Why is it that it’s so much easier to be the one liked more?
And once you know you like someone more than they like you, you cling.
I should speak for myself. I cling. I am cling. I am dryer sheet.
I want them to like me.
Maybe I should give up, and never like anyone again.
Or be less fat.
I think the brain that decides it’s going to wear my skin while I’m on my period,
Has very different taste in men than I do.
It says, this one is safe.
Then this thought will appear, it says
I want to rest my legs on theirs.
But when I meet them the next day, I can’t figure out what it is about them
And I think I’m the practical monster all over again.
She who only sees people as a means to scarcely allocated resources.
They’re younger than me.
I didn’t think it mattered. I’ve always been on the other side of that.
But I sat at lunch today, in the cafeteriatorium,
They got all the names of all the country stars wrong,
And I was “never minded” by a guy younger than me for not answering immediately.
I wasn’t myself.
Because I can’t be myself at work and still have a job,
More so, though, to me, they’re still college kids,
Taking about how they learned something new that changed their lives,
And wondering why something can’t be said out loud.
I have more important things than that group, and I’m not sure that they do.
It’s like they haven’t hurt anyone yet, and they don’t know how much future hurt they’re already carrying around.
My father is paying my offering money again.
When we were little, he would run down from the pulpit and hand us each a dollar,
Sitting there huddled in the first pew.
To put in the offering plate.
He asks me each week on the phone if I need money.
He sends me a dog-eared twenty and a five brochure folded in an old bulletin.
This week I put my cash in my white envelope, then in the heavy, rust flecked plate,
And it felt like I was sitting in the same pew all over again.
My father taking two seconds out of his important work to rush down the steps, and give his girls money to make sure they were part of the congregation.
Separating us from them and connecting us to others at the same time.
Like he’s always done,
Teach me how other people think,
And how everyone else is wrong.
He’s never been able to see from a smaller perspective, and he misses out on the insights idiots can make.
Which is why he never understood my embarrassment at having to be the one getting money from the dad’s last-minute pocket.
Suddenly there seems to be so much time.
I wonder if, thinking back, we’ll say those were the days when we were young and silly,
Before we settled down. I’m so glad we settled down.
Or if, instead, I’ll think back to a minor thing I said while I wasn’t paying attention,
A relationship version of nicking a parked car with my sideview mirror,
A slipsecond of not paying attention,
That causes us to never speak again.
Maybe I’ll call you up, in twenty years to see how you are,
To see if you got what you wanted.
It’s turning over the next card in blackjack to see if you could have made five-under-twenty-one,
I want to check to see if I made the right decision, even if I can’t change it now.
God, what did he say to me?
Hang on, let me find it.
I don’t ever want you to go. Hopelessly devoted I think I am.
My head processed the annoying grammar before it read the emotion.
I think he’s lying. But he doesn’t know he’s lying.
I don’t think anyone can predict their emotions like that.
But, the happy part of my brain says, what if he’s right?
That’s creepy, says me who learned that my terrible step-father only went on a first date with my mother after waiting outside her building for weeks.
He seems to like me?
Is this a self-confidence issue with myself? Do I not think people are capable of liking me?
I might have heard this before, but maybe those other cases don’t apply to this one.
We’re different social classes, which you don’t think is important, but it is.
But wait, I’m arguing about a different issues, instead of this one.
What is the issue?
I don’t know what to do about him liking me. And this makes it seem like he really does like me. Love me.
But that phrase gives me all the power doesn’t it?
He doesn’t want me to leave.
I like that.
But at the same time, I’m still more comfortable with the boy planning out the dates and taking care of me. It’s work to be the one in control.
I can’t have the power and still expect him to make the decision though? Can I?
Maybe it’ll be more nonsense he’s said with all the other things.
Or maybe he means it. Or maybe he doesn’t know how to say what he really feels?
I can’t know him better than himself though? Can I?
Everyday I have to drive on a fast, crowded, four-lane twisty, hilly road to get to work.
They test teslas cars on that road.
In the left lane, I’ll be passing a gardening truck with hedges sticking out past my dotted line,
I have to take a deep breath to keep my hands steady. The cars coming south are inches from my mirrors around the curve, past the rich, tech-money houses.
The first time I drove it, I said I would smile every time I rode on it.
Now I wish it were a flat line.
I wish a mountain were a flat line.
That’s how much I dread work. I don’t want any more of my attention directed in that direction.
My brain can’t stop telling me all the ways this could go wrong.
Over and over to be rejected by an automated resume-reading machine.
I want a nice job, one I don’t hate.
I should go back to school, be in debt, but happier in the long-run.
But I don’t have anyone to give me recommendation letters, and it’s too late to ask, and I haven’t taken the test, and I’ll have to wait a whole other year.
And I’m wasting another year of my life.
I’m mad at myself for not knowing what it is I want to do, for not taking the time to figure this out when I was younger. I want it to just happen, I want someone to make the decision for me. I don’t want this responsibly.
I paid my car insurance today isn’t that enough?
My mother is coming to visit.
Suddenly I’m fat and slovenly.
My job is bad, and my clothes have holes.
I should have children already, read more, and wear more makeup.
I want her to buy me food, and not judge me.
That would be the perfect mom, wouldn’t it?
But very unlike my mother.
She gets so angry, and I don’t know how to handle it.
It’s the same anger from when we were kids.
I have issues dealing with anger because of her, because of this.
I cower. Instantly. And it pisses me off.
I get yelled at for being angry, and she gets everyone to move out of her way.
She would tell you it’s because she’s great.
And I’m sure she is.
I just want her to go away, so I don’t have to put up a front all the time,
And have all my emotions just so in place.
My feelings don’t go in slots. And sometimes I have to feel them later,
There’s nothing wrong with me.
Don’t mock me for my feelings. I am right to have them. They are right to exist.
The reason this dialogue even exists in my head is because of you.