The Last Standing Ovation: A Once in a Lifetime Occurrence

What? Three posts in one month? Who am I? It’s not like I’m over compensating for the drop in viewers or anything…

If you haven’t read my last post, The Disappearing Act, all you need to know is for the past half year I’ve been not the happiest person out there. During this time, I decided to try and date again. Hence my first post, The Tale of Three Horrible Fall Dates. I didn’t plan on writing this story because I come out as a major asshole, however, with another orchestra concert this weekend I was reminded of the last time I performed. Instead of a standing ovation, the concert ended with an awkward confession and me sneaking out the back door. Before I dive in to all that, let’s go back three months.

Melissa, Lillian and I decided to go out for drinks. When I say out for drinks, I mean we ended up sitting in a car for over an hour sipping Four Lokos. Majority of the time was bitching about guys when I brought up someone who used to be in my Biomed classes.

“There was this guy in my class and he was so cute, definitely out of my league. I wish I got his number before I graduated.”

“Show us a picture!” A bit of sleuthing and I ended up on his Facebook page. It wasn’t as simple given that his full name was both long and foreign. Thanks to a mutual friend the search was a tad easier. Both friends went through his photos, urging me to message him. And my smooth pick up line?

Me: Hey, I didn’t realize this was your full name haha

Why the hell did we think that was a good way to start talking to someone?

Him: Haha yes, it’s easier to pronounce one syllable, but my middle name is a lot so I just don’t write it. How are you doing?

Holy shit. Eugene responded, I honestly expected him to block me after my lame attempt at conversation. With some coaching from Melissa and Lillian I began talking to him and Eugene gave me his number. Now, Melissa and Lillian have two very different approaches to men. Lillian, the brazen one, is very direct with her wants and gets it. Melissa, the quieter of the two, is shyer. I chose to find a middle ground between their response suggestions.

A week or two later, with some messaging in between, Eugene and I met up for Mediterranean. Within the first several minutes of talking I was a nervous wreck. His skin was fucking flawless. Is this a normal thing to stress over? During the course of the meal, we managed to hold a conversation and instead of dessert, we walked around the outdoor shops still talking. Or mainly me blabbering, you decide. Our outing ended with an awkward hug because on top of being a mess, I have no idea how to act during these situations. These situations being interacting with a cute guy.

A couple more weeks of sparse messages and we met up for ramen. This time around I tried to remain composed and not a hot mess. I still couldn’t figure this guy out when Eugene mentioned a mutual friend, Cyrano.

“Yeah, I told Cyrano about us hanging out last time and he warned me to watch out.”

Cyrano was fully aware of my haphazard dating life, especially since he was good friends with my ex, Randy. I was a bit shocked he threw me under the bus. What am I supposed to say about his warning? Yeah, I’m a psycho bitch? I later called up Cyrano’s girlfriend to see if I did anything wrong. She reassured me she would talk to Cyrano.

My confusion on Eugene’s intentions were answered a few days later.

Cyrano’s Girlfriend: Oh! Btw Cyrano had lunch with Eugene the other day so I miraculously had the chance to confront him about how he told Eugene not to go for you since he said it himself. After that conversation he encouraged Eugene to go for you when he had his lunch date with him so hopefully that’s resolved

Me: I don’t think Eugene is interested though? He asks me on random dates occasionally lol

Cyrano’s Girlfriend: According to Cyrano he is

Me: Really? I thought I was too much of a mess compared to him

Cyrano’s Girlfriend: It seems like he doesn’t want a serious relationship though he just wants to have fun

There it was. I didn’t know what I wanted with anyone at that point and “just have fun” usually means occasional outings and in our case, I’m an option.

