Around the same time as I was making friends with AWS2, I also made friends with a guy called Mr Xbox. He was short for a guy, about my height, quiet and shy but with a great sense of humour. He had this way of finding a joke in any situation and when he told it to you it would feel immediatly like an in joke, something that the two of you alone shared. He had a way of making you feel like you were the closest person to him in the room.
We had been friends since the first break up with Mr Weirdo. Both of us by nature are flirtatious and so we quickly established a teasing/flirting dynamic which appeared promising. When Mr Weirdo came slithering back, we dampened the friendship a bit but not for long.
Whenever he got a girlfriend, Mr Xbox seemed very quick and very picky to dump them. Seemingly whenever they both disagreed on something. I’d heard rumours that he’d slapped one of them, but scoffed at the idea. He was so quiet! So short and slender! Him? No way!
However I couldn’t deny he had an intensity. Whilst Mr Weirdo finished Uni, me and Mr Xbox formed an unusually close relationship back at home. We would go out together occassionally in the group (before I edged out from them), and photos at the time show us always sitting together, his arm encircling my waist or me sitting on his lap. He didn’t really like big social outings so a lot of the time we’d sit at his house playing video games or sitting curled up in each others arms watching films at 3am.
We never slept together or even kissed, but everyone who knew us considered it a relationship, because in every other respect it was. We did almost kiss once- that awkward rom-com esque thing where you both stare into each others eyes and know if nothing breaks it, a kiss will ensue. But someone came into the room, we jumped apart and the momment was gone.
Mr Xbox wasn’t used to having female friends. He would get jealous (mostly of my other friends as oppose to Mr Weirdo) and possessive. Although I was treated much better than any of his real girlfriends (he took me on a daytrip to the City and bought me an expensive lunch for my birthday, his girlfriend got a phone sock from an HMV sale), there were rows.
The rows would escalate to screaming and being very vindictive. This one time I gave him the wrong directions during a drive and he stopped the car and pushed me out in the middle of nowhere, forcing me to call a friend for help. Another time he got so angry at me teasing him, his brother had to drive me back from his house.
But when we made up we very quickly fell back into something that felt oddly “special”, nobody else in either of our lives was able to compete with each other.
“It’s not about whether you sleep together,” a friend at the time said, “Neither of your relationships are positive. One is cold and controlling, the other is passionate but damaging. You get what you’re missing out of one from the other”
After almost a year of this, Mr Weirdo finished Uni and it became harder to keep the two relationships apart. Mr Xbox had already demanded once that I leave everyone else to be wuth him, and although it was too big a demand for my tastes, the relationship was druglike. I thought to myself, I’m going to end it with Mr Weirdo. Even if I don’t get with Mr Xbox, when I’m single I can at least have space to figure out how I feel about him.
And then, the punchline. Mr Xbox got a girlfriend. And his girlfriend was the same girl Mr Weirdo was sleeping with behind my back.
I found myself part of an awful situation, admittedly my own fault, where Mr Weirdo would tell me how sorry he felt for his mistress, how Mr Xbox didn’t treat her how she deserved and she needed a man (like him, just as an example!) who would love and respect her. Worse, all our mutual friends who knew that we had been “together” were messaging me asking was I okay. I felt humiliated.
I begged Mr Xbox to see reason, but from my position it wasn’t exactly a convincing argument. In a moment of regretable childishness, I told him his girlfriend was sleeping with my boyfriend and intoned we should have each others backs in such a situation. Like I say, convincing!
Anyway, Mr Xbox lost it and the final argument ensued. He threatened to text all my friends all the secrets I had told him, only for it to backfire when he realised I had told him none. I guess we hadn’t been as close as either of us thought. He and his family moved up North and although we did hash it all out years later, it was never really the same.
When he and his girlfriend inevitably broke up (her citing distance, him citing infidelity), she fell straight back into just being Mr Weirdos mistress.