note: this is the first of a series of summer shorts – fictitious stories that aren’t very well thought out and not too good
So I’m sitting here on the toilet. I didn’t feel like bringing a book with me this time. I just want to think about a few things – well, one thing in particular. Hold on. Let me get this piece out of the way.
Okay, so I’m a bit confused. Am I that insignificant? Today I saw her for the first time in two weeks. It was indoors – we were both checking mail at the student center. She said hi and asked what was up so so nonchalantly. Listen – my understanding is that when two people hang out often – let’s say at least four to five times a week, for about three weeks – there should be enough of a connection between the two so that when there is a two-week, unannounced hiatus, with absolutely no conversation, something MUST seem amiss, no? I mean, how many movies, outdoor walks, shared meals, late-night conversations, and bookstore visits must you have before the other person realizes that you have become – maybe not indispensible – but at least somewhat noticeable. Damn.
That’s why I told her I was doing fine, and asked her the same thing. She said she was doing well. Then she had the audacity to ask what I had been up to. Wow. Remember when we’d talk on the phone and make plans? Remember when we used to show up at each others’ dorm room doors and eagerly share the unusual moments of the day? I think I told you once about the black dude at the corner of 50th and Broadway who gives out those free AM newspapers each morning and tells me “enjoy your coffee” every time I walk by with a Starbucks in my hand. Man, it takes effort to share such details in life — did you ever miss it in the past two weeks? And you tell me you’ve been “hanging out with friends”; “going to the park”; “visiting musuems”; “even went to a Yankees game.”
Okay. Okay. Okay.
So I purposely stopped talking to you and stopped asking if you wanted to hang out. But I just wanted to see if you’d come to me and ask. You know – it was just one of those small tests. Well, I just had to know – if I didn’t always put in the first call, would you have done it instead? Every day sucked. I sat in my room. I downloaded bootleg movies and watched alone. I re-read the same websites. I masturbated. I got more sleep than usual. I walked by your residence hall and looked at where I thought your window was. I had an Instant Message box open with your screen name written in it, but never typed a single stroke – only stared at the buddy list to see how long you’d stay online. I know. I was just a friend. But I got jealous and then I convinced myself that I liked you.
Well, it was foolish of me to tell her. Hold on, let me wipe.
I like the water lukewarm because it lets me wash longer.
So at the student center. I asked her — you’re still single, right?
Of course, why wouldn’t I be, she tells me, as if I was supposed to have kept tabs on her life the past two weeks (well, she was right – I had).
The question was just to set the course for what was to follow.
What I wanted to tell you, I begin to say – already wavering in voice, confidence being let out like steam from a rice-cooker, I really missed you the past two weeks, and I know this may come as a surprise, but I really like you.
Oh, she is surprised. She avoids eye contact. I try to think of something to say. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to put you in an awkward spot, I tell her, but be honest, am I way in over my head? It is the first time I use that expression and I wonder if I used it right or if she at least knows what I am trying to say.
Hey Mike, I’m sorry – you’ve been really nice to me, but I don’t think of you like that. I like you as a friend.. yada yada yada.. yeah bitch I know the rest, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard such words, in that order, before; I just thought it’d be different after three weeks of showing me that I was tolerable and even amusing at times. Fuck, I hate it when they run out of soap in here; hope my hands aren’t too dirty. So I put on a fake smile, and said that was cool and apologized again for the awkwardness, but that we should maybe grab dinner sometime soon. Of course she thinks that is “a good idea” but somehow we both seem to know we’ll never ever hang out again. She tells me she has to run and walks away, a momentary contact with the eyes before she quickly turns away and leaves. She was probably headed for the gym or to the park. She has a thin figure. For two weeks a forgotten man, and a chance meeting takes place only to help me to realize that she has never given two shits about me. Talk about feeling like a nobody — well, she had a decent face, but her body – let’s say tabletop on both sides, like most East Asian honeys do – definitely could have been better. I like to use the paper towel to dry my hands and then to turn the door knob so I don’t get the germs of the people who took dumps in here before me and forgot to wash their hands before they opened the door. I like to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror before I head out but not today. I should’ve played it cool and not told her. Maybe I failed a test or something – HER test. Or maybe those three weeks, while ego-boosters for myself, was community service, a charitable sacrifice, on her part. Fuck it. Time to mine the singles sites.