The night after my birthday Eugene planned to come over and cook gyoza with me. My birthday had been a disaster. I woke up to a card shoved under my door from Randy – the previously mentioned ex. I’ve alluded to Randy in past posts as well. Last I had seen him was when I kicked him out of my apartment two months previous. He had biked about 17 miles to my place to deliver an envelope containing a birthday card and photos. I wanted more than anything to be done with that part of my life. I later received a call from Randy detailing that the past two months Cyrano had been relaying skewed information between the both of us. Cyrano went as far to tell Randy he told Eugene to stay away from me. I didn’t know who to believe and ended the phone call as I heard a knock at the door.

Eugene came over that night and I decidedly kept my mouth shut since I didn’t know what he had heard by this point. I didn’t want him dragged in to the drama, I just wanted to move on. When Eugene walked in he handed me a rose and a handmade card. The card had Japanese characters that read “One time; one meeting” with a drawing of The Great Wave off Kanagawa on the backside. Later on, with a bit of research – asking my mother questions – this meaning is used in Japanese tea ceremonies. The concept is that this encounter happens once in a lifetime and will never recur. Looking back, I don’t think I properly expressed how much this gift meant to me. Even now I can’t describe how it made me feel. Every handmade card and gift I’ve ever been given, I always kept. My mom calls me a hoarder, but those are the memories I never forget, no matter how terrible the ending was.

That night was like every other time we had hung out. Hours of sitting and talking. I felt myself relax until…

Eugene: “This is the first time I feel comfortable around you.”

I didn’t realize I was so intimidating. I still felt like a sweaty mess that also had asshole friends giving out misconstrued information.

Me: “Were you not comfortable around me before?”

Eugene: “Yeah, this is the first time I’ve felt comfortable around you.”

As he left late that night, Eugene asked to give me a Ukrainian kiss. And with that he leaned in with the lightest peck, lips brushed against my cheek.

*I genuinely struggled describing a kiss. I am a child when it comes to writing about anything slightly romantic. It wasn’t even on the lips and I’m embarrassed.

Let’s pause this story here. So far Eugene and I had hung out about 4 times. The fifth time was dinner at my apartment. Randy wasn’t in my life until he called me right before Eugene came over to my place. Randy, Eugene and I all have a mutual friend, Cyrano. Cyrano told Randy he warned Eugene to stay away from me. Eugene heard from Cyrano to, “watch out”. Where was I mentally in all of this? I didn’t think much until I went over to Eugene’s place for dinner and met all of his roommates. Eugene mentioned how his mom encouraged him to date younger women – keep in mind I’m two years older – and how he may go to Dartmouth for research. After Cyrano’s girlfriend told me Eugene didn’t want anything I let my insecurities get the best of me. Was this guy using me until he was bored? Is this why we never really talk besides when we hang out? What does it mean to “just have fun” with no intimacy?

The following two weeks Randy and I were in each other’s lives again. Those weeks I couldn’t mentally deal with everything. Eugene and I suddenly saw more of each other. Dinner at his place, his hockey game, his roommate’s girlfriend’s concert. Nothing happened, am I some weird comfort zone to these people? By this point I had long accepted Eugene saw me as a friend and Randy wanted to be in my life again. I, in turn, wanted to be left alone. It wasn’t until I invited Eugene, Randy, and a couple friends to my orchestra concert when the truth came out.

At the orchestra concert Eugene, his roommate, and his roommate’s girlfriend sat on one side. On the other sat Randy, Katie, and Katie’s husband, Mathius. Randy had brought me a bouquet of roses. My nerves clouded over the tension, I should’ve practiced more. The moment the concert ended, I was whisked away backstage by Eugene.

“We need to talk.” Right…

I found a deserted room and before I had the chance to face him, Eugene started to confess his feelings. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, but to sum it all up, Eugene had been interested in me this whole time. He felt hurt and used seeing Randy with the bouquet of flowers. I had been open with Randy about hanging out with Eugene and expressed that I had mentally shut down on the whole ordeal. It was then Eugene demanded that I choose. Seeing his hurt expression I felt myself tear up. Another part of me wanted to scream back. Choose? I had to deal with Randy and in a state of constant confusion with Eugene. Choose? I had to resign the fact that I seemed to be more interested and accept Eugene saw me as a friend. Choose? He only got competitive because some other guy had brought flowers. What if Randy wasn’t there? Would we still be not talking much and spontaneously hanging out? I’m used to being someone’s comfort zone and I’m tired of it. So what did I choose?

