Monday, April 21, 2003

Fruit Or Dead Fish: Please Choose One


There are so many things that we talk about, you and I. Our dreams and fears and memories and insecurities and small triumphs and politics and religion and endless jokes - it is all up for grabs. And as much as we talk together in person, we do some serious damage on the phone bills, too. I have never spent so much time on the phone with anyone in my life before, ever. And although I generally loathe the phone, I look forward to talking to you, spending hours running the gamut from silliness and seriousness, and then everything in between. Well, almost everything. See, much as I want to, there's one thing that we can't talk about.


As many times as I've rehearsed various opening sentences in my head, there is no way to approach this topic, no way at all. I've spent some miserable times, trying to figure out what to do about this, and I just don't know, I really don't. I know sometimes you can sense something's wrong, and I feel guilty as hell not just coming out with it, instead of pretending that I'm just tired or upset about work. It feels like I'm lying to you, and I've been honest with you about everything else. I really wish that I could talk to you about this. The problem is that this is really the ultimate pop-quiz, and there's only one right answer, and you'll instinctively know that.


I'll know that asking the question would put you on the spot. There is only one answer that will soothe this ache in my heart, and you will know that the second I ask. So even if you say what I hope to hear, I may not believe you - because I *had* to come out and ask. And I KNOW that is unfair, but it's true. Once the question is out there in the air, it's a lose/lose situation. Because if there was hope that you would've come around to my way of thinking, it has to happen in your time, or we'll both think it's all about me putting pressure on you. So if it's true, if it's real, you will have to offer it up before I have to ask for it.


There's the problem. You aren't offering it up. So the more time goes by, the more I strongly suspect that I will not like your answer, not one bit. I'll ask, you'll have to be honest, and it'll be there, like a dead fish on the sidewalk, impossible to ignore. And once it's out there, there would be no way to get that dead fish smell out of our clothing, and I would smell it every time I see you. Talk, talk, (dead fish), joke, smile, talk, (dead fish) pause, mutter (DEAD FISH DEAD FISH DEAD FISH). It would be impossible to carry on as if I didn't know the answer. I wouldn't be able to bear the humiliation.


So, what to do, what to do, what to do? I'll wait as long as I can bear to, but I'll tell you, this is really hard. Even though this hasn't been a tremendously long time, any amount of time you spend tied up in the town square naked is an eternity. And that's how the time is passing for me, feeling this emotionally exposed. I know you don't know any of this, and I guess things seem to be going just fine to you, so I'm trying very hard to be patient. I can't help how I feel, and I can't help how you feel (or more to the point, how perhaps you don't).


I'm not ready to give up and stomp on this plant yet. I'll still wait, and hope for something to blossom, maybe some fruit will grow, something will happen to show me that tending to this plant wasn't a waste of time. So, what's it going to be: Fruit, or the dead fish? Please, don't leave me hanging. Please choose.


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