Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Congratulations are in order
It's amazing. Just a few months ago, I would have been one of the first people told, and even just a few weeks ago, I would have found out fairly early, but now I had to find out that Wei and Jim are engaged through the paper.
And that was a total accident - having finished the crossword, read the comics, and clipped the coupons, I had gotten pretty much all the use I usually do out of it, so I was pringing it and some other paper and cardboard down to the building's recycling bin. It was already full of everyone else's Sunday papers, of course, but I figured "full-to-overflowing" would be OK, resulting in a spill all over the floor. While I was picking it up, I saw the engagement announcements section, and there were their names, clear as day. I read the short paragraph, stating that Wei Chang of Cambridge, MA and James Hendry of Boston, MA were engaged, it will be the first wedding for each, blah.
I'm pleased to say that my first reaction was to be happy for them. I hadn't been Jim's biggest fan when he started dating Wei around the end of June, but he's a pretty nice guy, especially when you take his New York origins into consideration. And Wei's a great lady; I never would have passed electromagnetic physics our freshman year without her help. And she was the one who introduced us to Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, and the like via pirated tapes before Jackie got big over here.
I tore the announcement from the paper and brought it to my room, and, meaning to congratulate her, picked up the phone. That was when I realized I didn't remember her number. I felt a small pang of guilt, but not much - phone numbers have never been my forte, especially once the handy-dandy menu-driven cell phone ws invented. I dialed information, writing down the number because who needs to be charged a buck to be connected automatically, dialed it, and hung up as soon as I got Wei's answering machine.
It's not that I felt the machine was too impersonal, but I suddenly realized how it would sound. As far as Jim and Wei are concerned, "Michelle" is the girl Kurt had decided was second-best, and the one who had been a bitch the night Wei had first met her. She - I - wasn't their friend.
So what, right? Congratulations are congratulations. But I suddenly hated the thought of my well-wishing being that of a barely-tolerated acquaintance, and not someone with whom she had a history. We'd met on an MIT campus tour in high school (though neither of us got in), lived in the same buildings all through college, and even gone on a disastrous date when she was in grad school and I was at my first dot-com. I wanted her to know how happy I was for her.
And then I thought of Michelle, in my body, who apparently had barely talked to my old friends since stealing it. Wei had probably called "Martin" up, and maybe Michelle had faked some enthusiasm. Wei and Jim would invite Martin to the wedding, of course - practically every friend Wei's sister had ever made since pre-school had been invited to her wedding, and maybe, if I'm both wrong about what rational thought suggests my chances for returning to my own body are, and and lucky in the timing of when it happens, I'll get to go. If Michelle even bothers to RSVP, which isn't a given, considering how much attention she's paid to my life since taking it.
And then, God forgive me, I felt jealous. Not because I have a thing for Wei, or am attracted to Jim, or I've been in a girl's body (and brain) long enough to have girly bridal fantasies of my own - none of that's the case. Just the idea that their lives are moving forward, and while mine is obviously not the same as it was, it's still lonely because of my secret and sort of in stasis. I don't want anything stronger than friendship, and even there, I worry that I'm too close to Kate and Jen to just walk away from it should I get a chance to get my body back. And my attempts to keep tabs on my life, the one Michelle's living in Seattle, just make me feel even more powerless and trapped.
I'll do what I can. I'll send the happy couple a card, maybe gush over Wei's ring if I see her at the Weekly Wednesday Ass-Kicking tomorrow, and hope that someday I'll get a chance to be a better friend.
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