Seven years ago today I was 19 years old and running away from a flirtatious and awkward 18 year old boy who wouldn't give up on me. For months prior I kept giving hints that I wanted to be friends and nothing else. I felt weird that he wasn't getting it, and I wasn't certain enough to outright tell him.
We met online. I was desperate for a roommate at the time and he thought that I was interesting. I met him at my favorite smoothie/tea shop and he gave me my favorite movie on DVD (which he bought in preparation for our first meeting) before I even sat down. He quickly became one of my best friends and we started working together dressing up as Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam for a tax company (which was far beyond his comfort zone, but allowed him to be close to me). He obviously wasn't having a good time dressing up and waving at cars (something that I felt inspired about at the time). We didn't have much in common. I was a newfound feminist student activist; he was a programmer and gamer. I was weary about dating him because I didn't see us having similar goals or even similar languages. I was the type of person that wore a prom dress made of duct tape. He was the type of person who left high school out of disinterest.
He made advances that pushed at the boundaries of friendship and I nervously rejected them, unsure of how such a relationship would work. While sitting on the couch, he would reach for my hand or lean in for a kiss. I didn't know how to react and so I didn't say anything and carefully avoided him in romantic settings. I thought maybe something was wrong with him because I didn't understand why someone would be so intensely interested in me.