“While I am telling this man I want to live without him I am waiting for him to text me back…”

My mind is in a similar place now. I forgot that he had said he was going out to bring his cousin to her evening college classes. I have to wait for him to get back home, where there’s internet, so we can talk again. I don’t even have anything to talk about.

This is my problem, or our saviour:  I want to talk to him; I want to tell him things; I want him to hear me thinking out loud. Even though I can’t say the words “I love you”, I want him to hear me speak.

“But can you replace him as my closest friend though if I work up the courage to end it tonight?”

Except it’d be weird to have my closest friend swapped out for someone else. Except I don’t trust you that much yet. Except I don’t want to have to go over everything with you that he already knows. I’m growing rather tired of bearing myself repeatedly to one person after the other.

“Girl you can hit me up anytime.”

Joy and an aftertaste reminiscent of that hole Christians say everyone has that only God can fill.

  *   *   *

Today he gave me a compliment.

“See, and I like you for that.”

“You like me for what?”

I felt something like a 16 year old who had to tell her mother that she in fact didn’t want to be a ballerina, after her mother had invested money, energy and several years to her classes, recitals and shows.

I rationalised the complimented action, made it look like something I would have done anyway. I know it did nothing to alter his perception.

It’s been about an hour and a half; he hasn’t gotten back yet. There’s a student irritating me because she’s talking on her phone even though I told her twice to take the call outside.

Never mind that. This mindfulness thing, or whatever it is I’m doing, seems to be working for me these days. If no one else has disrupted it thus far, she will not be the one to break the chain.

Afternoon Talks

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“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I smiled, surprised at how good this exchange made me feel.

I hung up the phone and tried to call my friend back. I had dismissed her call because I was on the phone with him. I had 10 minutes until my shift started and I was curious as to what she had wanted to say.

Earlier I had asked her how many times she had broken up with her boyfriend. She said many; they had even almost broken up the night before. I smiled and asked how they got back together afterwards.

“I just wanted to know if this up and down is a normal thing that all or most couples go through. I find it rather annoying.”

“Yes and no…we go through it more because of the distance. Sometimes it gets to you. You start questioning if it’s worth it. You’re stressed out about it. And then most times you remember why you’re in it and you just kinda get through it.”

 

Messages Misunderstood

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More messages. He calls me baby and I shake my head. He doesn’t know what the problem is. I say there isn’t one.

Things had tided over, sort of. I was trying not to think about it and move on, cuz it’s dumb really. I have a life I need to figure out. I don’t want to spend my time arguing over word choice that wasn’t bad or intentionally hurtful. I have mood swings. We both know this. No need to blow shit up.

“Sounds like you don’t want me to call you that.”

“Whatever you want. I’m window shopping cuz I have some time. I’m hungry though, but there isn’t anything I want to eat [the sad face emoji with the eyes squeezed shut]. ”

“Fine. So you actually have a problem with me and keep saying everything is OK?”

I don’t understand this association. I suppose it makes some sense, but that’s not what I meant.

“There’s no need for the ‘with me’. I just don’t like being called baby most of the time. The problem isn’t ‘with you’ it’s with what you said.”

He says he doesn’t get it.

More misunderstandings. More messages. I don’t get to tell him that going to grad school for sociology instead of social work is weighing on my mind. I’d prefer to talk about that instead.

According to him, he doesn’t mean anything to me and things are always fine until he opens up.

We misunderstand each other a few more times. I’ve grown used to this. I don’t get annoyed much anymore when he says something I can’t comprehend. I still get annoyed however, when he doesn’t understand me. Most times I just can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered with a lot of things.

He says for this relationship to work he should lie to me, because that’s when I’m happy. I say “well that’s sad.”

telephonewires4

“How was your night?”

“Mm. It was alright. Better than staying home with nothing to do wondering what to do with my time.”

I forgot what he said here. Maybe he was alluding to something I had implied earlier.

I don’t remember exactly what my response was either, but it was a ramble and went something to the effect of

“I love you. I really do, I think I love you, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Like after this trip, I came back and I felt really positive about the relationship, but… Like the book I just finished reading is about ageing – the guy is telling the story over generations and you just see time going and you grow old and your body sags and I don’t even have the person I love with me so I can spend as much time with him as possible and cherish every moment I can. I just feel like in life there are always choices to make. There’s A and B and you have to choose one. Or maybe you say none of the above and you stay where you are, but either way time is going. It’s always going and you can’t get it back. So even if you choose A, you can’t come back and say let’s see how B is if A doesn’t work out. Or if you stay stuck where you are, time is still going no matter what you do. Like I’m 23 and other people my age are making steps. I don’t see what I’m doing with my life. I graduated with a degree, was happy when I graduated, but now what am I doing with it? I’m $40,000 in debt for a degree that I’m not using. Should I go to grad school? But I’m not sure I want to spend another $30,000+ or get that much in loans and then have it turn out to be something I don’t want. I just feel like my life is wasting and I don’t even have the person I love with me to hug and maybe just not think about it.”

