I'd surmised after all this time that it was a lot like Lent and penance, all I had to do was watch him flog himself in guilt. Be silent like the wailing wall. Maybe this was really a conversation he was having with himself and I was nothing but a construct he could direct things to.
I waited to be amused, but there was something patently unfunny about it. In fact, I was angry. Terribly so. At myself for having even cared in the first place, though that couldn't be helped now could it? But mostly at him for disturbing my peace.
Beyond his "ghost-bolting" as the Golden Venus would term it, why after all this time, was I angry? I could feel the heat creeping up my cheeks, my hair curling at the flushed warmth. I believed as always that the mystique men inadvertently employ is something women undeservedly bestow them. There is no mystery. At all.
Here was a man who couldn't leave well enough alone, for every selfish reason I could think of. He had sent me the message 4 days before my birthday, right as I was resolutely planning the birthday dinner to end all birthday dinners, right when I all wanted to do was to celebrate pulling through certain even yet unfinished chapters in my life. And now this?
One sentence tumbled into yet another, I was cautiously distant, more than that, I made it clear that I happened to be in love with someone else. This wasn't true, but why leave any doors open? Oh, good was his reaction, he'd reached out to me
just as he'd been going out with a colleague, which as he reported was going rather well. I was glad he'd fallen for someone else, I figured it would make things calmer. This time the apology would wipe the slate clean, he was happier I supposed and just intent on making things right for the sake of conscience.
"Oooh, no, like I hope you won't. But you probably could. You're like spy-smart," he replied frankly.
My eyes narrowed at this, "So...you think of me as this CIA type agent person, like I'm Batman or something?"
I could sense him nodding as he replied, "Well, you're also incredibly brave and you seem to have ways of knowing things I can barely fathom how and super fast. I'm barely forming a thought and you've turned the thing inside-out. It's not a bad thing. But it IS a little scary. Batman."
I shrugged at this, but mainly at how lonely it made me feel. "So you're calling me an army of one, is that right?" I was being sarcastic but I think he took it seriously. I'm not quite sure any woman would rather be so feared than loved.
It didn't really matter, if this was how he'd made up his mind about me than who was I to dispel such a convenient illusion? This was odd given how vulnerable I was when he'd met me. We'd started out with him being the stronger one. I conceded that yes, I suppose it could be a little daunting but I never led with it. We began to talk almost daily, and under the lull of being friends, I'd relaxed into telling him exactly what I thought. Which if you're reading this, you probably know I think a lot. I didn't realize that this nor my courage would be held against me.
I'd begun to like the almost-brotherhood we had, the constant dailyness of it though I stayed wary of getting used to it. He could, if fate allowed, be on his way to being settled. One of us would overcome and I liked that finally, it had become something regular and nice, two words I never expected to associate with this.
There would be no more of that nerve wracking frisson of ridiculously explosive chemistry, no more mindlessly limbic ignorance of the carefulness friendships ask for. No more hope. I could stay diabolically intelligent and he could bumble along confounding some other poor woman.
"Not after this weekend, I'm not," he replied, "I've been drinking for the last two days, solid." I closed my eyes with a horrible sinking feeling and croaked a hesitant why.
The colleague had turned up at a party with a new boyfriend. "But..but..I thought you guys were going out?," I asked hesitantly, wondering if it was at all wise to go that far. "So did I," he answered wryly. She wasn't on the same page. Not after he said, going out a number of times and having discussed making a serious go of it. I sighed, I suppose Capricorn timekeeping has things going at such a glacial pace it was absolutely possible for the woman to think things had gone comatose. He probably as usual, dithered to the extent she thought he'd lost interest.
"I guess she said it just happened and she's really happy," he said rather flatly. I asked him what he was going to do. "Go to work and act like I'm happy she's happy right? That's the thing to do, isn't it? Pretend it's all ok." Unfortunately, it was.
"Well, it's early days," I consoled him, "Douche Boy could just easily let her down. Why don't you go in looking all cute but you know, appropriately sad - you at least need to show her you have SOME sorrow, or else she'll think you never cared. And if she was doing this with a real F-U attitude, obviously she wants a rise out of you, you know? She could be testing you."
"Yeah, thanks for that," he moaned a little. "But I'm not exactly going to out-douche model boy."
I frowned at this. "Clearly, you have more to offer," I insisted. "Come on, you said it yourself, things have been great work-wise, you've got a-mazing projects, you're like super buff now (I had no idea not having seen him yet but it was a well-meant stab in the dark) AND speaking from experience, you're uhm..well-equipped. You can make it rain, seriously. Just wait, let's see if Douche Boy hacks it."
I whistled damn under my breath,"Yeah the work projects, she knows what you can do, she's seen you in action, right? Killing words, stringing whole sentences. Sort of thing. Oh, and you're so funny. SO funny." He was after all, the Cappo Comedy Writer.
"No, no," he refused to be distracted, "the OTHER thing. The well-equipped thing and make it rain thing."
"Yeah, yeah, ok I said it," immediately regretting I did, "but I can say that now we're friends. It's not like I have to pretend I've no idea what I'm talking about. Right?"
He ignored this, unexpectedly changing tactics,"And where are you with the guy you're with?"
Okaaaay, I thought. "Hmm, you know, I'm..in love with him," I lied with fingers crossed.
I thought I heard him sniff suspiciously,"But you're like in a relationship right?"
I winced and finally came clean, "Not as such..things are evolving, I think and obviously I would feel disloyal regardless of not having anything formal in place." I rather thought that finished the idea nicely.
"But you're single essentially," the Cappo Comedy Writer stated rather conclusively.
I gritted my teeth and mumbled a yes, wishing desperately I'd concocted more lies in time. If I wasn't free, if I could've said I was happy with someone, anyone, then we'd have enough time to ignore the past and everything else between us. We really could be friends. Maybe he was thinking the exact same thing but he was so quiet. "You there?," I prompted.
"I wish you hadn't told me that," he bit out quite angrily. "Because now I'm not going to leave you alone."