Context. I went to do homework in a cafe a couple of days ago. I was behind because I got wrapped up in Adam, too busy smiling to care to keep up on the history of the Latin Christian church, or exercises from Performing Prose, or to read dry articles about whether or not rhetoric is feminine or masculine.
Now I'm even farther behind.
I couldn't focus because I've been consumed by this whole debacle with Adam. And I don't know why I get like this with boys. Whether it is Lance or whether it is Adam, I teeter to a place of unreachable sadness. Lance was more justified - he was the first person I told my only ever secret to, he made this awful city feel like home, and he helped me overcome a lot of things in my personal life.
My friends are sympathetic, but a few of them poke fun at me. "You're this upset? Geez, Fallen, you didn't even date him for that long." It dawned on me: they were right. Why was I such a mess? Why am I a semi-functioning robot that only comes alive for a couple of minutes in a day?
I started writing. I started writing this whole thing I'm about to share with you. And it helped me understand myself a little better. It helped me understand why I'm such a fucking disaster. Time is irrelevant. Sharing - that's love. Sharing is powerful. And I shared so much with him in such a small amount of time because he was one of three or four people I have ever met that I connected with on another level. I got so excited to connect again that I dove in carelessly.
A couple of my friends are talking me into some sort of counselling. I think I will go (for real, this time). I think something is abnormal about how sincerely and deeply I feel my feelings. Maybe not abnormal. Just something that's hard to deal with. Period. I need to learn how to dial them down a little.
Anyways. I don't care if you read this at all, because really, who the fuck are you to me? And who the fuck am I to you? You may think I'm a melodramatic teenaged girl, lovesick and stupid as the rest of them (although with an admittedly more advanced instinct for language). And that's fine. I probably am. I probably am cut from the exact same cloth as every boring girl with long hair and a small waist.
Nevertheless. Here was my exercise in understanding and in writing. Here's an attempt to figure things out.
If you were to saunter up to me with a smirk on your lips and a mischievous glint in your eye, I would cock my eyebrow with intrigue. Perhaps you would critique my serving and insist that you asked for rye bread rather than multi-grain, or that I didn’t bring you ketchup even though you had asked ten minutes ago. Perhaps you would let your arrogance dance through your words, and you would say, “I didn’t know my food was going to be delivered by such a cute waitress.” I would blush and quip back with smart-assery before you had the time to revel in your own cleverness.
If someone were to ask me, “What does your ideal boyfriend look like?” I would answer without hesitation. Tall and lanky, I would say, with some muscle definition but certainly not too much. A five o’clock shadow would whisper around a finely-defined jaw line and highlight bold cheekbones. My attraction to a man multiplies exponentially if he has nice glasses. Ten extra bonus points for a cozy, woolen sweater that looks so soft that my fingers would burn with the temptation to verify said softness.
But really, there’s something special about glasses.
So let’s assume that there’s a tiny slip of hope that you, a tall and lanky young man with a five-o’clock shadow, a fuzzy woolen sweater, and cute glasses sits at a table in the restaurant I work at. There’s a chance that I tell you that ketchup makes me uncomfortable, and maybe you jokingly ask, “Can you clean this ketchup up for me?”
Perhaps, though, you were to impress me with your fine features and wit – so much so that I would bother to remember you. There could be a likelihood that sometimes I might hang around the restaurant even when I am not working, in hopes to see you again. I would mention you to my friend, who I know you have choir with. “He was really cute,” I would say.
There’s a possibility that the oversized bow in my hair and laughter in my eyes would burn in your mind enough that you skirt around the restaurant after you finish class, hoping to catch a glimpse of me. You would talk to the-friend-of-mine-in-your-choir and tell her, “Your friend is really cute.” And then, after two weeks of peering into the restaurant without finding me, you cave and ask my friend for my number.