“So what are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to go to sleep cuz I have work in the morning.”

I wake up and see that the call has been disconnected. There is a message from him. I don’t read it. I had asked him if I was going to wake up to messages on my phone. I strongly dislike that; I don’t see the point when he could just speak to me. What is the point of being on the phone.

I get out of bed, strip and go to the bathroom. I brush my teeth in a rush while still trying to do a good job. After I shower and get back to my room, I try to remember what I had decided to wear. I change my mind, not wanting to wear heals two days in a row.

Maybe while eating my bowl of cereal, maybe afterwards, I read his message. I’m not in the mood, but I do it anyway.

It says something like if you wonder what I saw in you when we were friends and chose to be in a relationship with you even though you’re so far away, it’s “self-respect”. It caused me to trust you. …I know I have a woman of quality [three heart eyes and a heart kissing face].

My eyes run over the message quickly, trying to get the gist of it. I respond with “OK” and “gm” for good morning with a kissing face, but not the one with the heart and not the one with the blushing cheeks.

Sudden Downpour

“Oh, hello,” I give a slight smile and nod a little. I don’t want a conversation. I walk around a little after looking outside again. It’s raining harder. Damn. What the hell was wrong with technology, or whoever was in charge of weather information? My phone didn’t say anything about rain, anything at all. Cloudy I can deal with, not rain – especially when I don’t have an umbrella. Shit. Does this always have to happen to me? The one time I decide I’m not going to bring my umbrella is the day it rains, when my phone said it wouldn’t. Of course. I should be used to this by now.

An exasperated sigh leaves my lips and the creep comes up to me again. Why do I always run into those? Old creeps. Can’t a young, decent looking guy with nice teeth come up to me and say something? No. Always these old creeps staring at me. It’s even worse when they smile. Ugh. I sound like a high schooler. I should stop. But damn!

“Looking for anything in particular?”

“What? Oh. No. Not really.” I pull back the corners of my mouth a little and walk away again. Just stay away from me. You know very well I’m only in here because of the rain. I’ll be out of here soon enough. Just go stand behind the counter or something. Why am I so irritable though? My life really isn’t that bad. I should be more grateful. Yeah but I’m not. I don’t know why either. Another sigh.

My phone says it should keep raining for another two hours. Isn’t that nice? Where can I buy an umbrella? I really don’t feel like standing in this store for two hours. I can’t even see well. There’s hardly any light. Wow, that’s cool. I remember those. Didn’t people ever break their fingers trying to make phone calls on those things? Ha ha. They look nice though. I had a toy one when I was little. I don’t even know what this place is. I didn’t get to look at the sign before I ran in here. I think it’s new too. Good for them. Oh god here comes the creep again. Go look at something and pretend you don’t see him. Maybe he’ll just walk past you.

An old draft that I can’t remember.

Who To Love

A man and a woman made two children together. The second one didn’t look like the man. The first one really did. Maybe the second one wasn’t his. It was his, the mother said. The man wasn’t so sure. He didn’t really talk to that child – the second one. They never really got to bond. The child was never able to get comfortable around the man. Somehow he didn’t think that was his fault. For some reason – nobody knows – the second child didn’t grow up to be like all the other children. She had funny eyes. One went up and down all by itself when she ate. Everyone thought that was strange. She talked funny too. Couldn’t pronounce her words properly, even as she got older. She didn’t do well in school. Her father didn’t like her grades. Why wasn’t she smart like the first child? The second child wasn’t quick. She didn’t understand things quickly, and she couldn’t explain things quickly. Her mannerisms were funny too. Is your sister handicapped? The children asked the first child. No. The first child didn’t like that question. Far away they moved, after the first child finished high school. The second one was almost done. Barely made it through the foreign high school, and the father was not happy. Second child had a bit of an attitude too. She didn’t like to listen. Almost never did her chores. Rude little girl. No college for you said the father after she was done with high school. I don’t think you are ready. I will not sign the paper. The second child remained quiet. Well maybe college was not for her. Fine. She didn’t want to go anyway. She won’t go. She won’t go to college. Far away she moved, to board at a post-secondary academy. No cell phone. Limited internet access. Not a lot of communication with the father. Father was not happy. I cannot have a constructive conversation with her he said to the first child. Why? What happened? The first child asked the father. All she says is hi. Do you answer? No. Why not? The first child didn’t understand. I’d rather not deal with her the father said. The first child wanted to cry.

A Good Summer

“This was a good summer.”

“…yeah”

“Because I got to meet you.”

“Because I went out a lot.”

