my dating life, sputtering, creaking, groaning into a slight movement

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

Hey _____

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?

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