unkind and unwise.
well, hello again from the world of the lovelorn. it actually isn’t so bad today—hasn’t been that bad for the past couple of days. since i saw him on saturday. when he was a headtrip as usual. i was all prepared to be very firm and have a very stern chat with him! but he’s so disarming. i swear, the man could commit crimes. he never answers straight. (say i ask: ‘are you still in love with someone in indiana?’ i get a reply like: ‘well, there are so many things in indiana! so many people and places and things! so many things that i miss in indiana.’ ‘uh…okay.’) and he knows that he’s a pain in the ass—he (more or less) apologized for being one. ‘yeah, you know you really are. you see how much i like you because i wouldn’t put up with bullshit like this from anybody else.’ ‘and i act worse with you than with anybody else.’ ‘why? because i put up with it?’ ‘in part. but also because you’re so understanding—and i know you understand the reasons why i get so down.’ ‘uh-huh. mmm. yes, i do.’
i said that but really i do not. he’s so oblique all the time, i really don’t know what his actual problems are. to me it seems like he has a pretty sweet life. i mean, a degree in folklore and a job? a state job, no less! with all kinds of time off, crazy benefits, crazy respect. he has a ton of friends he goes off and visits. i understand that his job can be hard and he isn’t sure about his career path—but well, he won’t read middlemarch, which might help him, so how sympathetic can i be. i can’t really hang with that super-bourgeois kind of malaise anyway.
he’s at a conference this week. for state art official people. i feel like he may not come back to me from it—it will make him feel too important. he’ll feel some kind of dire importance about his career and goals and feel like i have to be eliminated. he was in a very important-feeling mood on saturday night. oh, the personal fable. i know one night i was holding him and he said ‘i am going to do something awesome with my life.’ and i said, ‘you don’t need to do anything awesome, you just are awesome.’ because that is truly how i feel, God knows why. i sent him a text about an hour ago asking ‘is it fall wherever you are? i want to believe it’s fall somewhere.’ and i imagine him giving his phone a withering look, thinking something like: ‘it’s that silly bartender girl! writing to me when i’m here taking my place among my peers and discussing the issues of the day! how can she expect a reply?’ (uh, yeah. that does look like an absolutely crazy thought, written out like that…especially because he really does respect me—weirdly—for leaving academia. he even understands my pain about it—how it was like a bad marriage and a painful divorce, etc. without my having told him much of my history or the circumstances. actually he articulated my feelings so perfectly i got a new insight into myself! that was a bit of a shock.)
i didn’t tell him i was in love with him on saturday, though i meant to. i woke up at one point in a frenzy, thinking of just how i was going to say it in the morning. arguing with myself about whether to do it or not. little coward! i’ll have to do it next time we get together—assuming we do—and whether that’s a bad idea or not, i don’t really care, because the feeling has to be expressed. i’ll just feel better and cleaner for having said the words. i guess i’ll say them even if he never sees me again. i wonder if he already knows how i feel—i would think that he did, but then during the conversation where i was supposed to be very stern and tell Tread-Lightly that i need to see him more often and lay down the law and assert my needs and blah blah blah—well anyway, during that conversation, he asked me if it was the sex that i missed. like he thought i was complaining about not getting it regular enough. which was such an interesting grasp of the problem it sort of waylaid me! i told him that the hanging was just getting really painful. ‘but is it the sex or is it the hanging out and talking that you miss?’ ‘well it’s both!’ ‘oh, it’s both…do you think it would be better if we stopped having sex?’ ‘what!? no i don’t think it would be better! how would it be better?’ ‘well…sex…emotions…’ ‘how could it be better? i mean, the sex is really good.’ ‘yeah. yeah, it really is good, isn’t it? you’re right. it would not be better.’
i think that might be the worst solution to a problem i’ve ever heard. no, don’t cut the baby in half!
i know, i know, someone who basically says ‘sucks to be you’ when you say ‘it’s painful to me that we don’t see each other more often’, that person is not someone who wants you, at least not in a straightforward way, not in any way that you can use. so it’s a waste of time worrying about what Tread-Lightly meant when he said X or did Y—i shouldn’t be writing about him at any length at all—all this typing is just the wanton destruction of microogranisms*—the purest example of a futile activity. but it’s not so easy—he has these weird insights into me. like the academia thing. and how it’s incredibly sad when i cry. (i asked what he did on saturday before i came over—he cried for hours, built an ikea shelf, and threw out an old pizza box.** i expressed sympathy over his crying for hours! of course. and he said, no, it was actually good, it was good to get the feelings out, etc. i said, ‘it’s funny—the last time we were together, i think, you said you couldn’t imagine me ever crying.’ ‘well, i can. but i don’t think you cry very easily—and when you do cry, it’s so sad because it’s such a serious thing. it’s so heartbreaking. like you would just sit there and think, “dora is crying. this is serious.” it would be so horrible to watch.’ ‘well. yes! that is actually what i’ve been told.’)
that’s the headtrip of it all. it’s not the personal fable that gets to me—it’s the fable of being understood. that’s the most awkward way of saying it, but you know what i mean. to be understood by another person—without having to explain anything—well, i’m the kind of person who wants this kind of thing above all.
* a little jain joke
** again, i only kind of understand. his life does not seem so uniquely terrible. building an ikea shelf and having a good cry, it sounds like a solid middle-class day to me.