For her it was because she had a social life – a real one – for the first time in the twenty years that she’d been alive. It was because she finally got to do what everyone else was doing; going out with friends, staying out at night. She was doing something new, something different, and she liked it. It wasn’t him at all. He was just a part of it. One of the things she was trying out. Everyone else was walking around holding hands. She wanted to know what that was like. It wasn’t him at all. He was just a part of it.

“It wasn’t me?”

She shook her head. It never occurred to her to lie.

“Oh okay I take it back then.”

“Okay.”

He didn’t sound hurt. She wasn’t very concerned. They remained in their embrace as they waited for her bus to get to the station. It had been a nice evening.

My Mother’s Yellow Lap

Her shirt is yellow. It’s the long one with the sleeves cut off. I think she said it belonged to her brother. She’s really short so she wears it like a dress. She’s sitting on my bed. The sheets are plaid, green. I don’t know why, not exactly why, but I lie down and rest my head on her lap. I turn my face towards her belly. It’s comfortable, and I cry there. I place my right arm around her and hold her. I know she’ll try to move me so she can look at my face. I don’t want her to. I hold her tightly.

She calls my name. She’s worried. I can hear it in her voice. My face is all wet now. My body is jerking. I’m not hiding the fact that I’m crying anymore. Doesn’t make any sense. She already knows. She keeps calling my name, trying to move me away from her, trying to look at me. She’s asking me what’s wrong. She’s really worried. What’s wrong with her baby? I just hold her. I don’t want to move. I just want to stay there and cry in my mother’s lap. She just wants to know what’s wrong.

I don’t say anything, but in my head I tell her to let me be. Just let me cry on you. Don’t ask me anything. I’m not even sure myself. Right now I need to cry, and I want to do it here. This is comfortable. Don’t worry too much. Just let me cry.

Finally I give up, because she won’t. She won’t stop calling me and trying to look at my face. She won’t stop asking me what’s wrong. She won’t stop worrying. I give up. I let her go. She’s always been strong. I can’t hold on to her any longer because she keeps pulling me. I let go, and I get up. I wipe my face. She’s still worried. She asks what’s wrong. She calls my name. I shake my head. It’s nothing. She asks what’s wrong. I shake my head again. We keep doing that. She asks what’s wrong. I shake my head. I don’t remember what I said to her to make her stop. I get up, and I go to the bathroom. I rinse my face.

The above is a memory from high school. I’d like to go back there. To that bed. To that house. To that country. To that woman. To her lap. To her arms. If I could, I’d go back, or not back, but there. I’d go there, but without the crying this time.

 

Most Mornings

I wake up in the darkness I fell asleep in, with my laptop beside me. I glance down and look at the time on the radio clock I got when I first came here. I exhale and stay on the bed, maybe one second, maybe two. I get up and push down until I’m feeling for my slippers with my feet. Walk slowly until I can get to the light switch. Flick. Light. Look in the mirror. The scarf I tied my hair with last night only moved a little away from my hairline on the side I slept on. Bathroom. Pee. Wash my hands. Upstairs to the kitchen. Cereal. Heat the milk up first, then add the cereal. Downstairs, to the folded bed against the wall and in front of the one I slept in. Drag my laptop down towards me and prop it open. I have time to watch a little more of the drama episode I was watching last night. Chew chew chew, while keeping track of the time. I’m finished, but I can keep watching for exactly two more minutes. The app on my phone says the bus will be down the street soon. If I don’t start getting dressed in two minutes, I could miss the bus and be late for work. I hate being late, for anything. Fine. Two more minutes and I pause the episode. Bathroom, brush my teeth quickly, then run back in and put my clothes on. Six minutes till the bus comes. If I don’t leave right now I’ll have to run. My bus pass is already in my bag. I know that. My keys are in there too. Do I have my phone and my earphones? Need those. Scarf? Need that too. Gloves? Just shove them in the bag. I can put them on later. Am I good? Have everything? Think so. Almost through the door I turn around and glance around my room in case there is anything I forgot. Nothing. Okay good. Check the time. Five minutes. I’m going to have to run. Damn it. Upstairs. Through the door. Make sure it’s closed properly behind me. It is. I run. Down the steps, onto the sidewalk. Across the street. One more, and down the hill. Three minutes. I’m good. I’ll catch it. I get to the bus stop and check the app again. No need. I can see the bus coming around the corner. Okay good. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. That was nice.

 

 

This was obviously written a while ago since it’s summer now and I have no need for a scarf or gloves. I have no idea why I didn’t publish this. It looks done to me.

And with that she closed her laptop down and proceeded to exit the library, not even bothering to look at me though she knew I had called for her attention.

Go ahead. You’re making my day, I thought.

I already had a headache and I was getting more irritated by the second because of the loud buzz in what was supposed to be a quiet place to study.