I took a deep breath before I opened the door, praying that everything would go smoothly. With the extremely small amount of time between when Allen called and when he appeared on my doorstep I felt ill prepared for the task ahead of me.
I opened the door to find Allen standing, somewhat sheepishly, on my front stoop. He reached in for a hug and after a brief awkward embrace I tactfully, yet firmly, pulled away. As I tried to lead him to the front room, he stopped me by grabbing my hand. My left hand. Pulling it upwards he gazed at the diamond that was glittering on my ring finger. He took a breath and then tearing his gaze away from the reality that I was, in fact, truly engaged, he looked me in the eyes and gave me a quiet congratulations.
This was going to be awkward.
I ushered him into the front room where my roommates were waiting. After greeting them I know that he expected them to leave and I could see the surprise on his face when they stayed firmly in their seats. But he graciously took a seat on the couch while I stayed on the other side of the room. I was determined that I would not Allen any opportunity to misconstrue any word or action.
After some nervous chatter, Allen started asking me questions about Mario. Questions that were really none of his business. While I was willing to humor him somewhat, I became more and more uncomfortable with how much information Allen was trying to get. I started to become more evasive in my answers, steering the conversation away from the relationship that Mario and I had developed and back to safer topics. Allen, however, was determined. He had come with a mission, and though I could tell that every new piece of information was like a knife in the heart, he persisted in tormenting himself.
It was getting really awkward.
Despite my subtle, and then not so subtle, hints, Allen remained oblivious to the fact that he had overstayed his welcome. While I didn’t want to be rude, I also wanted him to leave. As the minutes ticked by, I started to get upset. I may have felt that Allen deserved the opportunity for closure, but this had gone too far.
Finally….FINALLY…Allen reluctantly announced that he needed to go. I could tell he was disappointed that he hadn’t gotten to speak to me alone, but he realized that I wasn’t going to give him that opportunity. I walked him to the door, and said a quick goodbye, and – perhaps a bit rudely – ushered him outside. Knowing that he would take any advantage to linger, I wished him a safe journey and with a small wave, firmly closed the door. As my head rested against the door I let out a huge sigh of relief that it was over.
After taking a moment to collect myself, I turned and walked back into the living room. Giving my roommates a sincere “thank you” for their help and support, I headed upstairs. Knowing that I wouldn’t feel at ease until I told Mario what had happened, I grabbed my computer and waited impatiently for it to boot up. With the time difference there was a chance that Mario would already be awake and I though I dreaded his reaction I didn’t want to delay.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, as my Skype account opened up I received the notification that Mario was online. With a prayer for the words that would enable me to explain what had happened in a way that Mario would understand, I reached over and hit the video call button.
The computer began to ring.