In which the author resolves to forget
I had imagined writing this at my laptop. But it’s perversely apt that I’m starting it with my thumbs. Ninety-eight per cent of the relationship described herein was via txt msg.
So, there was a fellow I liked quite well. It had appeared the feeling was mutual. But getting together was an unusually difficult matter. I don’t know why I was such a scary monster to him. Or for that matter, why he couldn’t just say, ever, that he didn’t like me/want me/want to see me — etc.
But in a roundabout way, it’s kind of my doing: I had ignored the better angels of my datebook ((Muchgrrl and Ipso Facto) -and any of my literary and literacy benchmarks) to meet up with him in the first place. He seemed happy and clever enough in his prior-to-us-meeting emails and txts. (I believed him profoundly dyslexic (not a deal breaker) but his missives employed rather unconventional punctuation and some very creative spelling.) I was gear on the happy/clever part (when he made sense), but I was unconvinced that he’d present anything approaching remarkable. We nicknamed him “Game”. (Currently, there are six nicknames for him in my address book.) The reason he got pegged with that for a name? He said he had “no game when it came to women.” But in the days before we met, he sent a few txts that were passing sexy that made me exclaim, “ooh, maybe he done got some game.” His writing didn’t strike me as alarmingly brilliant, and I make it a point to avoid having sex with stupid; but I wanted to give him a shot, so I met him. It was Valentine’s day, and I was under the weather. It was a karmic act, I hate being cancelled-on. I wasn’t anticipating much.
Then, there he was, with silly, easy confidence and a Mohawk. Lanky and lazy, he endured my rapidly worsening flu symptoms. Our first date lasted 6 hours. It was at difficult length, and with forlorn gaze from me, that he took his leave so I could get rest and so he could elude catching the plague. He said “rain check”. He kissed my brow and as he made his way home on public transpo (a facet I more than appreciated), he txtd me that I was something else, really.
And then ensued six weeks of near daily txts, with not insignificant frustrations (I was the frustrated party – he made and cancelled at least five fuckdates). Finally, both healthy, forgiven, and the cosmos of the schedule stars having aligned, we got together, we talked and drank wine and fucked.
There’s a lot more to the story. (Which I haven’t let go unwritten, only that I’m unsure that part is fit for public consumption.)
There’s more to the story in which I probably have wholly fabricated a perfectly winsome man named Brian, who loves riding bikes, who has a wide, elfin grin and a beautiful voice, who told good stories and got excited about shit he could share to make me giggle. Who sat rightupnexttome so our shoulders were touching, who took my face in his broad hands to kiss me, who held my hand as I walked him to the bus (way too late for a school night.) The one guy in fifty some dates who didn’t lose his fucking erection over the fact I had no bed yet. My possessing nothing at all didn’t faze him in the slightest.
But I don’t think he exists, though I could swear I saw him eating tomatoes in my kitchen, leaning against the wall, one foot bent at the knee and braced under his ass – and I would aver that I fairly choked on my wine to see the very sinew of his arm muscles as they flexed when he gestured. I would affirm that I speak the truth when I recall how he sounded when he came to orgasm; I truly believe all of this really did happen.
And that he was so damnably un-presumptuous. I thought. Maybe it was just sheer vacancy that I misappropriated into charm.
The fuck of it isn’t that Game consistently made dates and consistently bailed on them. It isn’t that he repeatedly turned down sharing a bit of my lunch hour when it was all of a 10 minute walk for him to get a coffee. It isn’t that he wasn’t supplied with ample honesty to answer questions when they were posed. It isn’t even that he was so cowardly that he couldn’t just say what the fuck was going on with him.
All of that sucks. But it isn’t the crux of the biscuit.
It’s that I’m a fool for believing he was beyond all of that. And, really really honestly, I’m a fool for thinking he would be beyond all that because of my being an open, graceful, happy, confident girl. The parts of me that smart and sting at this realization want to lash out and say mean things. (Before you stop me — the things I just said, up there a bit? Those aren’t mean. That’s just things. That isn’t one way or another.)
The hard-to-swallow actuality of it all: he didn’t find me worthy of his time.
And, balls to all that.
But why should I inform my time with spite? My time is the lunch hour in which I might spend 35 minutes writing, or, it could be the next 45 minutes wasted in bitter reflection upon the last 6 months of a relationship that occurred nearly wholly in zeros and ones.
I don’t assign him a corporeal form any longer. I have some photos from him, few of them involve his face. I’m not sure it matters what he looks like, at all, in general. In six months he’s managed (deigned?) to see me twice, so I have no reason to think he has any fucking clue as to what I look like — for instance, the last time he saw me I was 20lbs heavier than now, and different hair, and different goggles and — fuck– I’ve had more than three more months of this new life.
Also, this is probably more true than I care to admit– I share my grandmother’s elephantish memory. I know I can recall things far better than he can. (Thank you for my history/art history degrees.)
I wish I hadn’t believed he was different than everyone’s fair warnings. I wish I hadn’t assigned him some saline quality. But I don’t do well wishing for things. I do better cleaning, I do better cooking. I do better making things happen. Wishes will do me no fucking good. I don’t want to say, “I wish I could go back and erase.”
Neither will it do to dwell upon the if-onlies or the it’s-too-bad-thats.
I’m left with a bunch of rememberings. I will light these on fire, step through the flame and have done with it. I won’t bother with wishes. I will learn.
But learn what? To emerge with some strong resolve to never trust anyone seems pretty unlively. Dour isn’t a good look for anyone.
Rejection is part of life. I’m sure Game has perfectly quantifiable reasons to have done it, and it isn’t as if I can undo it by assailing him with cheerfulness and babble. I am now in a place in which I grasp fully that he doesn’t know me at all well enough to even say who he rejected, and while it is small and cold comfort, it’s still the case. My seeking his company, sex or no, had to do with what I saw as the honor of knowing him for him, not simply out of appreciation for his equipment.
I had a teacher once, I feel fairly certain it was an acting class or coach (maybe in high school?) He proclaimed that when people broke up with you saying, “it’s not you, it’s me,” you can bet your sweet ass that it is you. For 20 or so years, I’ve carried that one about. Like this: if it wasn’t for my being myself, I wouldn’t have gotten abandoned, or dumped, or forgotten about. Something about me is wholly forgettable, and that’s why I’m —
That’s utter shite.
I logic the complete flip-side: It’s not just that it’s not you. The total exception to the rule is that it’s about you. No one is thinking about anyone else – it is always about them.
Game’s incapacity is his. I don’t have to make up for it by wondering when I’ll receive another disembodied cock pic.
Nor do I have to apologize to anyone, especially him, for refusing me.