"Magnolia" by Lee Fields & the Expressions
April 8, 2018 Sunday 9:47 PM
There are two people at the table I am at in the Ivy Room, and they are having a very serious conversation. I can tell by the rhythm of their silences; hushed words, silence, a question, more hushed words, silence. I wonder if I should leave, and I think I maybe should, but I won't. The guy looks distressed. He's frowning, frowning, frowning hard. His knees are bobbing up and down, up and down. Just now he leaned back and then careened forward. He had his hands pressed flat together in front of his nose and then brought them to the table. "It's hard for me to say. But I don't know if I believe it so I'm trying to figure out if I do." I wonder if this is a relationship conversation. The girl is sniffling.
Earlier she said something I couldn't hear very well, something about tears and her eyelids. "I used to be really good at it, I used to do it all the time," she said of the action. In my mind, I thought she must have learned to catch tears on her eyelids, to toss them up from where they leaked, lifted by the ends of an eyelash. That way when she opened her eyes no tears would drip down, they'd just hide in the crease of her open eye to be revealed wet and shiny when she blinked. But that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just a distortion of distance, some dreamlike explanation that came to me in the shapes of the words I did not hear. Now they are sitting next to each other instead of across, and there is occurring another long stretch of silence.
Today I went on a date. I made out with my date in the back of the theater. For a bit, it was during the movie. I was surprised when he took my hand—most boys are not that forward—and I was surprised when at some point he shifted my face towards his. I worried for a second, but then I was like: eh, fuck it. I'll kiss him back. And so I did that, and it was fine, and then I stopped him so we could watch the movie. After the movie he kissed me again, and that's when we started making out in earnest. It was pretty fun. He touched my boob a couple times, which freaked me out because the theater wasn't dark at that point and we were not in there alone, haha.
The kissing was so weird. He prodded me with his tongue a couple times, it felt strange, I think neither of us liked it too much. We mostly just kissed. It wasn't anything crazy, didn't set my loins afire or anything (although him grabbing my ass kind of did), but it was pleasant and I understood why people do it without getting scared. I hope I feel like this about sex.
(The guy at the table said, "This is me saying it's really fucking hard for me to tell you that I care about you without coming on too strong..." stuff like that, and the girl murmured something, and they are laughing).
The guy is not attractive, but I like his personality, so I'm going to go on another date with him and use him as my guinea pig thing. Not strictly use, but use in the same sense he is using me. Maybe I am cynical. I will try to be upfront with him, though—like, if I am suspecting anyone might get hurt I will confront him. I have discovered that, in the dating world, I am not really an asshole.
On Friday, Moby did something shitty. We were supposed to hang out, he and I and Marie and maybe Nadiya maybe Grig (idk if I've talked about Grig, but he is a constant in that friend-group). I had to leave them all for a bit, to calm down after I heard some conversation about Moby and his girlfriend. Moby asked if I was okay, and I said I needed like thirty minutes but I was fine. When I came back she was there—Sheila. And this is not about her, I have to remind myself (so that I don't feel bad for having so many Talks with Moby). I was able to be pretty chill but when I could I told Marie, "I don't want to be here," and Marie very subtly and painlessly extracted me from the situation and when I got to her room I started crying and she held me to her chest and said, "I know," and I said, "I am so hurt," and she said, "You have a right to be," and I said, "Why did he do that? I had to watch him hold her hand, and lay his head on her lap, and I had to watch her put on his sweater," and she said, "I don't know, I don't know."
(The guy at the table, the one having a serious conversation with a girl, said something about ghosting. "Can you not" maybe. Did she ghost him, or vice versa? Does she ghost when she has emotional reactions? I am not sure)
Turns out Moby had told Marie he was inviting "a friend" that night, but he hadn't said it was Sheila until it was too late for Marie to warn me conveniently. When I asked him later, he said he wasn't thinking—but if he didn't have some inkling of the pain it would cause me, then why was he careful to say "a friend" and not "my girlfriend"?
I spent lots of the night crying and drinking, and I got drunk hard and fast because I haven't been eating enough food lately. Later, at around four in the morning, Moby and I talked about it and I cried a lot and he said a lot of confusing things while crying and bobbing his knees and holding his nose between two flat hands the way this boy—the one at the table with me—was doing. Except their conversation seems to be going very well, they seem to be happy-crying, whereas I was straight up sobbing and Moby was shaking. I told him we couldn't be friends anymore.
