“What’s this number? Why are you calling in the middle of the day?”
“I needed to talk to someone.”
“Why is it me?”
“Because you adore me a little more and know me a little less than most people?”
I cried at the balcony but this time it all happened in my head while I whispered into the office telephone so that no one would hear – even if everyone was out for lunch. The warm sun, the peeling table, the tears, the heartache, the displeasure of mediocrity, the dilemma of restlessness, the impossibility of perfection and the inevitable end all crumpled into one big, tangled ball; I had to slowly unravel it for myself before understanding how my own feelings work. So I explained in 3 minutes what I would have done if you didn’t pick up your phone. Sit at the balcony and cry except that maybe it’s all in the head.
Then you said, “Did you sleep last night?” Yes, I did, I drank myself to sleep and then I woke up to two cups of coffee that you didn’t make for me. “You said you’d stop drinking,” you slowly said. But I couldn’t do it knowing that you were doing the same thing, I said. You laughed and said silly girl, you’re not that bad. If I could punch you in the face through the phone, I would – because I am that bad. I am the worst.
There was silence for a moment and I wondered, what were you doing on the other side of town? Were you looking at your computer screen analysing numbers or eating lunch at your desk? Then your voice pierced through and I heard, “I’m sitting next to you on the balcony with coffee okay?”
I told you to fuck yourself and hung up before I burst out in tears.
“Hey, stay over today.”
“No. I won’t have anything to wear tomorrow.”
“You should bring some clothes over next time.”
“I’m not your girlfriend.”
“My mom has some clothes over here and she’s not my girlfriend.”
“… Was that supposed to convince me or to discourage me? Cos you’re doing it wrong.”
Did you put something in our alcohol? Because we were funny tonight. We didn’t reference sad movies, didn’t bitterly laugh at each other’s career dead ends, didn’t play games, didn’t force each other to share the truth, you know? At one point you were tickling me and I kicked you in the shoulder in an attempt to run away. I felt 18 and I remember being like this when I was with boys previously. And then… and then…
How long does young love last before it expires slowly like perishables in the pantry? Wouldn’t it be funny if we had to be bitter and sour for us to be preserved for a long time?
“All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing… and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn’t want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent? ”
Don’t we create our own demons? Two nights ago I laid in bed with you and I heard what you said in your drunken, sleepy state. It was a little secret that spoke volumes about you, and your relationship with me and other girls. And in my drunken, sleepy state, a lot of things suddenly made sense.
By no means are we anything, but we’re definitely something, no matter how small and little. I’m not pushing for anything - never, in fact - I’m not mature enough to handle an adult relationship. In fact I think I recoil when you ask for more. There are things that only you know, simply because you’re still a stranger, yet huge realities that you don’t see and know simply because you’re not a part of my life.
Don’t we create our own demons? Two nights ago I tried to slowly dig deep into your heart and I tried to see what it looked like. I imagined it to be a winding path of complexities, compact and neat in a box that looked like a cute coconut. Instead all I got was layers after layers of messy muscle, tendons and blood after ripping flesh too quickly apart. Halfway searching, you grabbed my wrists and told me to stop. Not because it hurt you, but because you said I wouldn’t be prepared to see what was really in there. And I snarled and said, “are you fucking kiddin me? I slowly made an incision so I could dig my fingers into my own chest so I could rip out to see my own to see if something was wrong with it. I know what gross is. I know what disgusting is. I know what reality is.”
That night, you too, reached in to pulled my heart out of my mouth and flung it in a corner. “It’s broken - get rid of it.” you said. I reached over to close the gap between us and told you to fix yours first.
When Strangers Click, a 2011 documentary about online dating.
It reminds me of that famous Margaret Atwood quote: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” It also reminds me of something written by one of the mods of Sex Worker Problems: “Misandry irritates. Misogyny kills.”
I mean, it’s just true.