I realize that he really, really liked me last year
how did I not realize that last year
I realize that he really, really liked me last year
how did I not realize that last year
Am I worried about him?
He should not, and cannot, find out that I am dating someone else. Not because I am doing something wrong, because I am not, but because I think it would hurt him because of his take on the break up. He hadn’t been ready. He probably hasn’t totally moved on just yet. And I think seeing me do so so quickly (and seemingly callously) would be detrimental to his healing. And JKm is not a bridge I want to burn.
Why have I moved on so quickly? One month closure to a year of my life. I wondered, but then I realized – I’ve been moving on for months now. Unfairly, I broke up with JKm and processed that fact long ago, back in spring, when I realized I couldn’t stay with him. It hasn’t been a month. It’s been six.
Well, we had that date, which went so smoothly and well I was amazed at how much I enjoyed his company and yet how easy it was. We cooked, so very chill and low-key, but so right. And how much we had in common! Film, coincidentally. Somehow, aligning music tastes – he introduced me to an album by my favorite artist that I somehow had missed (how?!). And at the end, he kissed me – on the cheek. Because, of course, I’m sick, as always.
I’d been looking forward to that date, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Somehow, I already see the future expanding in front of us: caressing his cheek, his jaw in the light on that couch in his suite; turning in bed to smile at him; giving him a peck in greeting; laughing in the chair in his kitchen as his friends bustle about, cooking in camaraderie; sending each other music that we’re truly stoked about and listening to it on his record player; looking out at the view from the top of a mountain, side by side.
I’m excited. I’m ready to look forward.
But Cam could see nothing. She was thinking how all those paths and the lawn, thick and knotted with the lives they had lived there, were gone: were rubbed out; were past; were unreal, and now this was real; the boat and the sail with its patch; Macalister with his earrings; the noise of the waves--all this was real. Thinking this, she was murmuring to herself, "We perished, each alone," for her father's words broke and broke again in her mind, when her father, seeing her gazing so vaguely, began to tease her. Didn't she know the points of the compass? he asked. Didn't she know the North from the South? Did she really think they lived right out there? And he pointed again, and showed her where their house was, there, by those trees. He wished she would try to be more accurate, he said: "Tell me--which is East, which is West?" he said, half laughing at her, half scolding her, for he could not understand the state of mind of any one, not absolutely imbecile, who did not know the points of the compass. Yet she did not know. And seeing her gazing, with her vague, now rather frightened, eyes fixed where no house was Mr. Ramsay forgot his dream; how he walked up and down between the urns on the terrace; how the arms were stretched out to him. He thought, women are always like that; the vagueness of their minds is hopeless; it was a thing he had never been able to understand; but so it was. It had been so with her--his wife. They could not keep anything clearly fixed in their minds. But he had been wrong to be angry with her; moreover, did he not rather like this vagueness in women? It was part of their extraordinary charm. I will make her smile at me, he thought. She looks frightened. She was so silent. He clutched his fingers, and determined that his voice and his face and all the quick expressive gestures which had been at his command making people pity him and praise him all these years should subdue themselves. He would make her smile at him. He would find some simple easy thing to say to her. But what? For, wrapped up in his work as he was, he forgot the sort of thing one said. There was a puppy. They had a puppy. Who was looking after the puppy today? he asked. Yes, thought James pitilessly, seeing his sister's head against the sail, now she will give way. I shall be left to fight the tyrant alone. The compact would be left to him to carry out. Cam would never resist tyranny to the death, he thought grimly, watching her face, sad, sulky, yielding. And as sometimes happens when a cloud falls on a green hillside and gravity descends and there among all the surrounding hills is gloom and sorrow, and it seems as if the hills themselves must ponder the fate of the clouded, the darkened, either in pity, or maliciously rejoicing in her dismay: so Cam now felt herself overcast, as she sat there among calm, resolute people and wondered how to answer her father about the puppy; how to resist his entreaty--forgive me, care for me; while James the lawgiver, with the tablets of eternal wisdom laid open on his knee (his hand on the tiller had become symbolical to her), said, Resist him. Fight him. He said so rightly; justly. For they must fight tyranny to the death, she thought. Of all human qualities she reverenced justice most. Her brother was most god-like, her father most suppliant. And to which did she yield, she thought, sitting between them, gazing at the shore whose points were all unknown to her, and thinking how the lawn and the terrace and the house were smoothed away now and peace dwelt there. "Jasper," she said sullenly. He'd look after the puppy. And what was she going to call him? her father persisted. He had had a dog when he was a little boy, called Frisk. She'll give way, James thought, as he watched a look come upon her face, a look he remembered. They look down he thought, at their knitting or something. Then suddenly they look up. There was a flash of blue, he remembered, and then somebody sitting with him laughed, surrendered, and he was very angry. It must have been his mother, he thought, sitting on a low chair, with his father standing over her. He began to search among the infinite series of impressions which time had laid down, leaf upon leaf, fold upon fold softly, incessantly upon his brain; among scents, sounds; voices, harsh, hollow, sweet; and lights passing, and brooms tapping; and the wash and hush of the sea, how a man had marched up