I Am Right Behind You

What are you doing? Where are you going? Why must you move in the opposite direction from where I’m moving? It’s morally and ethically wrong that someone with your face should be accelerating further and further away from my face. Our faces should be mooshing together, repeatedly, aggressively, with fluids even. You should be getting closer to me, not further away. You should be thinking about me, not how to reach your mysterious irrelevant destination. At this moment, the laws of physics seem fundamentally unjust, seem to be working against my happiness; with every passing second, the distance between us grows larger and larger.  There is no way for me to stop it, no way to avoid it.

How can I make you my girlfriend in this split second? I saw your face, and I thought, ‘That’s her. That’s my girlfriend. Forever.’ You saw my face, and you thought, ‘That’s a person.’ The fact that my momentary presence failed to catch your attention strikes me as profoundly horrifying and against the will of the universe. I feel that the extreme telekinetic force of my longing should cause you to spontaneously be my wife, and why doesn’t it, why am I still alone? Dear God, grant me the power, for just two seconds, to instill in this other human being an intense manic affection for me that will never end but only grow deeper until we both must get plastic surgery to resemble each other like Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye, and then, in a romantic pagan ceremony, we cut off tiny pieces of our bodies and slowly devour each other alive and then have our brains implanted into a robot, so that we can never die, and we can love each other forever or at least until the sun goes supernova, possibly until the heat death of the universe if we secure a seat on a CEV (Civilian Evacuation Vessel). Do it. Make it happen.

As we pass each other in the hallway, there’s no socially acceptable way for me to stop you and say, “WILL YOU DATE ME YOU’RE PRETTY I LIKE YOU GET IN THE VAN.” How would I even stop you? I would have to leap in front of you, dive into your path, kick out your knees. You’re walking so quickly, I would have to grab your hair and say, “STOP MOVING AWAY FROM ME, LADY. I NEED YOUR SOUL TO TOUCH MY SOUL.” I would need to yell, “Free money!” or fall on my knees screaming. If I say, “Hello, I’m Brad,” you will probably say, “What do you want?” and I’ll say, “What do I want?” and you’ll say, “Yeah, what do you want?” and then I’ll say, “YOU I WANT YOU I NEED YOU OR I’LL DIE!” No, there’s no method of initiating contact that will not come off as menacing or ominous, particularly because we don’t know anything about each other.

If only I’d written my autobiography, I could hand it to you, so you would understand why I need to be in your life. The autobiography would consist of seven volumes and a free Ziploc baggie of adderall stapled to the inside cover of each volume. You would be so engrossed, so stimulated by the epic narrative that you would have a slight cerebral hemorrhage. Better yet, I’d like to beam all my memories into your brain, omitting the gross ones, so we could skip all the boring dating crap and move directly to being soulmates for all eternity. I don’t want to be in a situation where it’s social unacceptable for me to make out with you, and the “getting to know you/ first date” period requires me to pretend I don’t have a constant physically debilitating erection at all times you’re in eyesight. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of energy. Who needs the aggravation?

It’s important that I not be perceived as a “rapist.”

I have to memorize your face, scorch it into my brain tissue, carve your perfect features into my palm with an xacto knife. When I get home, I’ll get on Facebook and go through every student’s profile one by one until I find you. It’ll take a long time, but don’t worry. I’m very patient. And after some extensive research, I’ll discern what classes you’re taking, and, oh yes, I’ll enroll in those classes, academically excel at those classes, sit next to you in those classes, and you will ask me to help you in those classes. You will. You’ll need my help because I’ll be so proficient at the curriculum.

Who are your friends? I will identify your friends, become friends with your friends, and then your friends will introduce me as if I am a normal stable regular person with no personality disorders. You will look into my eyes and understand intuitively how nice I am, how unbelievably goddamn nice I am. With little difficulty, I will contort my facial expression into one that is reasonable and non-threatening.

