On one of my contract stints in the South, I met Jacob. I first noticed him passing by in the hall on his way to the break room. Our eyes locked and I felt a little prick of something, not a lightening bolt by any stretch of the imagination but enough to make me take notice. Jacob was on another team at the time and our schedules didn’t really align much, so our paths didn’t cross often. Time passed as it tends to do and Jacob transferred into our team. I spent a lot of those first weeks staring at the back of his head. I think back on it now and he wasn’t classically handsome, quite average really, but there was a definite draw, even without having said more than ‘Hello, my name is…’
We had a lot in common; enjoyment of the outdoors, swimming, sweets and Spanish. Jacob did his mission in Spain and I had spent time there as well on multiple occasions for varying lengths of time. We instantly bonded over ‘La Oreja de VanGough’ and ‘Amaral’. We got so comfortable with our Spanish that that was what we used to IM each other, it was great practice for me and I enjoyed the break from daily operations.
Our conversations started out simple and easy, what we liked and didn’t like. Our thoughts on the world got added to the mix and then hopes, dreams, disappointments, and the let downs of life. Things became deep and meaningful. His wife and child were kept in the conversation. My eyes wide open to the fact that he was married. He didn’t bring her up much which started me asking questions about the relationship. That’s what friends do, they ask about big life stuff. Right?
Being of the firm belief that people should be able to be friends with whom they choose I was not uncomfortable with the situation. As long things were kept out in the open things would be fine. But his fear that is wife wouldn’t understand him talking with me drove what could and should have been innocuous into something more covert which of course added the element of being forbidden (generally not a good thing when trying to keep activities on the up and up).
Our daily in office work chats started to include lunches, text messages and emails while we weren’t at work. We would write about the little things in our days, up to 10 or more exchanges for emails and who knows how many texts. We became close and that closeness filled a void left by someone else. You know what’s coming of course, deepening emotional involvement leading to lines being blurred. I knew then that we were playing with fire, but it was such a slow burn that had an intensity I underestimated.
To be continued…