I couldn't figure out how to be quiet with him. All
of the things I wanted to say boiled up to the surface all of the time and I
just swallowed it right back. It made me want to scream
sometimes and I could never figure out if that was the way things were supposed
to be. I tried to remember the conversations but failed miserably.
Conversations with him were like doing verbal gymnastics that made my head
hurt. We constantly worked to one up each other and force the other to make up
some new concept or idea.
I just never wanted to be boring or trite. I only wanted to say something,
just once, that would make him feel as if I might be worth knowing. I wanted
him to just hear something to make him want to stay near.
One night I'd waited for him to call for three goddamn hours. I sat,
watching fucking Dharma and Greg, listening to the live studio audience laugh.
They were laughing at me. I was like one of the cast, tripping
on my lines, calling for another retake while the cameras still kept rolling.
Line please… line! Hello?!
I stood outside in the hot June evening and watched the sunset. I smoked
and shook my head and felt alone. I knew I made a mistake - I fucking knew it.
God, I just hated paying for it this way. I wandered around the yard, and then
slinked back down the stairs. The phone rang as the news came on and he was
already drunk on the other end. I tried to be nonchalant and failed. I
sounded like some lovesick fool who forgave any sin.
The studio audience laughed - tell him what he's
won, Johnny! An emotional hole! Silence came from my mouth as I listened
to that voice on the other end. God, I wanted to be over this - I hated the
guilt this started, I hated the fact that I was throwing away something good
for something without any form or teeth.
Later that week we drove over to Chipotle and had burritos and chips. We
sat in the brushed steel booths and ate while we made fun of the world. I tried
to laugh but the words I wanted to say just pushed up again. I swallowed them
down… it hurt.
As we spoke, I told him that I'd decided to go get some help, maybe see a
counselor, hell, a fucking shrink. I didn't really bother telling him any
He laughed at the thought of getting professional help. "Well, it might not
help, but I'm sure it would make a good story, wouldn't it?"
I didn't say a word but I wanted to kick him in the teeth for that. I was
furious. Normally, I'm not the type of person who would make up lies just
for the sake of fucking with some shrink's head. I admit, I'm an asshole
sometimes but I'm not fool enough to waste my time in some pointless game. I
only wanted the feelings go away. I had to make the swallowed words stop retching
in my throat. I wanted to be free of this wasted love.
It was too fucking confusing! Our words used to define us! Now it was some
kind of gauge of the past. It was some kind of game to see how long we could
dance around the unspoken.
Our words seemed to merge into some kind of metric voice, as if the
conversations were only a scene from a movie we'd watched and now we just
quoted them over and over- it was as if we were no longer a part of them at
all. Were we?
I only wanted the conversation to go on, to expand. That was how it was
supposed to be, right? It wasn't just about sitting outside drinking beer and smoking
cigarette after cigarette. It wasn't just about watching the night sky slowly
shift and the moon sneaking a look through laced leaves.
I wasn't sure at all. I wasn't sure if keeping the friendship was worth
dealing with this acid reflux love. I already knew that it had never been in my
best interest to fall in love with him. Hell, he was fucking straight anyway,
so imagining anything more was just blind foolishness. Even if I told him, I
knew it wouldn't change a thing. It wouldn't make things better or worse.
Revealing such intimate thoughts would only cast me more in the role of the
fool. My love was better spent on a car or a stereo- they couldn't
love me back either, but at least they might make me feel good for a while.
So now I'm left with a few brief memories of making out, soft, drunken
kisses and his hands crushing mine… touches that meant nothing to anyone
but me. I've stopped wondering if it made any difference to him at all.
I just figured that maybe, once this was all over, we would be able to sit
back and enjoy the evening outside. We could find some kind of reference
point. We could just close our eyes and hear each other breathing and know that
there was nothing left unsaid between us. We could go back to the friendship-
that's what we did best. We wouldn't even have to keep quiet about anything.
Maybe it would just end the silence.