You can feel it undulating off you, like those green stink lines in the comic books you used to read when you were younger. No one wanted to be around the stinky kid in those comics — let alone actually be him — and yet, here you are. Yes, you hate it, but what are you going to do? It oozes out of every pore: the need, the want, the frustration in none of it being reciprocated.
Your hand hovers over their name in your phone, agonizing for minutes which somehow become hours, weighing the pros and cons of saying something as simple as “Hey.” That anyone could make you feel so profoundly unsure about something so normal would have, only a few short months ago, seemed impossible. You were never the image of self-assured confidence, but you knew who you were. You knew where to direct your attention. And now, here you are.
Wondering whether or not they are going to see your words and immediately interpret them as too much, too fast, too insistent on their response. Hitting that “send” button — the immediate, lethal mixture of both relief and terror — ushers in a new, distinct period of self-doubt. Why aren’t they responding? Why aren’t they responding? Why aren’t they responding?
This person, the one you have become, is ugly. They are ugly in the most base way a person can be so — filled with all of the most embarrassing, reactionary human emotions that we normally attempt to stuff away into the darker corners of our personality. You hate the idea that you are now the open wound of emotion, always chasing after something which seems most concerned with shaking you off its ankle, but here you are.
Here you are.
You never ask, because you fear the answer. You fear the rightfully judgmental looks of your friends, the delicate way they’ll attempt to phrase everything. You don’t ask them because how could you? You can barely even text them a greeting without berating yourself for hours afterwards. But you want to ask. You want to know. “Do I seem desperate?”
Yes. You do. You are the kind of person who found someone that, despite their general disinterest in treating you like a human being, incites in you a desire and a need that you have rarely felt. Because it is new, and interesting, and unattainable, you are consumed by it. You have become bound to it in the way some mythical figures must carry around boulders for the rest of eternity, weighed down by it and never gaining an ounce of real strength from your exertion. You are this person, even if just temporarily, and everyone sees it.
You can tell when you are desperate when you can feel it sloughing off of you in layers, alternating currents of doubt and elation. You can tell when you are staring at a computer screen and waiting for a response that, when it comes, will be the deciding factor of your disposition for the rest of the day, and possibly week. You can tell when you know exactly what you didn’t want to become when you fell for the wrong person, exactly where you didn’t want to be, and yet here you are.
Here you are.