Then maybe there’s a chance that we hit it off. That it turns out we are both into competitive volleyball and are born perfectionists. That when I turn on Disney music in the car as a joke, your eyes light up and you know the words better than I do. I suppose there is a miniscule opportunity that on our first date, we talk until the coffee shop closes about people we love who have died (but somehow we can’t stop laughing through it). That when I take you to a high place in the middle of the night by the river, it’s cold enough that we have an excuse to squish together. You might politely admit you want to kiss me, and I throw in a dry “I do not want to kiss you” before my hands slide behind your neck and pull you to me. There’s a chance, too, that we rest our foreheads against one another’s and smile.
You might say, “This never happens to me.”
There’s a chance. Probably a small chance, but there’s a chance. I guess.
And maybe there’s a limited probability that things get even better. If you’re lucky, I will like the sparkle in your eye as you tell me about your biology lab. I might let you ramble on, even though I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Wouldn’t it be nice, too, if you liked the passionate tone I adopt when I talk about my classes? It’s not particularly likely, but hey, there’s always a chance. Probably.
This is all far-fetched speculation, though. Because really, nobody new ever comes into the restaurant I work at (and especially not on a Monday). So it’s all pretty unlikely.
But there’s a chance.
Maybe it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to think that you might ask me which songs I like and learn them on guitar for me. You might surprise me with your gentle voice. It wouldn’t be too unreasonable to assume, then, that goose bumps rise on my skin and crawl to my fingertips, making them tingle. I might feel brave enough to show you the stories I’ve written.
Perhaps, too, if you’re a handsome boy that cleverly pokes fun at my serving on a bland Monday afternoon, you might call me to say, “I know this is soon, and I don’t want to scare you, but maybe you can come over for Thanksgiving this weekend?” Perhaps you know that my family is one thousand kilometers away and I don’t have anywhere to go. Maybe you sense that I’m more homesick than I would care to admit – or maybe, I told you.
There’s always the possibility that we fall behind on our homework because time usually spent studying is now time dedicated to learning one another. Maybe we can’t quite pay attention in class anymore because we stayed up several nights in a row, kissing and talking. Maybe I can’t grasp the lecture on tropes and schemes (but maybe that’s because I’m trying to stifle the enormous grin that’s determined to radiate from beneath my tired eyes).
If you’re lucky, I might let you meet my friends, my boys. You could know enough about me to know that the boys are the closest thing I have to family here. You may show me off to your friends – and, in fact, anyone who bothers to look, because you insist on holding my hand as we walk across campus. I might not even mind when you find me on campus to kiss my forehead and walk me to class before you take the bus home. Just maybe, though.
This all depends, of course, on the off-chance that you come into the restaurant I work at, and you’re cute enough to grab my attention, and clever enough for me to bother to remember. So there’s not a huge chance. But there’s still a chance.
And if those stipulations are met, then maybe (just maybe) when we are laying together and I’m telling you a story, you interrupt to kiss me. It may start off slowly but it might hook deep inside of me and tug at long-forgotten feelings of contentment and bliss. You might then expect me to continue my story as if my stomach didn’t slide into knots of happiness.
If I trust you enough, I might let you take off some of my clothes. Maybe even all of them. I might trust you enough to tell you that my high school boyfriend sexually abused me. I might trust you enough to tell you that I cried all summer when I got my heart broken, and cried even harder when I found out that one of my best friends hung himself. I might tell you that I was considering therapy up until the point I met you.
And maybe, on the off-chance that you trust me, you’ll pull me closely and tell me about your dad’s mental illness. You will tell me what you’re afraid of and kiss me softly as you whisper, “It’s so good to feel good again.” You might tell me about your sleep disorder. You might ask me to sleep over a lot because you sleep better when I’m there. I might smile when you wrap your arm around my waist and hold me against your bare skin.
If you somehow convince me, there’s a possibility I might start thinking more than a couple of days ahead. I might grow comfortable with the idea that you’re going to be around for a while. Maybe you’ll invite me to your choir concert and I’ll book the night off work. I’ll invite you to my volleyball game (because heaven knows I would never let you watch one of my hockey games). You might talk about the summer ahead of us, and I might be filled with warmth that you have no hesitation to plan that far ahead. I might think about what to get you for Christmas.
