There are certain days that provide you with certain feelings that encourage you to go lay down in the middle of traffic. It’s one of those days when I realize why I have a habit, a tic, for persuading myself out of feelings. For saying I feel nothing until I pay attention to the shape of those three words until it’s true. I feel nothing. It’s a magical thinking that works oh so well. This is how firewalkers get over those hot coals.
I suppose, even if I don’t want to, that if I have five hundred words to ruminate on how it is to know a guy and be in his orbit, then, maybe, when you get an email from said guy, I can spend my day’s quota on those sensations. Maybe someday I’ll look back at this and get something I don’t get now.
Just put on some Jeff Buckley while we muddle through.
He wrote back for the first time since March 25, checking in, hoping I was well, having since re-situated himself with whatever story and baggage and failings gone with him. In that terrible way of his, he needs a person. Like a body. Like a girl with a body. That was my takeaway. Nice to have it more or less in print. He is doing what I should do. Going out to meet people even if it’s not working. And what we were doing was nice, but a game, and to paraphrase, if we’d found away around that…, well, and he hopes I’m well.
And I keep saying, since I can’t say that I feel nothing, that I will get over it. Almost immediately, that’s the new go-to line. And there are equal frustrations attached when I use that to turn off whatever spigots start to overflow. Equal losses of experience, equal escape routes for the ache, and the stubbed-toe sort of pain that’s running through me. This is where the work is. The revelations, such as they are. I have to learn from this. Deal with it. Feel something legitimate and fully even if I don’t like it. Even if it makes my problems writ large, especially because it does.
It is okay. I mean, I understand that if I hadn’t heard anything from him ever again, I wouldn’t have died. In fact, that would have been easier. This will, in fact, put a fire under me to do something, if I can keep it alive through this constant tamping down and smothering of the flames. What do you say? It’s not you, it’s me? I don’t understand. I feel very much like Sabine, consigned to myth, and set aside. An imaginary friend. A spirit through a talking board. A player of a game, a top hat or a silver boot, stuffed in a plastic bag and stored back under the stairs. Our game, his game, as he said, of making simple things very complicated. I didn’t find it a game so much as I found it nice. The truth, embroidered. I found it exhilarating rather than enervating.
Somewhere along the line, I must have drawn dead and the bluff was called.
At the same time, what the fuck is the point of this? If I am a player of games, a coy creature, all pomp and no circumstance, then let me be. Let me sit in my inabilities, far away in this fairyland that is my life, the one I was doing my damndest to share, to work with, to cross so that we could find some middle to meet in. Let me scab and fail in some closet that doesn’t quite get you to Narnia. Let me stay just as I am without one more intervention to encourage me to be otherwise.
So am I grateful, too, that the burr of our interaction was just irritating enough that you wanted me to know it was both over and my fault.
No. That’s not what you meant. Not precisely. That’s just the only way I know how to take it. It’s your life and I am just some dandelion fluff going past it. I already want to think of it that way, too. How necessary this might be in this moment for you to be with people, to have the intimacy of proximity most humans require. Maybe I require. Requiring this of each other or of any specific person at all, and I fall apart. But I was trying and that’s what makes me upset. I was stretching as it was and the feedback is that nobody will match this pace.
And maybe I am grateful. Because maybe I have got to work harder inside if this is always the dance, always the result. If I never get further than the disappointment. Maybe this is my kickstart. Fuck it, I hate always needing to know what this is. What it means. How to make it okay. When. seriously, fuck him.
Of course, one could ask me that if I thought it would make a difference if I wrote back and said, here’s my number, let’s go to dinner. I am asking myself that when the rings of “I feel nothing” and “I will get over it” blur and become indistinguishable from white noise. I don’t have an answer. Or I do. I think that if I could do that, it would mean something. I both can’t do it. because my reasons haven’t changed for not doing it – I think all my self-esteem has collapsed like a rabbit-less top hat. I haven’t found the ladder up out of the body anxiety, the car anxiety, the life anxiety. I am also of some part of me (Mildred, surely) that feels profound relief that this little tête–à–tête is over. And that there is something that exists past relief. A grave, knowing disappointment that tears another day off the calendar. That sighs softly and flails a limp wrist at the wall that keeps it, bricked by ghosts.
More and less and none.