I like your wiry crooked smile, the way it opes your green eyes up to cartoonish size, your slightly crooked coffee-stained teeth make their rare appearance. You seem a little goofy, uncertain of what to do with yourself when you smile. It perfectly counteracts your perfectly textured hair, the sharpness of your coat and delicately patterned tie, the chestnut shine of your shoes, your articulate and calculated words. Your smile is disarming, it reminds me that even when you seem too good to be true, you are still human.
you have a shoulder
of perfect height to lean my head on;
the elevator descends and opens its reflective gates and
upright, i remain.
green eyes has good teeth,
i should’ve been a dentist, he jokes.
seat mere feet from seat, four palms
two occupied with frosty clinking glasses,
(no salt on yours, he says, freeing one palm with a grin)
he takes off his rimmed glasses and wipes them,
“you look nice without those,” i say, he smiles.
your eyes were brown indoors and hazel in the sun,
your legs were short,
your shoulders, your gaze
cast towards your small quick feet,
your words sped when our tension thickened,
sludge-like with the absence of words until
our bodies found their ways to separate places.
hey, so i know this is probably not even worth mentioning anymore since that whole situation died down a while ago. you might be fed up with me, and honestly i get that because i get fed up with me all the time, and i recognize that i can be obnoxious and a bit much at times. in which case, advance apologies if this is as excessive and cringe-worthy and ridiculous as everything else I tend to do in life.
i owe you a really big thank you for being an awesome person though. for picking me up from some of my worst nights in college and getting me back on my own two feet afterwards, for being a supportive listener and friend when i’ve been stressed enough to tear every last hair out of my head, for somehow finding strange humor in the odd things i send you and share with you. for reminding me that even if i don’t get into my top choice school, i’m still capable of doing things at my second, third, and fourth choice schools, and they’ll be great things too. I’m not sure you ever realize, seeing as you’re such a great person that you’d do all of this for anyone, but it’s always meant a lot to me.
anyways, what i guess i mean to say from all of this is that even though i frequently snapchat you drunk selfies in which i’m waving my middle finger and captioned ‘fuck you, ___!’, and even though i once ignored you in the ilc– you were leaving from a class to go to a meeting, i was leaving a meeting to go to a class– and you said afterwards, that ‘it was almost as though you didn’t even know who i was,’ the amount of shock in your voice when you respond to things like that do something to me. they remind me that i’m capable of being an asshole, of being self-centered, ignorant and an egregious drama queen.
half of this is an apology, but my explanation for being so excessively bitter and spiteful and dramatic, is that I somehow ended up liking you a lot somewhere along the line last year. and for the first time in ever actually like-liking someone, i actually had no fucking clue of how to compose myself or act like a person, let alone impress, and so i strove to destroy at every single last capacity. i strove to make it clear to you that i could do better, and that i hated you, and that i was bitter and spiteful. I like you, i like you a lot, I sometimes think I like you too much, and I’ve never known what to do about it, and sometimes the best route of action is to do nothing. In fact, usually that’s how I handle it when I like someone– maintain straight-faced composure until it all the internalized awkward goes away and the other party never gets wind of it–, but for the first time I felt compelled to do something, and so I acted catastrophically and embarrassed my self a ton, and probably made you hate me (or strongly dislike, at the very least) on more than one occasion.
Until now, I’m honestly amazed that you even deal with me. i’ve tried exhaustingly hard to make sense of every word and clue and action of yours and it’s implications, to understand if maybe, you felt the same way. perhaps you do, and perhaps you don’t; either way i wouldn’t want anything to happen, because i don’t want anything to go wrong– more than everything I’ve already managed to ruin. you probably don’t feel the same way, which is fine, nobody’s ever obligated to like somebody back. i honestly don’t know why i sent this in the first place, except that i thought maybe it would be cool for you to know, but in turn, it’ll probably be cripplingly uncomfortable for you to know, which I apologized in advance for, but I guess another apology is definitely necessary. So I’m sorry if this is all so uncomfortable and unwanted and yeah. This doesn’t have to go anywhere or mean anything, and i guess if you’re super weirded out and mortified (which understandably, if some guy sent me a long-ass message vomiting feelings, i’d probably run for my life too), feel free to like, just forget this ever happened and destroy the evidence or whatever; if you accidentally fling your computer into a bonfire out of rage because I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done (which says a lot, considering I missed my final last week), feel free to sue and I’ll probably pay the damages once I”m out of student loan debt in a decade or ten.
