Unbothered

My fingers smell like chicken. I just finished eating the biggest salad of my life. He was on the phone, but not saying anything (the usual) while I carried on a conversation with a dear coworker I don’t get to see often. He sounded fine, the way he usually does after riling me up for what I think is no reason at all.

No reason at all. That’s the way it usually seems to the other person, doesn’t it? It’s never understood, where “all this” is coming from and what the purpose of it is.

Love. Tina Turner. What does it have to do with anything really?

I was thinking earlier today that maybe my love is just different. Either that or I am incapable of loving others which makes me a cold-hearted or heartless human being, which I am completely fine with. Even without the ability to love, I know what I possess the ability to empathize and to feel compassion for others. I know that I care about people and that is enough for me.

I’m on google now. I’m looking up the word love – who would’ve thought?
n. an intense feeling of deep affection
v. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone)

I look at all the synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment. Care very much for, feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, dote on, idolize, worship.

Scratch the last few off; I don’t have such regard for anyone. Everything else seems just about right though.

Just to make sure, I look up affection.
n. a gentle feeling of fondness or liking

Fondness
n. affection or liking for someone or something

What’s the problem? I have all of these. I care for him, want him to be in good health, to eat and rest well, to he happy and successful. I want this for everyone. The only thing I lack is an emotional high, which one can’t be in for an ongoing period – unless drugs are involved – and those moments do come and go, so again, what’s the problem?

I’m impassive a lot of the time.
n. not feeling or showing emotion

I don’t mind that, at all. It means I can care for you deeply, but won’t fall into a wreck if one day you are not a part of my life anymore. I’m fine with that. I don’t want to think that my sanity or emotional well-being is dependent on any one person outside of myself. I have enough trouble trying not to live off of society’s approval.

The bottom line is that maybe I love you. Maybe I don’t. I’m fine with you in my life and I’m fine with you not in my life. Either way I’m unperturbed.  I think this is a good thing. You know, self-preservation? It will help me to keep going in instances where I might become crippled.

But whatever. What do I know?

 

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I want to bury
My face in his neck,
To close my eyes
And breathe
Deeply.

I don’t want to smell him;
I just want to hide.
I want to submerge myself
In the refuge
Of that small space –
The darkness
The closeness.

If his arms
Happen to rise up
And envelop me,
I would be
All the more
Thankful.
If he plants
A small kiss
On my temple,
I would fall into the depth
Of the reverberating emotion
That would result
From that slight touch.

Time
And space
Would cease to exist
Until our lower backs
Started aching
From the weight
Of both our bodies.

If only my yearning
Could overcome
The breadth of the sea
Between us.

“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

cranes

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.

hear

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i suppose god heard my prayers.
i listened to the pastor and i prayed for my husband.
i was sixteen years old.

i suppose the one i prayed for heard in my voice how much i missed him,
despite me saying with firm conviction
that i didn’t want to do this anymore.

i suppose my cousin heard my sincerity.
i really didn’t visit only because i couldn’t afford it.
at the same time i didn’t want to ask for favours.
we are all struggling together.

but did my father hear me say i love him?
did i hear him when he showed it to me?

did the church hear the words of g-d?
or did they mask their confusion for fear of eternal death?

has god ever heard anyone pray?
does he hear anything at all?

do we hear bombs, gunshots and reports of storms
and cry to the sky to be saved?

i suppose that church brother i ran into this week
didn’t hear what i heard when i read the bible.
i suppose i didn’t care to listen to him tell me i should go back to church.
he never heard when i said there are things in the bible that don’t add up.
i never heard when he said that the bible cannot be wrong.
and when i got home, with his card still in my pocket,
i never heard that feeling as i tossed it in the trash.

via Daily Prompt: Heard