I’m sinking slowly, so hurry hold me. Your hand is all I have to keep me hanging on.All I Wanted – Michelle Branch
My goal for the summer was simple – to have fun. Unfortunately, my life unfolded like the love triangle story between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer on LOST – full of fun, chaos, jealousy, and hurt. Despite the insanity with Nick, I am quickly enamored by the local music scene and meet a bunch of the musicians in town. One night at the end of April, I meet Josh, a local musician, for the first time at one of his gig’s. The first thing I notice is his bad ass drumming. He’s playing a stand up drum kit and the percussion that he incorporates is so intricate and thought out.
We spend time on his breaking talking about music, my degree in Sign Language and how he used to be Captain of the beach patrol. I teach him how to fingerspell our names in sign language while he teaches me my name and the alphabet in semaphore. He mentions that he’s heard me sing. My mom played him a demo CD I made with Christy a year or two before. He wants me to get up and sing the next time he plays. Wow, really? You guys do this for a living and you want me to get up and sing? It could be fun. I tell him that I’ve heard him before too. I’ve spent the past two months listening to his friend’s original CD that he plays on and I request a song – they play the song and I turn into a fan girl, taking a video and singing along to every word. I am loving it!
After I move home, I start to go out to his gigs more and more. We always have a great time, but our fun times are cut short because of my relationship with Nick. It’s not until Josh’s birthday event that a major turning point occurs and I officially am torn between the two. It is also another blacked out memory to add to the list.
We are out celebrating, myself and Josh are sufficiently drunk and talking so close, I’m surprised our noses aren’t touching. “I really want to kiss you” he whispers. I smiled and reply “No, you don’t”. “Yes, I do.” He says. “Then do it” I say quickly. And just like that, he did. Before this point, I have absolutely no idea that Josh has feelings for me. He is older than I am and although I’ve had relationships with older guys in the past, I am usually the one who makes the first move. Plus, my vision is so incredibly clouded from my involvement with Nick, I brush off any flirty interactions with Josh as him just being nice. So, it’s safe to say I am shocked when he kisses me. I am also happy. Unfortunately, besides a couple hazy snippets, the rest of the night is blank. I wake up the next morning completely hungover. Great…we kissed and I have no idea what he’s thinking, what it means, or what to do. Things are complicated with Nick and I am now officially stuck in the middle.
A few days later, I get a Facebook message from Josh. I see the words, “Hey beautiful…” and I immediately have a smile on my face. He says that I made his birthday special, that the night was a lot of fun, and he gives me his number “just in case” Pretty smooth, Josh. Ok, great. He says he enjoyed his birthday and that I am part of the reason why! So, he obviously remembers the kiss. But, now what? What do I want to happen now? Was this just a drunken, one time kiss? Does he want it to happen again? Do I want it to happen again? What does this mean? What does everyone from the celebration think of me? What do I do about Nick? I haven’t heard from him in a few days. A million thoughts are rushing through my head. I don’t know what to do. Josh and Nick have met before, a while Nick likes Josh, the feelings aren’t quite mutual. Every time Nick shows up, Josh gets brushed aside. I have absolutely no clue what I want, who I want, or what I’m doing. As understanding as Josh is, I can sense his impatience for the situation is starting to become a problem.
I spend the next few weeks trying to calm the rollercoaster of emotions that I’m feeling. My life is being flipped upside down. Understandably so, Josh is reaching his limit – he doesn’t want to sit and waste his time and I get it. I’m stressed out all the time, and the day after my birthday Nick disappears for over a week. I barely hear from him and I don’t see him at all. During that time, I hang out with Josh almost every single day that week. We’ve become extremely close, our friendship is turning into more, and to be honest, I almost forget about Nick wandering around in the shadows. It’s not my fault he drops off the face of the earth! What am I supposed to do? Sit around and sulk? No! I’m going to have fun. It’s more than just fun with Josh. I feel special when I’m with him. I feel safe, wanted, and cared for. I feel like I found someone who makes me a priority, like I am the most important person in the room. He shows me that I deserve more. That I deserve to be happy.
Good times can’t last forever. Can they? Out of the clear blue sky, I get a phone call from Nick like literally nothing has happened. He is talking to me as if I just spoke with him yesterday and says very little about why he disappeared. He wants to see me and like an idiot, I tell him where I going to be later on in the night. Part of me didn’t even think he would show up but the other part of me wanted to see him. It’s like he had some mind controlling power over me that I couldn’t (and didn’t) want to say no to. I do try to rectify the situation by calling him back to tell him not to come but am unsuccessful in reaching him.
That night, I am out with Josh, his friend, my mom, and some other people we know at a local bar. I tell Josh that Nick is coming and I immediately start crying. Josh looks at me like he has no air left in him to talk. He makes it clear that he is done with the mess I’ve dragged him into. “You know that means I can’t stay here. I want you to know that no matter what, no matter whether it’s with me or someone else, I want you to choose happiness. You deserve it.” I feel like someone has just ripped my heart out of chest; I can’t breathe. I watch Josh and his friend get into the car and leave, my heart is literally hurting. Just as they leave the parking lot, Nick pulls in. I lie to him about why I am crying, I can barely talk I’m so upset.
My mom comes and intervenes. She tells Nick that he accidently and unknowingly called her the night before; she heard him making a drug deal. “She had to come pick you up from jail a couple weeks ago, and now this? You have a lot going for you but you’re messing it up. You’re going down a bad road and you are not taking Brooke with you.” Make no mistake, my mom loved this guy but she was not going to sit back and watch me go off the deep end with him. “I know, I know I need to get my shit together.” he says to my mom. He turns to me, “You deserve better than what I can give to you right now.” I feel like I’m getting punched in the stomach over and over again. But as awful as I feel about what’s happening with Nick, the only thing I want to do is see Josh.
After an extremely complicated conversation, Nick leaves. I call Josh and ask if I can see him. I go to his house and we take a walk on the beach. I tell him “Things are 99.9% over between me and Nick” I say. Seriously! What power does this guy fucking have over you! Josh will leave and not come back! Is that what you want?! “I’m choosing happiness. I want to be with you.” I say probably more abruptly than I intend to. We talk for a while and he says he wants to be with me too. You do? Why? You do realize the ridiculousness of this entire situation, right? Don’t overthink things right now. Just be happy he wants to be with you despite this mess. Be happy!! Everything is going to be ok now. I spend the night at Josh’s and from then on things are great. I am happier than I’ve been in a very long time. But, less than two years later, that happiness will be snatched away from me faster than you can say “happily ever after.”