and down and stopped dead, upright, over them. Meanwhile, he noticed, Cam dabbled her fingers in the water, and stared at the shore and said nothing. No, she won't give way, he thought; she's different, he thought. Well, if Cam would not answer him, he would not bother her Mr. Ramsay decided, feeling in his pocket for a book. But she would answer him; she wished, passionately, to move some obstacle that lay upon her tongue and to say, Oh, yes, Frisk. I'll call him Frisk. She wanted even to say, Was that the dog that found its way over the moor alone? But try as she might, she could think of nothing to say like that, fierce and loyal to the compact, yet passing on to her father, unsuspected by James, a private token of the love she felt for him. For she thought, dabbling her hand (and now Macalister's boy had caught a mackerel, and it lay kicking on the floor, with blood on its gills) for she thought, looking at James who kept his eyes dispassionately on the sail, or glanced now and then for a second at the horizon, you're not exposed to it, to this pressure and division of feeling, this extraordinary temptation. Her father was feeling in his pockets; in another second, he would have found his book. For no one attracted her more; his hands were beautiful, and his feet, and his voice, and his words, and his haste, and his temper, and his oddity, and his passion, and his saying straight out before every one, we perish, each alone, and his remoteness. (He had opened his book.) But what remained intolerable, she thought, sitting upright, and watching Macalister's boy tug the hook out of the gills of another fish, was that crass blindness and tyranny of his which had poisoned her childhood and raised bitter storms, so that even now she woke in the night trembling with rage and remembered some command of his; some insolence: "Do this," "Do that," his dominance: his "Submit to me." So she said nothing, but looked doggedly and sadly at the shore, wrapped in its mantle of peace; as if the people there had fallen asleep, she thought; were free like smoke, were free to come and go like ghosts. They have no suffering there, she thought. - To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
This was powerful – so aptly describing my relationship with my father. Growing up, seeing him always as the villain. Growing up a bit more, and learning empathy, I was able to extend it to him to a certain extent, but it was always so difficult to extend it to action, to words. Because how does one rebuild a relationship that was never there? How does one even start a conversation, when one has spent one’s entire life shutting it down? And what about when he continues to terrify me, and anger me?
Last week, lying on the grass outside my dorm, letting my thoughts wander:
Thinking of my bleak love life. Thinking of the people I turned down all last year. Thinking that somehow, when I was finally single, there was no one left who was interested in me. Thinking I suppose I’ll direct all my energy into other things. Thinking I’ll just pick up a hobby and bide my time until I grow old and pass away quietly, that one aunt.
Yesterday, in the mail room:
Seeing JS, talking to his inescapably hipster, interesting friends. He got a clean haircut. I haven’t seen him since last year. Remembering this: being interested//being unsure//going with the safe choice. Remembering this: disappointment//never crossing paths//small spark fading to nothing. Reliving this feeling: being desirable only at the very beginning, my personality boring others to the core, people having moved on once they realize I’m not special. Explicitly because I don’t know how to talk to him if we say hi, I linger by the door, behind him, and assume a jaunty-leaning position, and scroll nonchalantly on my phone, trying to make it explicitly clear to onlookers that it was a casual scroll of reading a very engaging article and not a phone-scroll of insecurity (which it wasn’t, anyway), and it’s taking a very long time and then someone says
very casually and yet – deliberately; not a moment of eye contact in which both parties are obligated to pass a word of acknowledgement but a noticing, and then a decision, and then a word; and then I look up and it’s JS and then there’s the awkward moment of
Oh! Hey! What’s up?
How are you?
Yeah good! How are —?
Also good –
as one person is walking out of a room with another and so the conversation ends right there, niceties dangling into the atmosphere.
And that was that.
Today, during my god-awful class:
“Hey ___! Not sure if you have my number saved but it’s JS…”
and I read JS’s name and think: it can’t possibly be JS and wonder: do I know another JS? and drift: well, there’s AM’s one friend, but why would he be texting me…
“I saw you the other day…”
JS? J? S?
“….hang out sometime…not only platonic…if you’re down…”
and my heart starts beating so fast and I close the phone and stare at the board, mind flying
Half an hour later, I respond:
“hey!….just broke up…processing….but yes”
Reflecting: is he still into me? Did I ever cross his mind last year, as he did mine? How genuine is this? Did my jaunty pose work? After an entire year at this school of amazing people, how could he possibly still think I was interesting/attractive/cool enough to date? Did he know I broke up with JKm? Did he even know I was ever with JKm? The mailing room… what had he thought of when he saw me? Why did he text me a full day later? Did he hesitate? He asked AM if I was single. He asked AM for advice. How serious is he?
b r e a k ~ he just asked me to lunch:
cooking at his place, if I like to cook? ~
Worrying: do I still know how to date? Do I still know how to be charming? What if I’m simply not interesting enough and he realizes halfway through? Shut up me, I’m interesting. I’m worthwhile. If it goes badly, it’s simply because we’re not compatible. What will JKm think? Will he be angry? Sad? Hurt? Will he know? Should I tell him I’m going on a date? Is this even a date? Wait – is this a date? What are the expectations? I’m too sick to kiss anyone anyway. But why am I thinking about kissing?
homework to do
emails to open
research to do
family to call
friends to see
articles to read
music to listen to
novels to cover
hours of sleep to catch
does it matter?
I am not happy
but again, as always before, I feel