who the fuck knows what might come out
I have just come from a little bit of meditation. It is a fairly remarkable thing to be quiet and not online, even just for 10 minutes. But I am grateful for my calm app today.
I am glad for the sound of lapping water. I am glad for the reminder of diligence met with gentleness. I am glad for the desire to come to the page and think in the quietness of my own life and not the stories that others want to share. Mine.
Life has been a slice of collapsed ego of late, the eggy meringue turning to soup over a far too sharp lemon curd. I forgot a meeting today. It wasn’t on my calendar. But if I’d stop to think, I would have known. Priorities are bad. Nobody’s mentioned it, so now my not mentioning it is a secondary strike. Too concerned with the sugared dream world, a place where you are linked to others and not alone. Too concerned with making right now suffused with food and numbness that you can’t sense what’s gone to rot around you. The joy of an ebbing depression is how much you let turn to shit while you were out. Sometimes, in such moments, I think, when you look around and feel failure and waste…your mind sends you right back out to sea.
But there are some curiosities to attend to whilst we linger on this shore.
Why on earth after fifteen years did you decide to reach out and friend me on Facebook? Old, old, old…friend? Boy I knew once. Boy who was one of the boys orbited the girls in the great firmament of my youth. Shorter than the others, I remember, aquiline nose, a name that matched mine. But mostly, one of the pack. One of the blur. I looked up at them, all of them, in wonder and loathing and expectation and resignation. I thought for sure that one of them could love me – in whatever definition or understanding I held love in at that time – and they all took their turn in apogee in my view. Each of them, preppy, sporty, goofy, above average intelligent guys, all of them friends, all of them in social agonies with the equilateral cadre of girls. I was not among them. I was not, be it in their eyes or mine, a romantic possibility. They had money. They had the right clothes. They matched. I spoke with flowers in my spare time. Dreamed of spiraling towers, delphinium. I pined with the power to set cities ablaze, but it was offset by a self-shame as immovable a force as any love was unstoppable, and so it was…being among them, hearing their jokes, observing their flirtations and dramas, learning the way an invisible wall feels brushed over your fingertips, crushed into the winged bones of your back. I insinuated nothing. I folded my hands, stomped out all embers, and graduated alongside them.
If I was seen on occasion by any of them it was because I was smart. It was because I could write and while none of those boys gave a damn about me, they didn’t turn their noses up at my writing. And there was a painful sort of respect I earned up there on my fence. I asked nothing of them, I didn’t give off any particular signals. I wasn’t a friend. I wasn’t a buddy. If I was a cipher, they were perfectly content to leave me unsolved. I did not die from this, perhaps I gained some screwy strength that let me manage growing up, but I did hurt.
It is an age-old story. Without Facebook, there was no reason to expect to hear from any of them again.
He – this voice from the past, if I think about it – would talk to me, now and again, though. I remember that. Never particularly smug or mean. There were many others I thought of first, but my wandering eye didn’t exclude him. I remember his mother being nice, involved, remembered me once or twice over the years. My mother was nice, but never involved. Save once. A coercion never repeated.
He seems super outdoorsy, fit, I guess, and while not married, maybe, also possibly politically questionable in the sorts of ways I would speculate a well-off white kid from the suburbs might end up 15 years later. Doesn’t post a lot, really. Months and months between posts. Curious what he thinks of me, now that my whole Facebook life is open to his perusal. You’d imagine there was some trigger, some reminiscence, some reason to decide to ping me – me, this person who was an aggressively innocuous teenage girl presence in his life some decades ago. Faceless, really.
But, one supposes, after a thrillingly short imaginative journey after receiving that request…envisioning he’d had some unspoken crush for me and just now, just now, so many years later, he realizes he must have m….no. No, he hasn’t said a word in hello, and I was, I assume, just a name recognized on a list. A You Might Know… might as well.
And so as close as the Internet allows 2 people to become, we are as strange to one another as we ever were. And I am tired and ready for a bath.