Things We Tell Ourselves

I balanced myself on the lean parapet outside the office. It was raining, and there was a meeting going on inside the office, and cutting his call was simply not an option. So I balanced myself as he spoke, catching bits of raindrops on my eyelashes.

“… and you won’t believe what she said!” He sounded appalled. More amused than disturbed by whatever news he was going to give me, but appalled nonetheless. “She texted back saying ‘Stay out of my life!’ ”

Ouch. That’s a bit harsh. The only time I ever said that to someone was when I was sixteen and I caught my boyfriend texting another girl calling her ‘babe’. Turns out I was right asking him to stay out of my life though, but that’s a story for another day.

“… and this is what I get?” he continues. “Who reacts like that when their ex sends them a nice picture of them? I just thought she’d like to have it.”

It DID seem a little ridiculous. In fact, it seemed downright preposterous that someone would talk to him like that. I didn’t need to be blinded by how much I adored him to say “Oh, chill out, she’s just being paranoid.” (Textbook. Never sound paranoid when talking to the guy you like. Ever.)

My day went on and it rained and poured and I stayed back late at work and took a lift home in a friend’s car. As I saw rain mist up my window, I did what anyone with a decent childhood does on a misty window. I wrote my name and made a smiley face. I think I was really happy. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we were so … connected.

He’d call when he woke up to tell me what he’d dreamt of, I’d call when I’d get bored at work, we’d call each other at night to recount our day and I’d always ALWAYS send him songs I liked and he’d always ALWAYS listen to them. It was comfortable and easy and it made me smile without realizing. I liked being the one he complained to, I think. Or the one he spoke to about his dreams and ambitions.
“I want to be a one mark answer in a history paper,” he’d say, stuffing his face in my pillow because that’s how he slept, all wrapped up in my blanket like a human burrito.

And then it happened. What always happens. Life.
He helped me pack and move and dispose and sell things off and all the while, I felt it. I’d say it was chemistry but that’d be putting it in high school terms. So, for lack of a better word, I’ll say it was warmth. I felt it as he said goodbye and I moved to a new city and I felt it as he told me that just because he never said it doesn’t mean he didn’t show it or feel it and he was right. He did.

I didn’t shed a tear as I left, you know? I was so convinced things would work. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we’d stay connected. Each other’s, at some plane.

Ah, Expectation, you filthy mistress!

I was in a new job. A new city. A new life, entirely. Of course I got busy.  I still called him. I think he got busy too. I think he may have gotten busier than he intended to. And somewhere between the unanswered calls and unread message, somewhere in the maze of new people and old family, somewhere in the spiral of Sylvia Plath quotations and different bed timings, I think I got used to not calling him.

I cut the line when he called today. It caught me by surprise and in all the excitement I cut the line. And I almost instantly called back when something in my head stopped me. I think I had nothing to say to him. I think I’d like to have asked him why he didn’t call or text anymore and heard him say he got busy, all the while knowing that’d be the answer. I know he got busy. I just thought I meant enough to him for that to not matter.

And I had nothing much to do so I opened a book and started reading it to distract myself. Calling him back was simply not an option. I guess that’s the only reason one could have asked him to stay out of their life. He was doing it anyway, might as well make it seem like your idea, right?
So I read my book and got involved in the story as the boy spoke about the girl he loved and I realized… in the end, in love, we all become stories.

And I hope he doesn’t end up just a one mark answer in a history paper.

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