He said things like, "When you first told me you still liked me—I was terrified," but this wasn't explained too much.
He said, "Sometimes I don't feel things when I'm supposed to feel things."
He said, "I wasn't sure if I liked you as a friend or not."
He said, "I wish I liked you that way." (I got annoyed at this and I told him so)
He said, "I DID like you."
He said, "I don't think I'm good for you," and I don't fucking know, but it was all confusing and strange and it still makes Not a Lot of Sense to me. I wished I had said to him, do you only think you're done with me because you have someone else to touch now? Because after making out with that boy, I feel sooooo much better, but it doesn't mean I don't still like Moby. I don't trust Moby to understand his own emotions, if he thinks he is empty all the time.
(The girl's boss just came by and asked if her shift started at 10:30 and she was like "Yes," through strain that maybe was tears, "Not now Jeff," and he was like, "Sorry")
I say that because I am empty all the time. I say that because I don't think it's as crazy as he thinks, to be empty all the time. I think everyone is mostly empty and mostly going through the motions and I'm pissed off that he's too up in his own mind to see that. I didn't feel anything when I kissed that boy earlier. I didn't feel anything when Moby kissed me. When I held his hand, mostly it was nothing more than two hands interlaced. Sometimes when we cuddled, I just kind of wished he'd get away from me for a bit. But the thing is, it was different because even when I didn't feel particularly strongly about being around him, or even when I didn't really want to be around him, I still liked his presence in my life. It's like with Liv—and how I love her, and how I feel far away from her, and how I feel indifferent towards her. But she is there, carved into my bones, an imprint in my memory, and it is worth it for the moments where I love her more than anyone in the world, even though those are not the norm. It is worth it for her companionship.
That's how I was thinking about this thing with Moby. I don't always feel like being around him, and I don't always find him attractive. Sometimes I think he is annoying or dumb. But we click. I like the way we interact. And I like the way I feel when I do feel things. I like the way we approach problems together.
I don't know if maybe it was one-sided (which makes me doubt everything I thought I knew about reading people) or if he, someone who was in a relationship for 2 years, somehow does not realize it is okay to be empty. That being said, his last relationship was deeply unhealthy. But his current thing with Sheila seems healthy enough. Maybe with her it will make more sense.
And maybe I'm being unfair. Moby can't seem to explain himself. Maybe when he says he's empty he really, really means it. Maybe he can't feel affection for anyone. But I doubt that, because I've seen it expressed spontaneously, so much that it almost makes him cry, and it is real. If that is not real, I don't know what my reality is. I will be honest, he is kind of making me distrust what I thought I knew—but it won't derail me as long as I am not left alone with my thoughts.
I love Marie. I love her and I am so perplexed at her friendship. Why does she care about me so much? Why did she make sure I was okay?
Anyway. Moby and I are not friends. I left him with something very petty, I will admit: I got up, didn't even look at him even though he'd just given me some aspirin—and I said without looking back, "Well, right. Have fun with your new girl." and it came out bitter and I left and I can't remember if I looked back or not, but if I did he hadn't risen or even stopped staring at the floor from where he sat. I spent the next day in emotional agony, pretty much, but then I was okay after work and I was okay today. I was productive. I went on that date and made out with a boy I am not particularly into but I still enjoy the company of. And just because I'm not friends with Moby now doesn't mean it will be like this forever. Hopefully, I can get over him soon, although I think I will always find Sheila a sore spot. But yeah, I feel better with the distance, and I feel better now that Marie has kind of validated my own hurt—and said that Moby was being dumb. I am disappointed in him, but I am also really not. I see, now, that his self-esteem is worse than I previously thought, with the insecurity and strange self-sacrificial guilt ("I'm not good enough for you" thanks you martyr asshole), it hides in the cracks the way it showed in me when he got too close. But I confronted it, whereas he did not, so I can come out of this feeling as if I've learned something. I think we both can, actually.
I've learned I like to confront people. I like to be upfront.
I am lonely again and I won't be able to sleep, I haven't slept enough (since before spring break) or ate enough (for a week) for a while. But I am okay, and in pain, and okay.
SO, wow! It has been a weekend. I have a lot of shit to do, so I gotta go.
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