August 8, 2017
Lost in Translation
I'm unlacing my runners as he walks by my door. I look up, scanning him as he's looking at his phone intensely, probably reading an emotional text message. I catch him the moment he breaks thought, "dude, you look like shit, what's up?"
He sighs heavily, "yeah man, I had a shitty fucking sleep something happened with Tamara."
I remain seated on the edge of my bed as I watch him pace back and forth in front of my bedroom door. I slip my shoes off one by one.
He stops, leaning against the door frame, "basically, I was sleeping last night and then at 1 am, I get this huge ass message from her and I'm half asleep, but I read it and then I'm supposed to answer her cause you know, I fucking read it. And of course, she doesn't like what I said."
"Wait, what did she write you?"
"She wrote me this long text about how much she loved hanging out yesterday and how beautiful it was... and it was beautiful, yesterday was perfect, I felt fucking amazing. But the message was unsettling."
"It was unsettling? Did you tell her that?"
"Yeah, I mean, how the fuck would you feel if you got a long ass message about someone's feelings... at 1 am. You just can't leave it unanswered, I have to answer it, she saw I read it, she sees I'm awake."
"But you used the word unsettling? Like...you could have used another word. Literally, any other word."
"Unsettling is the right word, it was the most accurate word for how I felt. I wrote her back saying that I felt the same but that I found what she wrote to be unsettling."
"Yeah, okay, fine, you felt unsettled, but she opened up to you," I shake my head, "unsettling..."
"Yeah bitch," he says, raising his voice, "because it was unsettling! I mean, when someone writes you a huge message, the only thing you can think is, "Oh fuck, something's up". I immediately felt anxiety when I opened her message."
"Unsettling has a negative connotation to it though. Even anxious would have been a better word... I mean, I can understand why she was pissed."
"Why? It wouldn't have mattered what I wrote as a reply anyway. What could I have said that would have even have come close to matching what she wrote me? She didn't write me some simple shit, it was like poetic, read-between-the-lines shit. I can't send her a fucking heart emoji or say "yeah, I feel the same" - I would have looked like a fucking dick. The only thing I could have done was write something similar, in the same style and the same length."
He walks away and then quickly turns around, "you women do this all the fucking time. You write something or say something with this expectation, this fucking formula in your heads."
I start to scratch the back of my neck as I remember the letter I wrote. My throat starts to clench, squeezing the breath out of me, slowly.
The only thing I know is that I have to be honest with myself or else I won't be able to grow as a person and I cannot have this "what if" in my head.
I can feel this tension build in my throat as I start to cough.
And while talking to you, sure, I was going on dates, casually seeing guys but as time progressed, I realized that these guys didn't matter, they were just filling my time. Over these past couple of months, it's been you.
"Are you choking? You alright?"
I pat my chest a couple times, "yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm fine."
You should know that you have my heart and it's yours to take.
I put my head in between my legs, running my hands through my hair. You wrote how you felt, Natasha. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I feel the blood rushing to my head, "she just wanted to express her feelings for you."
"Yeah, but it's not for me. It's for her. She wanted to show how much she cares about me which is great but if I don't reply in the exact same way, it shows her that I'm not capable to give her what she wants, that I'm emotionally immature, that I'm not a man."
I fling my head up, feeling the blood rush back down through my body. I haven't felt this since he replied to my letter. I was at Milestones having lunch with my grandma and godmother.
My phone buzzed and I knew it was him. I didn't want to read it, but I opened the message just as the waitress came with our dishes. His cold reply stung my eyes as I began to feel nauseated. I cried over my eggs Benedict, my tears mixing in with the hollandaise sauce as my grandma handed me tissues from her thirty-year-old leather purse. I spent the next three months waking up every morning at 4 am, crying uncontrollably - it was like clockwork. Wake up at 4 am, cry, fall back asleep, wake up, walk my dog, replay every scene in my head, eat lunch, cry while washing the dishes, write, eat dinner, walk my dog, watch a movie, brush my teeth and cry while falling asleep.
I rub my face as he continues to talk, "like do you get it? It didn't matter how I replied because unless I immediately stick my dick inside her or catch a bus to her house and give her a hug, it doesn't measure up."
"I know, I know man. I get it, but she was expecting you to give her something that validated her emotions."
"It's like you women write this shit just to get disappointed. You guys do this shit knowing that we won't be able to hit that expectation. I mean, what if, at 1 am when she wrote me that, I was in a car accident? Like, you guys don't look at the other side of the message, you guys just vomit this shit on us and then expect us to ride the white horse to your front door."
I needed to see if you were true. If this person I was talking to and becoming to really like was the real deal and you are.
I clear my throat, shaking my head to refocus, "but what did she say after your reply?"
"She told me to forget about it and that she didn't mean it."
"Well, she obviously wants to talk about it."
"Why doesn't she just say that then, why does she have to tell me the opposite."
"Because you took a shit on her feelings when she opened up to you. You made her feel like a fool." I get up from the bed and throw my sweaty socks into the laundry bin. "Don't you see? Why are you guys such idiots? She opened up to you and you made a fool out of her. You made a fucking fool out of her and now she's hurt. And the best part is... which blows my mind, is that now you're shocked that she wants you to forget about what she wrote to you."
If you don't have any feelings for me (which I have a hard time believing), I can accept it. I won't understand, but I'll learn to accept it and continue to be your friend.
He rubs his eyes, exhausted, "how can I forget that and just continue like nothing happened? What's better is that after all of it, you women expect us to be normal after. Like, no, mother fuckers, I was just given a scroll of emotions to read and now I'm supposed to be okay. I feel fucking shitty, even now. I felt like shit after reading it, cause even though I feel the same way, no matter how I express it, it won't measure up."'
"Why didn't you just tell her that, man. It's honest."
He stares at me in silence, "fuck, you're right. I should have said that. Okay, well, I mean, what I said was shitty but I think the worst thing I could have done was not reply."