“Hey,” Jensen said, feeling somewhat angry. “I'm Jensen,”
It is important, Jensen thought, to socialise. And it's not like this boy was too rough on the eyes...
“I'm not good with names. Can I call you Edwin?” He said, wistfully looking at him.
“Only if I can call you Alexander,”
March 17 2009
Jensen was waiting in line for the bus at the Port Authority in Manhattan with his mother and sister, at least 12 feet away from where the bus would stop, chillaxing and just enjoying the night air. The line had to carry between 75 and 100 people, all on their way back to Jensen's hometown—their town; many of whom had spent their day at the NYC St. Patrick's day parade, much like Jensen and his family who had had a few drinks over the day and were now wired and happy after a day of festivities.
Although to many, waiting in line was a timeless form of torture, that wasn't the case for Jensen: absentmindedly, he watched the sky and sang tunes here and there in his head as, behind him, Donna and Mackenzie chattered about work and life, and that was good enough for him. As for all of the others, Jensen tuned them out, although it has to be said that, every now and then, he brought himself back or was brought back into his family's conversation, as if to fool them for his part or just for good measure.
By any means necessary though, Jensen had his head in the clouds...
That's when Jensen looked around and noticed a stillness—it was like the calm before the storm, thought Jensen almost sweetly.
Although it rained heavily most days, that day, there had been a more than usual heavy downpour... The streets were flooded, the ground was wet and there was slush at every street corner and on every lawn. The sky was also gray.
In any sense, the weather was dreary, but Jensen didn't mind it... Regardless of how terrible the weather was or could be, Jensen never cared for the weather nor did he think that he should mind it as his world wasn't restricted by the boundaries of corporal or physical matters, and so he ignored it on a day-to-day basis because that seemed like the only natural thing for him to do: he was a man of perception, not easily shaken—his thoughts exceeded his physical needs. Moreover, as a man experienced in woe, Jensen knew better than to pay attention to silly, mundane little matters. He was just happy to be alive, and today was one of his first days in New York City: the great big apple...
Jensen's mind drifted away from him...
And then suddenly, he noticed that the one and only Jared Padalecki was in front of him in line.
Another point on the bright side—Jared was alone. Jensen hadn't seen Jared in over a year!
There is nothing better than a good surprise, thought Jensen as he leaned up to tap Jared in his shoulder.
Jared had been minding his own business when he heard a familiar voice talking to him from behind and felt something on his left shoulder. He turned his head, his shocked eyes meeting Jensen's...
“Jensen!” he called, out of breath. The 19-year-old all but simply held tight on to his duffel bag full of military supplies and uniforms, staring at him, but then, after a moment, he smiled, and it was like the sun breaking through the fog for Jensen...
“How long has it been? I think it's been like a year,” said Jensen.
“Sure has,” said Jared. And almost as suddenly as he answered, his eyes didn't seem as bright as before. “It's been a while,”
“What's knew?” asked Jensen, thinking only of the warmth and hospitality he'd seen in him in the past.
“I've been living in Washington for the last year,” responded Jared swiftly.
“That's awesome,” smiled Jensen, although a small part of him was jealous of Jared and all of the stories that he must have.
The bus arrived and then the line started to move forward as, one by one, people started to board it, and before you knew it, it was Jared and Jensen's turns to step up and get on the bus, so they stopped talking for a moment and both turned forward into the lineup.
Behind them, whether on purpose or not, Jensen's family ignored them and continued to yak away, as a man somewhere around them in line said “it’s going to be an hour, at least” into his mobile phone. It was almost as if they hadn't even noticed them talking...
Once on the bus, Jensen and Jared moved down the isle and towards the back of the bus.
They sat at the back end of it, facing each other, as Donna and Mackenzie mirrored their moves and sat adjacent to them to their left, facing each other too but just across the isle from them, next to the window just like them, then barely noticing them or not paying attention to them as they continued to yammer away about things that Jensen no longer cared to listen to...
“I just got back today,” Jared added with a heavy tone, “but I still have my house out in the country. Actually, my brother's been living there for the past year: he moved in when I left for the west coast,”
Some time passed as, around them, the bus drove through the city.
Jared explained how things had been for him in Washington... He talked about his trainings and the military school that he had attended and explained that he was back home to finish the degree that he'd started at Juvia's college in 2008. He also explained that his baby brother was now enrolled in the army as well: he was seventeen, and his name was Jeff. He told Jensen that they would be living together from now on.
Although his attention was well divided between Jared, his family and exterior of the bus, Jensen, for his part, continued to smile shyly and explained how he would be graduating soon from Juvia's college soon and starting University. He was just finishing his last semester and would major in political science when he got to University... He conveyed his passion with his words, and Jared seemed to appreciate it.
Now, silence hit, and a reality hung heavily on them both.
Not to sound conceited or vain, but Jensen knew that he looked good: he always pulled off looks that made his quirky side come out, and so because of this he always stood out in a crowd, in a very cute and special way. At this time, he wore pale blue jeans that fit just right and a pair of black boxing boots. Above it all, he wore a puffy emerald green bomber jacket with leather sleeves and a brown wool scarf.
