Cut to December 2017. I'm at Vulcan Video, when Danni comes up and reminds me who she is, because I didn't recognize her at first. We talk for some time. The whole time I'm purposefully telling myself in my head, "Turn your back on love. Turn your back on love!" I got the distinct impression that Danni wanted me to reach out to her for contact information or ask her out or what have you. I'm just going, "Turn your back on love!" I think I did this because I didn't trust the circumstances enough to ask her out or ask her for contact info. Later on that evening, I probably remembered vividly the image of her eating her dinner alone on her couch while I hosted a party she could have come to for ten or fifteen minutes, right.
For years I had this duality in where I thought Danni might be coming from in that video store. I weighed two possibilities. One possibility involved the notion that she just wanted to wrangle a pass at her by me, from me, and then shoot me down with something like, "I have a boyfriend," The other possibility involved the notion that she really had an interest in going out with me, but she wanted me to jump through her hoops and ask her, instead of taking the initiative herself.
For the most part, I could live with the possibility of missing such an opportunity to go out with her by standing my ground and refusing to make such a move, because, after all, I was, and still am about following my buddha over trying to take advantage of such an "opportunity" as the one before me at the Vulcan Video store.
It only occurred to me last year (2021) sometime that another possibility existed. The possibility involved the idea that 1) yes, she had a genuine interest in getting me to ask her out because she really wanted to go out with me, but that 2) she would have quickly lost interest in me after one or two dates, because she would quickly lose interest in the type of guy she could get to jump through her hoops in the exact manner she wanted me to. This "third way" of thinking about Danni's interest in me asking her out still makes the most sense to me.
In 2019 sometime, I saw Danni early one morning at Kerbey Lane. She seemed genuinely pleased to see me. She gushed, "Good to see you!" and all that, I said likewise, and she then returned to a table that had some boyfriend-looking guy sitting there. This encounter with Danni probably helped me to come to the "third way" conclusion.
When I think of someone such as that girl who used to work at that grocery store I patronize, I often rationalize the fact that we are not together "yet" due to some imagined stalemate. This time the imagined stalemate involves some weird situation analogous to the couple in O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi." This time, I thought, this young woman knows me to be the obsessive type, so she's set up this "jump through my hoops" situation involving her "sister" that plays to my supposed strength. This strength of mine supposedly involves my total willingness to figuratively crawl through broken glass to get with someone such as her. While on my end, I know she doesn't in her heart of hearts want me to pursue her to the ends of the earth and back (stalk her) so I refuse to do anything that vibes "stalking" in regards to her.
I still think about Jenna a lot. This girl might just represent another unrequited love situation where a notion of this person stays with me on an almost daily basis for the rest of my life. But I want to go out with someone whose chess moves don't involve trying to get me to do anything I'm really uncomfortable doing (jumping through her hoops, stalking), in spite of the image she has of me that she's trying to get me to "revert" to. If she's even there at all.