There’s a pretty good chance that, if you’re a handsome boy with cute glasses who comes into the restaurant I work at, I might let my guard down eventually. I might breathe a sigh of relief. I suppose it’s not unlikely that I let myself get a little tangled up in you.
But maybe, when we are walking together, I will try to slip my arm in yours. You might pull your arm away and look at me with a grimace. When I ask, “What’s wrong?” your lips might quaver weakly, and you might say in a sad voice, “All the bad things.” I might stop dead in my tracks on the sidewalk, and there’s a chance that you admit, “I thought I was ready, but I’m not. I am so sorry.”
There’s a fair chance that we will end up in my dorm room to sit on my shitty single mattress and talk things through. You will start crying because you don’t know who you are and I will pull you into me and run my fingers through your hair. You will clench your fists with frustration and I will slide my hand into yours. You will sob on my chest, and I will kiss your forehead.
There’s a pretty fucking good chance, too, that I will start crying so hard that I can’t breathe. You might say, “This isn’t your fault and this has nothing to do with you,” and I promise I will not be able to listen. You may say, “You’re the perfect girl at the wrong time,” but it’s likely that all I would be able to think about is how humiliated I feel. With choky sobs, I might say to you, “I am just… so… lonely,” and you will say softly, “Me too.”
It’s definitely possible that I will change my entire schedule so I can avoid running into you. There’s a chance that my best friend will cry when I tell her that you broke up with me, that the-friend-of-mine-in-your-choir will come over as soon as she finds out. Knowing her, it’s pretty likely that she will demand, “What the fuck is wrong with him?” I wouldn’t be surprised if, the next time you have choir, she struts up to you and says, “What the fuck, man?” (to which you will probably hang your head and say, “Let’s not talk about this”).
My boys will probably take me out and buy me drinks and tell me that they love me anyways. My mother will probably tell me what I want to hear. I might skip a lot of classes and stop doing my homework. I might lose the usual bounce in my step and music in my voice. I might cry when I think of the songs I loved that you learned for me, or when I think about the time we sat side-by-side to do a crossword, or when I think of you at all. I might get belligerently drunk and lose my appetite altogether.
I might. There’s a chance.
There’s a slim possibility that you won’t talk to me for weeks, and I will get fed up and make you meet with me. My voice might shiver with nervousness as I say, “It would be a waste of chemistry if we weren’t even friends.” You probably would go into a whole tangent about the things you’ve figured out about yourself lately, and I might insist, “This is why we need to maintain some sort of friendship. You can talk about these things with me.” You might admit, “Not many people have seen me cry.”
There’s just a chance.
You might text me every now and again, or wave and smile when we bump into one another. And, to me, it will probably feel like you’re unreachable. And I will become unreachable to everyone else. My friends might worry and tell me to go out and kiss strangers, or not go out at all, or to spend time working on myself, or to not think of dating for a full year, or to try counselling. I might write pages upon pages trying to figure out what’s wrong with me.
I might. But no guarantees. Because really, what are the chances that any of this happens? It must be pretty poor. It has to be.
But then again, you came into the restaurant on a dreary Monday. I liked your glasses and sweater and smile, so I said, “My friend has choir with you.” We made jokes. I asked you questions. You tipped me too much. You asked the-friend-of-mine-in-your-choir for my number and she smirked knowingly. There were numerous instances where I let you take off my clothes, and when I told you things, and when I was smiling without even realizing I was smiling.
You introduced me to your family and your sister asked me to come to her birthday party. You sat in a booth at a shitty pub and drank beer with me and the boys. You sent me drunk text messages saying, “I can’t stop thinking about you.” I did not feel pierced by loneliness. “Things could not be better,” I told people when they asked. “He’s something special.”
I wasn’t even supposed to work that day.
No Comments Read more from Fallen Leaves