And he must have known that Jared knew it to because then...
“I have a girlfriend now,” said Jared suddenly. Raising his right hand to his brow, he then hurried to add, “We met in Washington, and we're happy together. Her name is Juliet. She's starting college in the fall too: she's doing a bachelor's degree in communications,”
Jensen was a great actor and could make a great dumb blond and so he smiled and nodded happily at the news, then interjected with a quiet yet sure “I'm so happy for you and I'm glad to see that you've been doing well,”
Of course, it has to be said that Jensen didn't lie often, but, when he did, he was a great liar.
At that point, Jared didn't seemed so sure of Jensen's response, but then again on some level maybe he felt that he had a chance with Jensen, even if Jensen didn't really show it or return the sentiment in any way. They had always been just so cordial, and it was making him irate now...
As for Jensen, although, strangely, something in his heart sank and it felt a lot like bitter disappointment, he just shrugged it off and made sure not to show it as he didn't know why or what it was and just needed to act cool and aloof so Jared wouldn't think of him as a loser and a dill-hole: Jensen really cared about Jared's perception and opinions of him. It was that same old feeling...
Why did Jensen react this way?
Well, Jensen was raised to believe that denial was king and that if you weren't able to cope with your life's challenges well and with confidence, then you could always relieve your pains by dumping at least some of your emotional troubles on your children so that they'd end up depending on you for normality and you could share all your problems with them forever. Jensen knew to keep all his troubles inside though, as his weren't welcome at the dinner table; not even if his life depended on it.
Also, although Jensen was a warrior, he still had an almighty fear of rejection, and so his main objective was to never feel foolish and crazed or inadequate, and to let the bad or angsty feelings float with the hope that they would eventually disappear.
Another key point was the memory of Jared's and his' last encounter and the fact that that his very judgmental sister and mother sat just across from them now, throwing them moody looks every now and then, as if to make sure that they didn't misbehave.
Regardless, it was a combination of all these things anyway that meant that Jensen didn't know exactly what to do.
Inadvertently, Jensen had also never had something to walk away from, so how could he know what this was? He couldn't... Furthermore, why did he care about it? Well... The truth about it was that Jensen genuinely liked Jared, and, by the looks of it, he liked him too, even if he was in a bad mood that day. Parallelly, Jensen was looking for adventures and new experiences...
Henceforth, although Jensen didn't know what this thing between them was, he was determined to find out, but still, he needed to remain cool as a cucumber all the time if he really wanted them to be friends.
Throughout the remainder the ride, as the bus raced down highways and through tunnels, the pace was comfortable but consistent. They continued to chat a little, but, by then, the mood had shifted sideways since Jared had told him about Juliet, and it was mainly bouts of long silence with fluctuations and points of low talk as Jared didn't seem too chatty.
It was like a bucket of ice had been dropped on them, and Jared's warmth and light had all but been drained away.
As the ride wound to a close and it was nearly time for Jensen to get off the bus and leave Jared behind, Jensen randomly decided to take control of the situation and make a move by asking Jared to add him on as a friend to Facebook, as that way they could maybe remain friends, “You should add me as a friend on Facebook. I'm easy enough to find. It'd be nice if we kept in touch, don't you think?”
Although Jared nodded, something shone deadly and darkly in his big, beautiful grayish and blue eyes, and right away Jensen knew not to expect a friend request from him any time soon. His jaw locked and his nostrils flared a little, and Jensen's eyes went a little wide at the sight.
Maybe meeting Jared wasn't such a good surprise after all...
Moreover, even if he didn't understand it, Jensen wasn't surprised by Jared's reaction. In other words, all that had happened was that Jensen had made a wager and lost the bet when he asked Jared if we wanted to stay in touch again. Sure, he didn't like it, but at least he'd known what to expect this time around... And so, Jensen didn't bother to give any of it a second thought.
At the present time, there was no guarantee that he'd ever see Jared again, but he just waved goodbye and got off the bus.
Perhaps he had sweet memories of Jared from before, but it had been a year since he hadn't seen or heard from him, and Jensen would be starting University in the fall anyway: he saw and had to see the larger picture with his life...
Besides, Jensen didn't the attention. Slowness, quietness and tranquillity were all virtues for Jensen, as they gave him the much needed time and space to formulate ideas, strategize, and analyze... And, the goal for this was, as his parents would always argue, that he needed to remain focused on his academic career. Jensen therefore had his mind made-up: it was to get one thing done right, and that was University.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Next: we'll fast-forward to May 14th of the next year when Jensen receives a friend request from Jared, and it's followed by an invitation to a night of beer, stars and campfires... without any electricity and out in the country...
“See how calm the surface of the water is. That was me once. And then,
[Xena throws a stone in the water]
the water ripples and churns. That's what I became.”—Xena: Warrior Princess