as a last super super awkward and probably unnecessary side note, while i’m vomiting out every last thing i’ve probably meant to say for a while but failed at because that’s what i do: you don’t ever need to feel the need to consciously impress anyone. you’ve never put in an effort, and you’ve never failed to amaze me with how clever and intuitively smart and kind and hilarious you can be, for as long as i’ve known you. but agaaaiiiinnnnnnn i digress ok that’s all bye have an awesome break, if you don’t ever want to interact with me again i completely understand, in which case, congrats on graduating and have a cool second semester of senior year,
aaaaand on that note, here’s an irrelevant distraction
I owe you a massive apology, because I’m an arrogant fuck who can’t be bothered to own up to her mistakes until she’s too far into them, to even turn back.
I’m really sorry for being as much of a dick as I was.
I’m sorry because I overestimated the type of person you are, were, and had the capacity to be; which isn’t to diminish you as a person, but rather to hold it against myself that I placed such unreal expectations on another person. You are kind and caring, but you are also childish and immature. But in fairness, so am I.
We’ve brought out the worst in each other; we highlight each other’s non confrontational natures, we dodge from speaking our minds in both positive and negative respects, we fear being vulnerable, we fear making others vulnerable. We fear the concept of relationships because they open up one person entirely to another, which isn’t a thing either of us are necessarily ready to do. We are reserved, we are cautious to move outside our comfort zone.
I know I care about you, and I know you care about me, and this I know because you’ve been a wonderful friend for years. Because you are a terrific listener and know how to respond perfectly, how to bite back with sass exactly when you know I’ll need it, how to remind me that in the end, things will be fine.
You’ve always told me that everything will be fine, and it’s your mantra that got me through so much of these four years away from home. And in that same way, I hope you soon realize that just as you told me, things will be fine in the end.
I miss being friends with you because at times like these, when our entire social circle seemed to be corroding (yet again), we’d always find this weird comfort in complaining to each other like two grumpy old men, about our lives and our friends and the people around us. But then, it was always more of me talking, more of you listening, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing, sometimes questioning my thinking, but always hearing me out until the end.
That’s always been our dynamic; you’d listen, I’d talk, and maybe that’s why we’re no good for each other. You select your words with caution and restraint, speak them calmly and clearly, but leave most of your thoughts and feelings and opinions unsaid. You are very, very, very restrained. I often wonder if my garrulous nature, my excess of words and vocalized drama, the whining sing-song of complaints and distastes that always spill from my mouth and into your ears, grow to irk you. But you always continue to listen, amused, entertained, drawing up solutions in the brilliantly crafty way you always go about things.
And I wonder now, as we sit in our fully restrained states– two spheres of a Venn diagram, refusing to interact and overlap, if you are in fact completely fed up with me, and if my words finally did their nightmarish work on your tolerance. At one point, we were communicating via a texting-like application where our words and images would last two, three, maybe five seconds. And it occurred to me, that temporariness was the core of our dysfunction and that we feared holding actual conversations via text, via phone, via Facebook, because of their permanence and that their objective presence within our vision for any more than those ticking seconds, would establish a more solidified ground of permanence in the thing that we were somehow, strangely, becoming.
We were communicating via that temporary medium, and at one point, I decided to let you know that I might maybe, possibly have feelings for you. Like-like you, since we’re childish fuckers who can’t express things in the way that twenty one-year-olds should. I stared blankly at the white triangle with the pink lining, with your name next to it. Ten seconds went by. Twenty. Thirty. You responded with a meager “I’m sorry I’m so bad at this.”
Your inconsistencies infuriate me, because you are immature and don’t know how to manage your own feelings. It baffles me, how you can care so much about friends, and be so supportive towards others, yet fall so short in the realm of caring about another person in a more-than-friends context. I think you’re scared of feelings. I’m not saying that in an egotistical you know you like me kind of way. I think you’re scared of the responsibility that another person liking you bears. I think this is why you’ve never actually sustained a lasting relationship with a girl, without her breaking it off with you out of frustration.
Most of all, though, I hope you grow up soon. I know you well enough to know that you are, in fact, a wonderfully genuine person. However you are a remarkably uncertain person, and your uncertainty lies in your lack of faith in your own abilities. I want you to realize how brilliant you are, how caring and genuine you are, how witty and hilarious you are. I want you to love the fact that you have such a fine eye for the problems with our society, and that you have such an ability to be a positive force in changing that.
