I don't really want to tell this story, but I also feel that I must.
Sometimes I hate having a vivid imagination. Together with my enduring loneliness, it makes for a dangerous combination.
I recently met someone. And no, it's not like that. Not, in fact, like that at all. Just a friendly acquaintance - nothing more. He's very attractive. Nice body, great hands. I have a thing for hands. Extremely funny. But you don't need me to tell you all about what I see in somebody I can't have. He's married. Got a kid, even.
I have rules that I follow. Rules that I never, ever break. And rule number one is that I will never do anything to jeopardize another person's committed monogamous relationship. If they are happily in love with someone else, they are strictly off-limits to me. Period. No exceptions. This rule is hard, but I don't feel like I could live with myself if I ever came between people like that.
So back to this person. I've been encountering him socially off and on for a couple of months now. It's easy enough to just look and sigh, acknowledging that the possibility isn't even there. I don't break that rule. Not ever. He's off-limits, and I know it.
But then, the other day, he's showing signs of distress. I ask him if he's okay. He says that there are difficulties that he doesn't want to talk about at this time. I understand. We've all been there. I respect that. I tell him if he wants to talk, I'll be there.
Sunday, at a gathering, another mutual friend asks me if I know about his "situation." I don't recall the actual word that she used, but that one's good enough. I tell her that I'm aware that there is one, but that I have no details. I also tell her that if she has those details, I'd rather not hear them from her. If I'm to be in the know, I want it to come from him and no one else.
I can tell from his demeanor and from the timbre of conversation about him by those in the know that it's something to do with his home situation. Family trouble of some kind. So naturally, I suspect that he may not be so happy in his relationship for whatever reason.
So rule number one no longer applies.
And my damnable imagination goes wild. I have all sorts of vivid fantasies about his crying on my shoulder and coming to trust and confide in me. And, ultimately, to fall in love with me. And this does one hell of a number on my emotions. I could fall in love with my fantasy of him so easily, and that would only ruin - from my end! - our real life friendship. And all because of an imagination that won't let me be.
Now it is important that you realize that I know the difference between the fantasy and the reality here. I said that I could easily fall for my fantasy of him. But my emotions are not so well-differentiated as my intellect. You see, this has happened to me before. I have let myself go crazy in my fantasy life and it has ruined a real life relationship with someone.
I don't want this happening again.
But these last couple of days, I've had difficulty thinking of much else.
Damn this treacherous imagination.