Yes, quit. Especially when you’re acting the fool.
This is Elle…
I am irritated and angry. Yes, anger is the one thing that I feel seething very near the surface. It is going to take a little spark to set it off. But why should I be surprised. This has been days in the making. Days and nights of stubborn and dissatisfied sleep. Days of cumbersome activity culminating in fitful nights of confusing scenes and escapades. What does this all mean? I don’t know. And that is the problem. I want to know.
At 2 o’clock in the morning, I call him and he answers, groggy and disoriented as I knew he would be. But his head is there. I know it.
“Why don’t you love me?” I ask.
All I hear is the heavy silence on the other end.
I am sure that by now he wonders if this is a prank call and what on earth is happening.
‘Well?” I prod. I want an answer. “Why on earth do you not love me? And when are you going to? When I fall in love with someone else? What is this you guys do? Is this a game? If it is I am done because I’m having none of it! Am I too good for you? Tell me, what is the catch?”
Too late, I realize I’ve helped him out by ranting. He can now pretend that I am crazy and he is the cool guy who has to calm me down.
“Are you okay?” I hear him say.
There we go. What did I just say? “Am I okay? Of course I am okay. You wanted crazy, well, you are getting it. Just answer the question.”
There’s only silence from the other end. A deep decisive silence that confirms everything I’d been trying to deny. I let the silence lull me to sleep. He must have called my name but I can’t be sure. I can’t remember because I fall asleep, just like that. They say it is called exhaustion.
The next morning, I wake up and of course, the night before is a blur. All I can make out are hazy recollections of an impromptu call. I am still too down to care that much. But something begins to tingle in the dark recesses of my memory and I know that I may have said some things that needed to be said. I just can’t tell if anything was resolved by it.
I sneeze three times. Now I am awake. I don’t stretch. No, I don’t feel that alive. But I look around and wonder why I am awake at all. No, no. I’m not being fatalistic or suicidal. I am just wondering what I am doing awake. Whether anyone needs me to be awake right now. I certainly do not need myself to be up and about. I could do with a little snooze. But the sun is out and bright and the clock does say that it is 10 o’clock in the morning. So perhaps I might as well wake up to make something of it. I am not even hungry.
Pushing my legs out of the confines of the cover cloth, I deliberately ignore my phone and head for the loo. I take a long time there. I just sit there and stare at the sink. I am not depressed. I am angry. That anger that makes you think and think until you can do what it says you should do. Until you actually make a change, until you leave the rubbish of the past behind and step into an unknown future without the drama. But is that what I want? This new me? This change? This future without him?
This is not just about a man. He is part of it. It is about being fed up with disappointment. With trite sayings. With clichés. With convention. With failure. Perhaps failure is too strong a word. Yet why do I feel that way?
One. Two. Three. I heave myself from the comfort of the loo. When I get back to the room, I try to pray. Praying is a habit. I must’ve thanked God about three times before getting out of bed without missing a beat. But now I have to face Him with today. So I say nothing. I just sit there and ask Him to take the day as it is and make something of it for me. The same prayer I have prayed for years. Except today is critical.
They say that if you want things to change, then you must do things differently. I did something differently yesterday. But other than that, I am not sure what I am meant to do again. Go out? Talk to strangers? Take yet another class? What? What was I to do? Write about how sad I felt right then? And then I see my phone. And I know what I am meant to do. It was time to finish what I had started.
There is no message from him. Just like a man, I think, dialing his number furiously.
He answers on the third ring. He says my name. It sounds like a sigh. I almost laugh at the evident strain I hear in his voice. If this is not stress, then I don’t know.
“I don’t think you answered my question.” I begin, no point beating about the bush. We’d gone way past that.
“No, I didn’t.”
Well, at least, he was also being straight out with me.
“What is this all about, Elle?”
“Don’t bullshit me. Answers, please. Why don’t you love me?”
There was a long pause at the other end. I laughed. Finally. A dry laugh. He just could not bring himself to say those three words, at least, not to me. What a pity.
“At least it’s good to know where I stand. Always friends, forever friends, right?”
I thought I could see him nod.
“Well, this was fun, having a one-sided conversation where everything actually got said. See you around, friend.”