Jess was the one who gave me the skating bears. While I was studying in my carefully constructed armchair boat, she ran up to me with a mischevious smile on her face, placed four skating bear stickers on my book, and ran away. On the back of the piece of paper she had written:

"These are for you. Because I know you love skating bears. Love, Roomie. :)"

The bears made me smile. They were even dressed differently and all in different positions so they could be arranged in varying (and perhaps even naughty!) positions. I tucked them securely away in my pocket where they would be free from rampant gift-giving.

About an hour later, I fell victim to that same rampant gift-giving. While visiting Miller, I noticed that his teddy bear looked extra-specially sad. After I returned downstairs, I specifically ripped out the pink ballerina skating bear and brought it up to him. "Here," I said. "Cuddles needs a girlfriend." He took it and smiled. I thought it was a nice, friendly gesture, and it looked like he realized this too. And yes, his childhood teddy bear has the same name as mine.

Later on the next night, after my exam and subsequent festivities, I stumbled upstairs to visit him again. I knew he would be up making more tacky computer music that always makes me think of robots having birthday parties. My crush on him had completely evaporated in the last two months, but I felt the need to keep up my end of the close friendship he had been trying to form between us. I didn't really know why he was suddenly making the effort - I had long ago concluded that no one could make him happy if they did not communicate explicitly in music form. Maybe it was a joke. Maybe I amused him on some obsessively shallow level. I don't know.

I crashed into his room and threw his books on the floor so I could lie on his bed while he fiddled with buttons. That's what he's into. Fiddling with buttons. It's not the computer he likes, or the CD player, or the pink Casio keyboard on his floor - it's the buttons. They make him feel a little less scared, I think.

So we talked about our inadequacies, mainly his, and I soon tired of having my feelings completely ignored, so I got up to leave. Before I opened the door I turned back and said:"Hey, did Cuddles like his girlfriend?" I was trying to extend just a bit of friendliness again, hoping he would play along at the whole affection thing. "Oh," he said after a second. "Oh, that. Yeah, I threw that out. Sorry, I was high and it was on my desk. You don't really care, do you? I figured it wasn't imporant."

I told him it wasn't a big deal. I left. I burst into tears. So it goes.

I've decided to give up expecting him to know how to play this game, the one where people make other people feel like they care about each other. I may have to sit him down and explain the rules. When I came into my room Jess asked me why I was crying. I stared at her for a second and said:

"Because I love skating bears."

And then I went to bed.

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