“I don’t want anyone.”

I wanted to speak to Eugene privately and not within earshot of an entire symphony. My response seemed enough for him. “We’ll talk to tomorrow,” he replied.  Eugene then confronted Randy for knowing that he and I were seeing each other. Randy was stunned, I was under the impression I was just a friend.

Katie’s Point of View:

“I saved two seats right when you walk in.” Randy texted me.

Matt and I found Randy and snuck in right as the conductor began waving his baton.

We sat down and said hellos.

“Hi I’m Eugene” said the guy I recognized from a Facebook photo Terra previously showed me. I didn’t even see him. He was sitting across the aisle with his friends. The roses Randy had brought became the elephant in the room. The music started and Randy recorded the whole show, passing off the phone to Matt and me when the person in front of him blocked his view. Terra asked for “a video” and Randy was acting like he was filming The Titanic. Looking back I realize he probably was trying to seem dutiful, considering his obvious competition.  When the show was over Terra came over to us and Eugene immediately dragged her away.

“Oh, okay so this is happening,” I glanced at Matt. We turned to  Randy not knowing how he was going to react. Terra had previously mentioned her interest in Eugene, though in the past month she seemed to have less to say about him and resigned to be friends.

“He’s totally into her,” Randy blurted “She thought they were just friends, but he clearly doesn’t know that. Should I go check on them?”

“NO!” I half yelled. “Definitely not. It’s already awkward. You would just make it worse.” We sat, the tension was palpable. Terra texted me.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” I lied as I snuck away from the guys to check on Terra. Would she lose them both? I wouldn’t want that for her. I turned the corner and she was frantically packing her cello.

“What did he say?”

“Eugene liked me. He was so upset. I can’t deal with having another conversion like this tonight.” I grabbed her music stand. Let’s go.

We were almost through the back door when…

“Terra!” Randy shouted and walked over to us. “Where are you going?”

Aw shit. Busted. My stomach dropped. Should I walk away while they talk this out? Terra doesn’t look like she wants me to leave. I’ve already sat through enough awkward confrontations the past two hours. The hallway was too small and the damn cello was taking up most of the space. I can’t quietly slip away to leave. Here I am. Literally in the middle of them.


I haven’t seen Eugene since; a once in a lifetime encounter. Reflecting back to my last post, I was still in that 6 foot hole and seeing someone tear up because of my actions raised the thought, “Am I horrible?” The rest of the week I was miserable and I would break down thinking someone could look at me and say I used them. I had worked hard to change who I was and in the end it seemed like that didn’t matter because even my most honest intentions were cruel. The conclusion to all this drama was nothing. There is no happy or silly ending.

Being Valentine’s Day I decided to write about not an ex. I decided to write about someone who was sweet to me for the most part and why I fail at simple communication. There were other small red flags that made me wonder if Eugene genuinely cared, however I chose to highlight the obvious actions where he did. Telling my co-workers about what happened led to the question, “Who did I choose?” 

The morning after the rehearsal, I messaged Eugene. The honest truth I kept to myself for this long was that I messaged Eugene because I chose him. Eugene responded, uninterested in meeting up as suggested last night and he had already set me aside. I never told him how I felt. How he was the first person in a long time I felt excited to see. He was nice and his friends were welcoming, I forgot how simple liking someone could feel. Everything felt innocent and with the years of self-doubt and partying in college, that’s all I wanted. Randy was not the person for me, I knew that much. That’s a story for another time. It wasn’t healthy to question the people around me. I was paranoid about being used that I in turn made someone feel like I was using them.

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