Friday, March 29, 2013
Things that stop me from talking to you like I would talk to myself, washing dishes in my kitchen on a sunny afternoon, listening to the water pour over porcelain bowls and into the metal of the sink, with my cheeks and hair warm from the light, and the thoughts that lay heavy but quick on my mind, drumming:
1) I cannot stand the way your hair looks, the patterns and teases it takes on. Him with the fractalized mop of muppet coal, Him with the thick golden brown mane of dog hair, Him with the silvery patina carefully sculpted and trimmed. Your hair silences me, it takes all of my concentration to not touch it, and then there is no energy left for being witty. I feel my own lank oil pan brown tresses, which are soft in my fingers, but overall disappointing aesthetically, and I want you to want to touch my own hair the same way, but doubt that many people in the world feel the need for touch the way I do, and therefore out of deference, I never do. He once accused me of not being affectionate enough, but when I heard that, I thought of all the times I had looked at him and thought about kissing him, thought about touching his face or his shoulders, and had refrained because what if it wasn't right? This is how I feel most of the time, like I am a vast being of air and wind which longs to caress everything, and I am bottled up inside a short squat rubber mold, disconnected even from the nerves that flow through this plastic skin, cut off by the habit of courtesy. Of not wanting to make people uncomfortable.
2) I am not witty. I string any witticisms that come out of my mouth from the fragmented broken bodies of other better thoughts. I cut and pare and pair, until a thought has become a joke, but I never like my jokes as much as I do the messy convoluted things I say to myself, out loud, or to you, stoned on a Friday night, trying to explain how I can be personally offended by you calling your ex crazy, not because I'm actually personally offended, but because on a universal level all women are offended by a man who judges them crazy without attaching the caveat of his own craziness, and all older women, we recognize we have been brutalized by this, we shy away from the suggestion of it as if you had raised your hand against us. But if I explain this to you, you will merely nod and think to yourself that I am crazy too. Which of course I am, we are all crazy, we long for punchlines instead of discussions so we can easily compartmentalize the crazy and quickly judge it, because crazy is okay as long as it produces art, and only then, and even then not for sleeping with.
I am exactly like every other girl. When I was younger, I pretended I was not, and I got laid a lot more. But I don't have any interest in lying anymore.
3) I am awkward. I fumble with my body. I overthink how I look, how you look, the distances with which we're sitting, the surrounding people, the position of the car seat, the smudge of my eyeliner, the little curl by my ear, and the proportion of skin to cloth. I think this way because I want you to love me, guy or girl, dog or bird or car, I want you to love me enough to keep me close by always, I need protection. I collect people like armor. Despite my attempts at being correct, this desire to be loved seeps through the best intention and artifice. It is thick and gray and like fog or cilantro, some people have the yen for it and others only smell fire and taste soap. He told me that it was a problem for me, this wanting to be loved so much. I told him I knew, but I couldn't change it, the way you can't change current or the natural color of your hair.
4) I don't look up to you. I don't look up to anyone. Therefore, if you won't give me escape from this awkwardness, I won't beg for it, and it will harden and cement, as if affection and ease were a liquid to be mixed in slowly with the dry, folded even, tablespoon by tablespoon, and once the bread bakes up flat there is no saving it.
5) I have assumed things about you.
5) You should understand that these charges of emotion that hurl around me, while volatile and vulnerable, are not the things I subsist on. You take my pronouncements as seriously as if I had just cut my wrists in front of you, but I only articulate these thoughts for entertainment. I was only heartbroken once, when it broke for months and I ate nothing, and did nothing, and felt dead. You weren't responsible for that, and you will never recreate that, and I'm sorry that black stain exists in me now because it is definitely the immovable dark part. I purge these happy flitting emotions, the every changing crushes and angers, vanities and rejections, like blistering fireflies boiling up from my skin, and then they float away and I'm still here, the large dark purple squid floating in a black ocean, nameless with unknown intent, waiting. I breathe in a larger hope, living on it, and when I breathe out, anger and lust are the gaseous rejects of my body digesting love. Not your love, necessarily. Love. The thing larger than ourselves that breathes hot on the back of our necks and makes it hard to talk to you.
The point is, I don't know how you're supposed to talk to a squid either, so I forgive you and I'll just be floating over here when you realize you are bored.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 1:05 PM