My current job is an ersatz position at the county. It was easier for the department to lay off two tenured people and hire in temporary employees to work the switchboard. I’m the second one they’ve had in a month. My cubicle is littered with doodles, half-written poetry, notebooks and the nine overdue library books I’ve plowed through this week. I feel stupid for complaining about getting paid quite a bit to do so little, but it’s hardly worth getting out of bed for the grueling commute.
My vision of myself in a year is a jaunty, irreverent one. Cello-playing, Afro-sporting, incessantly preaching, motorcycle-riding me. I hope I get to be that girl.
I’m a strong woman, but seriously. It’s really hard to act like nothing’s wrong when you gaze at me so morosely from across the room. And it’s also hard to watch you chat with other people on the ruined Blackberry you never answer when I call, or sign out of Facebook chat whenever I sign on, or stare at your shoes and clear your throat, red-faced, whenever I’m in a 15 feet radius of you. Your pain and your guilt still gets to me. I wish this whole thing never happened.
I feel like I’ve died and been reborn. People can see it in my walk, hear it my voice, observe it in my eyes. It was only four Tuesdays ago, but the stabbing pain I felt is now only a memory.
He seems aghast at my ”oh well, that’s life” attitude. Make no mistake; his beauty still moves me. However, I cannot allow the way I feel to ruin my life; and apart from that week of hellish, emotional anguish, without him I’ve felt okay, almost fine even.
Perhaps my speedy recovery is indicative that the Italian and I are just not meant to be.
I wish that he’d stop acting ashamed. He didn’t do anything wrong, and I feel no hard feelings towards him. In fact, all I feel towards him is affection and forgiveness. He gave me the best rejection a girl could hope for.
He still shifts uncomfortably and takes long, audible breaths in my presence. It doesn’t matter how close or how far away I’m sitting. If I’m there, he’s red in the face.
1. After struggling with the fax machine for 15 minutes, I managed to send my time-slip in today. This week has been in bullet time. Only a week more and then my first paycheck. I desperately need the money; I need a coat, a good pair of slacks, some walking shoes, a big tub of shea butter and a transit pass so I don’t have to cary change.
2. Mount Clemens is my kind of city— quiet, clean and suited for the peripatetic. I’m thinking of moving here now.
3. I’ve spent the last 10 days being haunted by a creeping longing for Blue Eyes. This could get problematic.
4. I’ve had such trouble sleeping that getting up early and getting on the bus for work has been difficult.
5. I’m calling my mechanic today. If he still can’t find anything wrong with the car, I’m picking it up tonight after work.
layers of clothes, egg sandwich wrapped in foil, clear stars
harmlessly creepy guys accepting Bible literature from you
loud rap music blaring from cell phone headphones
being terrified of falling asleep on the bus
meeting indie girls in burger joints
cramming between adolescents and hobos
being told I’m beautiful by an old guy so much that I get off the bus three stops early
All of the painful nuances of taking the bus in Detroit pales in comparison to the opproessive car insurance here. I’d rather invest in a can of mace than pay 400 a month insurance for a nearly 20 year old car.
I should be totally in love with you, but I am not. I feel deeply sorry about that; you’re a capable, loving man, and I feel like I should adore you for it. But alas, I do not. I really hope that if you have feelings for me, you keep quiet about them. I wish that I could pretend but that’s not fair to either one of us. Please, please, please don’t feel tenderly about me. To break your heart would break mine.
Lamenting that women never hit on you suggests that you want them to. You don’t realize— your chasteness is at once beautiful and daunting. Your intelligence, your focus on the Lord, your old-fashioned chivalry—all of it is lovely. Butyour formal behavior around single women is why we don’t talk to you. I had to talk you into calling me by my first name, even though I was calling you by your nickname like everyone else. And therein lies the problem— we see you, but we get the feeling that you don’t see us. Honestly, if you ever hit on me, I’d faint out of shock. That doesn’t make me feel any less desire to try it anyway, now that I know what other women around you don’t know. For reasons I would never be able to explain to you eloquently, I find you to be devastating, in your own elegant, old-fashioned way.
You said “not reciprocated”. Those were your exact words, were they not? So why do you seem so taken aback about how well I’m moving on? Are you afraid I’m plotting revenge? Darling, I’m not that kind of girl. Don’t be. You told me that night that you feel “uncomfortable” around me. I thought that would end since you had gotten it all off of your chest. But it hasn’t; if anything, it seems like you feel even more nervous than you did before. You can hardly look at me some days, but other days you prattle on or greet me more than once. I can hear you breathing whenever I sit in your row, no matter how far away my seat is. And you seemed almost chagrined to see me with another guy the other day, even though him and I have a completely Platonic relationship. What’s with you? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop… or are you in denial?
You never call me anymore. I thought we were friends? Why I do I only hear from you twice a year, or only see you incidentally? You’re sweet, but you are so diffident. I can hear you saying “Well, the phone works both ways, Di” but don’t give me that. I shouldn’t have to be the one who calls you all the time. And another thing— why do you flirt with me but never ask me out? I like dancing just as much as those other girls. Do they get precedence because they call you? In any case, there is no reason why you and I should not have gone out on a couple of dates by now, just to see if it would work. I know you’re attracted to me. You tell other people this. Why don’t you ever show me?
I love hanging out with you, but I get tired of people giving our relationship a romantic connotation it doesn’t have. I wish that this were easier, or that you and I didn’t get along so well that people think we’re married.
“If I didn’t want to be friends with that guy after seeing him five times a week for four years in high school, what makes Facebook think I’d want to be friends with him now?”—my sister, on Facebook suggestions
LIVING WITHIN A 50 MILE RADIUS OF YOUR ALMA MATER GETS AWKWARD
Tonight I saw a girl at the gym who went to high school with me. I spent the entire 90 minutes we were both there avoiding eye contact. She was the girlfriend of a guy I rejected in high school. She told me, “I broke up with him because he was constantly talking about you.” I got a good look at her for the first time since she graduated. She’s petite, thin and pretty. She sort of looks like a short Sandra Bullock. I cannot imagine why he wanted me instead of her. She’s a certified “10”. I’m an “8” only on days I dress up. Every other day I’m a “6 1/2”.
In any case, I don’t know whether or not she recognized me, but I decided as soon as I saw her that I was not about to have one of those painful conversations one has with people once known from school. Out of two uncomfortable situations, not talking was the easiest option.