It seems unfair to judge me as morally deficient when there’s no other way for me to enter your life without creeping, no honorable way to procure the information necessary to elicit affection from you. What am I expected to do? We could’ve been biology classmates, coworkers at the Gap, or members of French club, and the fact that we’re not is merely a hiccup of fate, one we shouldn’t allow to come between us. Why would you entrust your happiness to the capricious whims of a cruel and hateful deity? You wouldn’t of course. If you love someone, you must “like” all of her photos on Facebook. Her favorite music must become your favorite music. You must keep commenting on her wall, keep favoriting her tweets, keep DMing her until she falls in love with you. You may be walking away from me, walking to your class or to lunch, but that’s okay; I’m right behind you. I’m always right behind you. TC mark

image – daniellehelm


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  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    You had me until the creepy line at the end about “always being right behind you” lol but other than that this is pretty much a summary of every high school crush I ever had.

  • maaajhie

    Funny turned creepy…

  • http://intervital.tumblr.com eileen

    You know the writing is pretty damn good when you can empathize and relate to such a psycho. So well-written. I’m totally looking at all your feeds and articles!


    lol. But for real, thanks for publishing this! I loved it!

  • blahblah

    No lie, the moment I clicked on this link and started reading “Psycho Killer” by The Talking Heads started playing on Pandora. 

    I’m starting to think Book Girl read Jack Cazir’s last piece, got pissed, and sent a bunch of evil spirits to haunt TC. Hey, you can never trust those Bushwick girls…

  • becci

    loved this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    It’s okay, Brad, relax, I’ll date you.

  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

    oh god oh god oh god oh god do not read at work lololololololllo;sfkslfnk;jdsbf

  • joyce nancy

    aaaaaaand… amazing.

  • Liz

    I noticed that this one wasn’t tagged “J/K”…

  • Anonymous

    My God this scared the shit out of me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iamahmad Ahmad Radheyyan

    I’m getting a restraining order against you.

  • http://twitter.com/SophieZhao Sophie Zhao

    Brad, you are my fave.

  • Guestation

    “…how unbelievably goddamn nice I am.”
    this was amazing

  • LDN

    It’s important that I not be perceived as a “rapist.”…Lol.

    • Guest

      Creeps me out a wee bit that you put rapist in quotations. 

  • Andrea Coates

    What a Creep. I’m disturbed than Men being Borderline Violent is perceived as Funny.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s Important to note that you Capitalized all of the words you found Emphatic in your Response. It lets me know that you truly Understand English.

  • Katie Bennett

    This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.  Not only was it hilarious, I think we can all relate to the desire to talk to that stranger who we’re convinced would be our soulmate, if only the circumstances permitted.  Fuck those circumstances!  Let’s break these invisible barriers and do what we most want to do, talk and connect… without seeming like rapists…

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrickhuffine Patrick Huffine

    This wasn’t psychopathic or violent or creepy at all. It was adolescent 
    male . This is what every 12-16 year old guy feels, constantly. 

    Thank you Brad for taking me back into my high school halls, catching the slight glimpse of her hair and neck sweeping out of the swinging door, me knowing I had just missed my only chance left in the day to lay my eyes upon her, any part of her, well… unless I can come up with an excuse to walk too quickly in, oh, I guess, that same direction…

    • https://profiles.google.com/WPazzurri/about Weston (@wpazzurri)

      tis true. tis true.

  • Leila

    Dear Brad, I am always right behind you.

  • beatrice

    Singlehandedly the most romantic piece I’ve read. You’ve done it again Brad Pike :)

  • Nospaces


  • Benjy

    This was amazing. I laughed so hard at work. It’s the pathetic honest thoughts of every guy. Just remember, you are not going to will her to like you. Talk to her, if rejected you’ll be no more alone than you were before you tried.

  • Michelle

    I am in awe of this man! Brad; find her, date her, marry her, have kids with her, LOVE HER!
    You’re what each woman hopes to find in a man.

    • N.A.

      you got that from this?

      • N.A.

        it’s true, though.

  • Audrey

    This is the best. 

  • donkey


  • Maxine

    So beautifully torn between self awareness and crazy. Brilliantly funny read!

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