locker area, I yelled his name and threw him the chocolate. I was a coward.

I remember one evening talking on the phone...and after he'd put me momentarily on hold because of another incoming call, hearing a slight smile in his voice. I asked him about that...a couple weeks later I found out he liked me...he spelled out my last name, actually. I felt every letter as if he were writing right onto my heart. I wanted to tell him that I liked him too...but I was too scared. I hoped he knew.

Eventually prom season came around. We danced around the issue...he didn't want to go, I didn't talk about it. Part of me hoped he'd ask. The other part of me hoped he didn't. My parents would never agree. One day a mutual friend of ours asked me if my parents would let me go. I told her, quite clearly, no way. That seemed the end of it. He ended up going to prom, with someone else. I saw pictures. It looked nice.

And then he graduated. Went off to university. I stayed in high school. School work seemed to swallow up both our lives. I still spoke with him on the phone, but it was very rare. It seemed like he wanted to be left alone. I suppose I understood. Even though we didn't speak much anymore, he still plagued my thoughts...and it was impossible for me to even develop a crush on another guy...throughout the majority of high school.

One day he came back to watch a track meet, I remember sitting next to him...he looked at me differently, distantly. After that I stopped all contact. For a while. Still, we would send the occasional email back and forth. Talk every once in a while.

Let's skip over to my freshman year at Berkeley, his senior year at his university. He came to visit during my finals weeks at the end of first semester, while he was up in Northern California visiting family. (Actually, the technicalities of that are a rather contentious issue between us, but in any case, we ended up seeing each other.) I didn't know how to act around him. I was very awkward and nervous. I gave him a lot of space...We talked, played chess, went out to eat...and then, his all-too-short visit, was over.

A couple weeks later, during Winter Break, I finally got up the courage to address the issue. We talked about it. Somewhat on the phone, mostly through email...it was too difficult to talk about any other way. In the end I regretted forcing him through such a decision, about possibly dating. Being a traditional Muslim, he wasn't planning to date at all until marriage. Meaning, he would "court" for marriage at a much later date. I later apologized for this insensitivity on my part...but back then, I was more disappointed.

To me it seemed like he was over me. My best-friend told me that perhaps he just didn't want to hurt my feelings and tell me he didn't like me anymore, so was just pretending things. After all, we had been good friends before, but perhaps he's really moved on. I thought, perhaps, she was right. Indeed, he was very withdrawn, I always seemed to be initiating now...pushing him to get AIM or always being the one to call him. I guess I needed to get rejection through my thick head. He didn't like me.

Soon after I met Jack. Before Jack every person I'd met I had always compared to The One. But, now that The One really and truly didn't seem interested in me...I told myself I needed to get over it. Jack seemed like a wonderful guy. I really started liking him. Still, for the first five months of our relationship I couldn't get The One out of my mind. I became convinced that he was the first guy I actually loved. In a way I am still convinced. (I still never felt the same measure for Jack, which I why I never could tell him I was "in love" with him.) Eventually I came to terms with it, telling Jack about The One and about how one day something would have to be resolved on that front. A small portion of my heart would always remain secreted away, hidden also from myself so that I could continue living.

Although I had feelings for The One, I let the feelings for Jack try and replace them, so I wouldn't have to think about it. As you all know, the thing with Jack fell apart...

Fast forward again to Paris. Over the last month or so, The One and I have begun talking a lot more again. He finally got messenger, we wrote more emails, he found out about my blog site...we spoke on the phone...Perhaps that's where all the old feelings re-re-re-re-re awakened. Unlike The One, who was into the bottling market (bottle bottle bottle those feelings)...I just numbed them.

This time The One brought up the issue. It had been about two years since we'd last talked about it. A lot of his friends (or acquaintances) had married, he was a little older...and worried about it. Eventually, he stopped the bottling and told me he did indeed, have "feelings" for me, but didn't want to, or couldn't deal with them because it "hurt" him. I felt badly that it hurt him, but I was also ecstatic.

We spoke about it a lot. I tried ignoring the fact that he was Muslim...that the one time I had asked him about his general opinion about Israel because I could not believe a person I so admired and liked could ever be so different in opinion on something so dear to me, he had replied honestly that he thought its "existence was illegal"...and I shut up about it. Eventually we came to the somewhat risky proposition of perhaps "courting" when I got back to the States...even though who knows when we'd ever see each other since I was finishing up at Berkeley and he would be going to the East Coast for med school.

I mean, all in all, we've actually seen each other in person twice (maybe thrice at most) since my freshman year in high school, about six years ago...

The thing about The One is that he always seem so detached and enigmatic about his feelings and thoughts...I never know what he's really thinking. At the same time, I'm not really used to talking about my feelings and emotions--I'm not that expressive. Trying to be so with him is very difficult. Requires a Herculean effort on my part...and is sometimes too scary, especially since he still doesn't open up, even after I do. And yet, when he does open up, the nuggets of truth and caring about the issue are, literally breathtaking, genuine without a doubt and often heart rending.

And so, we've spoken about it. However, there's more. We've also spoken about our histories. The One told me about this one girl who there may have been potentially something with, who is also Muslim (so familiar with the whole process of courting, etc)...that he did sort of like, and was pretty sure liked him. However, they hadn't kept in touch after his graduation.

Here's the thing. I really care about him and want him to be happy. I want him to find the one for him that will help him do everything he wants to do, fulfillment emotionally as well as spiritually (religiously). I am not at all able to presume myself capable of this...and would never do so. In honestly wanting him to be happy, I pushed him to get back in contact with this girl. In my honest though, I sabotaged my own feelings (temporarily) for him. As I listened to him speak to me about this other girl, about his possible feelings for her...about whether or not he should email her again when she didn't reply a second time...about how he was unsure about her emotions, and was worried because of that. I realized, perhaps, that I was his choice at that moment only because he didn't have to worry about the rejection he so feared. Only because I was an easy choice to go with. Hey, why not. So I told him to follow his heart on the issue, and I pulled back a little.

A week later I got back home from my travels (we'd spoken online while I was travelling), and the day I got back, German guy came over, we drank a little and hung out...and now you know the rest of the story with him.

Of course, my foolhardiness in detailing everything with the German guy (and now this) on my site is that I fear I've compromised my relationship with The One. That he is now privately disgusted at my ability to be so capricious and unthinking from one moment to the next. That I have made him retire back into his bottling factory...and so convince me that he no longer has "feelings" for me. That he will think this is the best thing to do in order to allow me to pursue the relationship with German guy. Here's the thing though, echoing The One's own words...in truth, I am only looking for the person that's right for me. Ironically enough, in lieu with the pseudonym, I'm looking for "The One"...pulling away just makes it easier to ignore possibility and easier for me to give in to the fear of getting involved in a relationship I fear may be (melodramatically) "doomed," leave me way too vulnerable...and perhaps swallow me whole. And so, I decided, perhaps against my better judgement, to detail nearly everything here...including some divulgences I probably should have kept to myself. I don't know if truth is always the best policy, but at least there's no cover up necessary. So there you go. That's everything.

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