Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some of Us Never Learn

Anxious, reading absent-mindedly, and drinking a beer. We were going to meet later but nothing is settled these days. I check e-mail, like a fool.  E-mail and texting have only made the weak even more so. When we were young, before these terrible technologies, people like me had the great luxury of not knowing when someone was not thinking about us at all. But there is a message from her. She says that she can’t come to dinner and that all this is a mistake and that she wants to stop. This is the fifth or sixth time she has said this. I try to take it well, and I write her a message supporting her and telling her that I will try to move on because, after all, this is the best for both of us. And she’s right and so am I. But as I sit getting angrier for falling into this trap again, for accepting the way she changes her mind so that some days I’m in her bed and some days I’m not, I pick up the phone to give her a piece of my mind. She doesn’t answer. I call again and again she doesn’t answer. I’m furious; I go home. Her house is near mine. I look down her street to see if her car is there and it’s not. When I get home, I leave a series of angry messages on e-mail and on the phone. I’m crushed. My heart is beating into itself. My stomach has lost its sea legs and it lurches here and there. The evening darkens. The penumbra chases me outside. Like the idiotic cliché that I am, I walk on the road that puts me perpendicular to her street. Her car is now there. I know that walking to her house is the worst possible choice I can make at this moment. In thirty seconds I am knocking on her door. I knock loudly. Her friend, whom I was not expecting, yells at me through the closed door to fuck off. I yell at her to mind her own fucking business. Soon she replaces her friend behind the door and we are screaming awful, cutting things at each other. I scream the worst things I can think of, trying to kill the thing in me and in her that won’t die on its own. I picture her brown hair and her sleepy eyes, my favorite things about her, on the other side of the door. I hear the hurt in her voice and imagine the way her perfect shoulders drop when she is crestfallen. I can’t go on. I walk away while she keeps screaming in her broken voice from the other side of the closed door. Later I sit in my living room in the dark and after the pain and anger fade away a little I’m left crossing an ocean of shame and humiliation thinking about what’s just happened. I know that after this it is finally all over. Less than four weeks later, I’m in her bed again.

I marvel at the conviction in Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” She seems to me one of those incomprehensible people that appear to learn from their mistakes. Whereas she sings with an unwavering conviction about the truth of what she says, a dope like me sees in life only equivocation and misunderstood lessons. I listen to her with the pathetic realization that she already knows how to live better than I ever will.

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