You’re not smart by nature, but you’re fucking hard-working, and it’s so goddamn admirable. Sometimes, I think the fact that certain things don’t come as easily to you as to others (or that you perceive it this way) makes you lose faith in yourself. Likewise, I think you lack confidence with girls, and when a girl actually displays genuine interest, you run in the other direction because you are baffled that this is happening, you are unsure of what to do, you are afraid to mess it up, and so you mess it up.
The nauseating cliche goes something along the lines that loving yourself is most important, and I want you to realize what a wonderful friend and person you can be. I’m not trying to say “the reason you don’t like me is because you don’t like you” because for all I know, you don’t like me, and that’s fine too. But I think your larger problems of communication regarding clarifying this, are very very much a personal issue, and something I want you to resolve. You’ve turned lots of girls off with it. You’ve turned a girl who’s been your friend for years, off from that.
As a friend, if there’s any of our friendship even still left, I want you to learn to appreciate yourself, and be the best person you can be. I hope we can stay friends. And if you get you worked out, and it turns out that maybe all those flirty messages were with some sort of intent, I hope we can maybe be more-than-friends.
To say “you’re a piece of work” is offensive, but I think that if you get your inner confidence and faith-in-yourself together, you’ll also figure out what you want to do after college. Please please please get yourself worked out. You’re brilliant and kind and adorable, and as a friend, I just want to see you be the best person you can be.
Feelings best translate to the nightmarish segment of a childhood funhouse, the tunnel right before the end, it revolves in an ongoing circular motion, and through it you scamper like a gerbil in a wheel, attempting to remain upright on your two frantically blinking light-up sneakers, but the omnipotent presence of gravity trumps all. There’s an immense O-shaped beam of sunlight pouring through and perhaps your mother or friends or somebody is flinging a wrist left and right, casting a frivolous beam of laughter up at the skies, oh she’s so precious, look she can’t walk right!
Feelings best translate to the contrast between emotions upon placing Piketty’s Capital in my shopping cart on Amazon, and struggling past the first ten pages. Tackling Capital seemed like a remarkable idea until I realized my lack of time, patience, and intelligence. Feelings are my useless economics degree, and you are a 600-page Amazon bestseller. But you could be any book, really; you could be Harry Potter and I’d be both the robe-clad girl in line for Barnes and Noble at midnight, and the bible-thumper who thought Voldemort to be satan. You’d be Twilight and I, both the twihard and the English professor raising my nose at lowbrow literature; the soccer mom flitting through Fifty Shades, and the Jezebel columnist condemning its misogynistic nature. Through and through, you are the book, demand exceeding supply and comfortably nestled at the top of all lists.
Feelings are necessary and you are the sufficient; if it were diagrammed, it would parallel a logical reasoning argument like the ones on the LSAT. If I went to class, then I got out of bed. Getting out of bed is necessary, going to class is sufficient. If I think of you often, sometimes with no clothes on, sometimes with your lips on mine, sometimes with your arm around me or just even doing none of those things and talking, smiling, laughing, showing each other the things we know the other would like, and then maybe kissing on the lips and each other’s necks and quietly giggling about how nobody else would ever guess that this thing could be ours, then I have feelings. Feelings are necessary, you are sufficient, and perhaps one day those dizzying feelings will dissipate at last. After all, you are the latter half of an admissions test diagram, you are the wheel that challenged me against gravity, you are the geekonomics summer must-read I couldn’t handle. Because some things that once felt so radically innate, like asking to spend time with you, suddenly place me at odds with the bare bones of nature’s power itself, as though gravity is gracelessly rolling me off my rubber soles.
I don’t know how I feel about you, but it goes something like this.
I sort of like you. It’s not a certain thing; if anything, it’s less certain by the day. But I enjoy you and I like you and I care about you, and you have a nice face, and sometimes when it crinkles into a smile, it does funny things to whatever’s happening inside my chest. You’re remarkably supportive, a terrific friend, but you are also very flawed and very human. I like you, because you see things in a wholly way, you’re not too short-sighted most of the time, you’re very rational and calculated and understand the broader impacts of your actions.
You do not see the broader impacts of your lack of action. You are awkward and uncomfortable in certain situations, and restrained at times. You don’t express yourself well, you keep your thoughts and feelings under ten-thousand layers, let them bubble up for all the wrong reasons.
When you get past this, you are wonderful. But as long as this is present, it makes understanding and gauging what you want, and how you feel towards me, the most frustrating challenge of all.