Believe me when I say that I never intended for any of this to happen. What I mean to say is, back when we first started seeing each other, and you waited 30 minutes before responding to my texts and I got nervous speaking to you without the help of external substances, I couldn’t picture any of this happening. Perhaps I could have imagined us kissing in some restaurant, or maybe even holding hands in line at the movie theatre, but the rest of it? Well, that I could not have imagined.
I guess at this point it’s embarrassing, right? Not embarrassing like when think your lecture class starts at three, but it actually starts at two and you run in an hour late and everyone stares at you. It doesn’t make me red in the face or anything like that. It’s just humiliating. I know the way I sound when I talk about you: silly, young, a character from a Sarah Dessen novel, but mostly like someone I would make fun of. That’s the thing that embarrasses me the most — that this thing (I’d call it “this love,” but that’s precisely the type of jejune thing I despise) has turned me into someone else.
It’s that other person — that needy, grabby salesman of a person — that you don’t love, right? Is that the thing you hate about me? That neediness? That itchiness? The way I look at you, the way I change my plans for you? How I become one of those women who work at a department store and follow you from rack to rack. “Do you need anything?” “Can I help you with anything?” “Is there anything in particular today that you’re looking for?” If I cared less, would you care more? At first I was going to ask “would you care at all,” but that’s not right, is it? You care about me, you do. You value me. Probably. I mean, if someone asked you if you value me, you would say yes. You just don’t actively value me. It seems like that wouldn’t make a difference, but it makes a huge difference.
I’ve manicured my hands and dyed my hair and perfumed my skin for you and, the whole while, I’ve told myself that it would make you love me. I’ve made sure I was the funniest in the room, the wittiest in the conversation, convincing myself that it would make you change your mind. It should be noted that these are precisely the kind of facts that humiliate me. It didn’t work. None of it worked. Isn’t that funny? I mean, not ha-ha-funny, but you have to admit — there is something laugh-worthy about it. I mean, I once spent the whole day getting my hair cut and blown out because you said you’d be at a party and you didn’t even show up. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
I have told you so much, but there are pieces I have learned to keep hidden from you over these years. Perhaps, these are the parts I will eventually learn to compartmentalize and keep hidden from myself, as well. It’s no question in my mind: When a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, it does not make a sound, it did not fall.
I don’t move on well. I sit in a box labeled “Past Things.” One of those boxes that you shove in the attic or basement and you keep your childhood dolls and high school awards in it. I do not know why this is. Maybe I don’t want to move on. Do you think that’s it? I’m sorry; that’s an unfair question, isn’t it? Well, while I’m at it, can I ask more unfair questions? Is there anything I can do? I can be more honest or less harsh or less anxious or more quiet. Do you like quiet girls? I could be a quiet girl. Yes, I could certainly be one of those quiet girls. Just tell me what to do it and I’ll do it.
I’m sorry. I’m doing it again, aren’t I? The thing you don’t love about me isn’t my hair color or my laugh that’s a bit too loud or anything like that. It’s the questions. It’s the constant questions, isn’t it?