On One Hand

January 10, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:01 am
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We’re lying on the floor in the blackness, my callused fingertips sore and peeling from hours pressing metal guitar strings at the party. He’s lying next to me, two bodies away, and I’m on my elbows writing drama queen thoughts on the back of a paper towel, as if somehow doing that will get me noticed. We’re sobering up. There are passionate moans coming from above, two girls getting each other off in the loft. I notice that girls take a long time to cum, and that when they finish, they start over. I’m lonely. “Are you awake?” he asks me. No, I’m sitting up to write in my sleep, I think, wanting to be sarcastic. “Yea,” I say. “Insomniac,” he calls me. My heart swells. I’m so attracted to him, but I feel like he doesn’t have much interest in me. We have so much in common, he and I, in our quirks. I feel like I know him from somewhere I can’t remember. I’ve liked him for a long time, and thought he was attractive long before we first spoke. But he doesn’t really like me, I can tell. He is, at best, indifferent. I can’t seem to make a good impression. He surprises me now: “do you want to make out or something?” he asks. YES! I think, shocked. “YES,” says the boy between us, still asleep. “Is he awake?” I laugh. We poke the boy, he waves his hand over the boy’s face. The boy doesn’t move. “Well?” he asks, turning again to me, “do you?”

I want to. But I’m afraid. I want to so bad but I know I’m not good at making out and I don’t want to seem more inept than I do already. I’ve made out with one, maybe two people in my life, I am not equipped to impress. I wasn’t good at making out when I did it, and enjoyed it very little. I prefer pecks, quick romantic kisses with the lips, not deep fondling of the tonsils. Plus I bummed too many cigarettes tonight, and my mouth tastes like stale smoke, foul and dry from blood, dehydration and alcohol. I explain that I bit my lip when I was numbed by vodka and now my mouth is gross from the blood and the torn skin, the cigarette smoke, the booze. He is embarrased and dissapointed, I read it in his long pauses, his voice. He says I play pretty music on the guitar, that he liked what I was playing at the party, I forget his exact words but it was something like that. I pause, say thank you.

It was like being in the fifth grade. I’m in the clasroom, the bully approaches, I flinch for his attack, and surprisingly, he does something nice. He offers me a compliment, a stick of gum, a cool “hello.” Almost a gesture of friendship. Bullies can be like that, unpredictable. And I have no idea how to react. I pause, dumbfounded, anxious. It would be easier if the bully would just go back to being an asshole, the old familiar jab-and-move-on, the one trick I know how to respond to by not responding. I don’t understand this strange phenomenon, of people being nice to me, talking to me like I am some kind of normal person who knows what I’m doing. Of forcing me to compose and not swallow the words I want to say back.

He isn’t a bully, he’s just not interested. We can’t be bullies when we’re adults; we don’t lay out in such stark, simple honesty as a shove into a locker or a punch in the chest. We’re grown up now, and we have to be polite. So the opportunity for carnal intimacy closes, I pass on it, and we go back to sleep. I want to wake him, to shake his arm and reach out and explain that, if we can’t kiss, we can at least fall asleep side by side. He can come lay by me and I’ll wrap my arm around his shoulders, kiss his cheeks, glide my knuckles gently over his stomach, tickling the skin. But I don’t open myself up to the possibility of being told no. Because I don’t know how he would respond. Because I don’t know, or maybe it’s that I do know, what it would do to my emotions if he said yes, me liking him the way I do, and him liking me, well, not as much. And, sure enough, he doesn’t pay much attention to me in the morning. He gets the other boy’s phone number, they exchange in front of me, nobody asks for my own number, and I awkwardly look away. I have told him I want to hang out sometime, I have put myself on the line, and he is yet to respond to that request, affirmative or negative. Just no answer. He can’t say no; you see, as adults, we have to be polite. He gives me a ride home, I’m not sure if it’s out of friendliness or just to get rid of me. He drives, three of us in the car, drops me off then goes back out with the other guy in the car, the one who was lying between us, the one whose phone number he got earlier.

They talk about pot too much, the two of them, immature eighteen-year-olds who are giddy about their deviant lifestyles and wanting to show it off, as is typical of college freshmen. they don’t seem to notice I don’t know much about drugs and am not following the conversation. They talk and laugh over coffee while I stare, thouhtfully, through the window to the street outside, watching young women pass by with their children.



  1. You did turn him down once…

    Comment by ms_misdirected — January 10, 2005 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  2. Oh boy… did you ever try to look at it from his side??? He was probably going trough all the same emotions you where, building up the guts to ask you whether you wanted to make out with him, guaranteed he was just as scared of rejection… and you DID reject him… ouch!!! Thats why he’s ignoring you, licking his wounds and broken ego, trying to act as if it didn’t hurt him by asking the other boys telephone number… I suggest you go talk to him and explain, tell him you have the hots for him… I don’t think anyone could turn you down if you want my personal opinion!

    Comment by mismatchedmind — January 10, 2005 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

    • I’ve already told him I think he’s cute, and have already asked him to hang out. Well… now I have a class with him (if he doesn’t drop) so we’ll see how it goes from here.

      Comment by ononehand — January 11, 2005 @ 12:09 am | Reply

      • (Smiles) Ask him out, be bold, make a move! We know he likes you, so the changes that he will turn you down are very slim…

        Comment by mismatchedmind — January 11, 2005 @ 6:21 am

      • That’s not true, we don’t know it. Like I said, I’ve told him he’s cute a few times, and I told him I want to hang out. To go on would raise the level of clingyness to stalker proportions. I will, however, try to be talkative with him, since I see him in class now, and hopefully it’ll get me somewhere.

        Comment by ononehand — January 11, 2005 @ 8:07 am

  3. When you think about it, though, you were doing him a favor. Ash tray mouth is disgusting, as is stale alcohol breath. Throw in the the blood and you’ve got the bad breath hat trick.

    Sorry for another ‘you remind me of my boyfriend’ comment, but in this instance you do as well. I like to make out, long passionate kisses with the tongue. My boyfriend just likes pecks and quick romantic kisses with the lips. How aggravating.

    Comment by tempur_tempur — January 10, 2005 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

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