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A not-so-sexy threesome

Illustration by Megan Mulholland
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By Anna Sadovskaya, Assistant Arts Editor
Published December 2, 2012

Three, according to triangles, tricycles and charm, is the best number. Three says “I have two others helping me out.” Three is sturdy; three is the spice of life; three is a party.

Unfortunately, I’ve never mastered the art of three. I learned to ride a bicycle when I was 7: no third wheel required.

And yet, during my freshman year at the University, I found myself being rudely pushed into the designated third spot of my friends’ blossoming relationship. It started out very innocently:

“Josh and I are going to Meijer, want to come?” Sara would ask. I’d agree: My stock of granola was always at a dangerous low whenever she asked, and, after all, there is nothing inherently sexy about grocery shopping.

But things quickly progressed:

“Want to grab some lunch?” Josh offered one day. I agreed, thinking it was going to be a quick pick-up, so it was a shock to find Sara saving us a seat as we pulled up.

“WE’RE THE THREE BEST FRIENDS—”

Things only went downhill from there. It wasn’t that my friends had turned into the sickeningly sweet couple no one likes, but when they started dating, they had unofficially agreed to be a team of two. Suddenly, I wasn’t a part of every joke, or every story, which was fine! But to make up for time lost, this third wheel position was created for me, and I was forever the person they called when they needed to get back in touch with their mutually respective lives.

Enter Friday, September 17, 2010.

“So, Josh’s housemate is throwing a party this Friday. We’re going to dress up like crayons and go!”

Protesting a party was like committing a crime, so rather than lamely sit at home and watch the Food Network, I put on a green dress and accepted that this was as good as it would get.

“This will be fun!” was Sara’s mantra. And it was fun, until I remembered the only three people I knew there were my puppy-love friends and a girl from my biology class that was dressed as a Teletubby.

“Listen, listen, do you think Josh really loves me?” Sara asked throughout the night.

And there we were, the place a designated third wheel will inevitably end up. I couldn’t even turn a blind eye and argue I hadn’t seen them together, that I wasn’t a constant in their liaison. They tricked me into being involved, and I wasn’t even looking for a relationship.

Three was not a party. Three was a Friday-night girl in a green crayon outfit, convincing a friend her boyfriend was her one, true love.

I had to get out. Out of the conversation, out of the third wheel, out of that party. I searched for my room key, that beautiful, yellow plastic beacon of hope, but came up empty. And then I remembered I had left it on my desk, my siren call receiving no answer.

Things were becoming quite bleak. It took Sara another two hours before she decided it was time to leave. Thankfully, Josh stayed behind. For a while, anyway.

We meandered, held back by Sara’s constant stop-and-start manner of walking as she recounted every moment of a night I had just shared with her. As soon as we made it to her dorm, I made a beeline for the bathroom and then to the makeshift bed Sara set up for me on the floor of her room in South Quad.

And then …

I’d like to think it was a dream. Sometimes I concentrate really hard, hoping to discover that my sleepy mind had misunderstood what was happening—exaggerated the situation. But I’m almost 98.9% sure that I was not dreaming when Josh clumsily knocked on Sara’s door and my two friends began the “so, should we…ya know?” conversation.

“Anna is right there, Josh! We can’t just—”

“She’s asleep, Sara! Come on, she won’t know.”

Sometimes things happen as a sign from the universe. As if your entire existence can be validated by the moment you turn on your car and Adele’s “Someone Like You” blares through your speakers. Moments like those are rare, beautiful unicorns.

This was not such a moment. As I furiously tried to fall back into some semblance of a peaceful sleep, Josh persevered.

“No. Josh, stop, oh gosh, this is probably a bad idea—”

And then it happened.

I lay there, on the floor of Sara’s dorm room, while the two wanton lovers consummated their relationship. Twice.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for that moment. Nothing prepares you for a number of situations, though, outside of the experience itself, and most of the time, they make excellent stories that you never want to tell anyone.

That morning I tiptoed out of her room, doing the walk of shame back to Markley for entirely different reasons than most people thought of when they saw my shoes in hand and disheartened stare. I never talked about it with Sara and Josh. They broke up a couple months later, and it all seemed entirely too unbearable to bring up.

Anna Sadovskaya is an LSA junior and an assistant arts editor for The Michigan Daily.


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