“I just keep thinking about what it’s going to be like when it ends.”
About a month ago, I was sitting with my lovely friend M in her living room, full from our wonderful dinner in Nyack and talking about the next day. I had a first date in the afternoon in Williamsburg, and though I was calmly discussing it with M, internally I was freaking. the. fuck. out. She kept saying all these best friend things, as she started realizing how nervous I really was, like ‘You need to get out of your head and just enjoy it,’ and ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ She finally made a comment along the lines of ‘Hey, you never know what it could turn into,’ and I responded with the line above. M got very quiet after that, and I took a minute to curl my legs into my chest, staring at the floor, repeating the above mantra to myself, making sure my thoughts didn’t wander to the scary world of Maybes and I Wonders.
We were standing in her kitchen two days later, me rehashing all of the details from the brunch date that turned into the whole day and M cooking us dinner, per usual. Despite my best efforts to hide the fact that I really did have a great time, and I really couldn’t wait for the next one, M could tell that there was something different about me, different than any of the other random dates I’d forced myself to go on in the fall while getting over what happened with The Child. She made a joke about my having a plus one to T’s wedding in October, and my walls immediately went up; I started telling her there was no point in thinking about the future when it probably wouldn’t happen. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me after that: it was a mix of compassion and frustration, optimism and understanding, and she told me the words above had stuck with her since I’d said them that Saturday. “I get why you’re in that mindset,” she said, stirring the aromatic sauce on the stove, “especially after what you went through with The Child and all. But I don’t want you to think like that! Let yourself consider happiness instead of heartbreak. You never know what might happen.”
I’m not a guarded person. Well, correction. Up until recently, I’d never been a guarded person. I’m the girl that lives open and alive and obvious; I say I love you all the time and greet everyone with a hug. I trust easily and want to believe the best in people. It’s probably what set off everything as quickly as it did with The Child, as he came into my life with words that were bigger, sooner, more. I’ve noticed since all that fell apart that I won’t open up to new people, whether acquaintances, friends or dates. I’m quieter now, preferring to listen and figure things out in my own head; I’m not as quick to divulge details about anything, things as minor as apartment stories (#showergate14) and things as major as my last real relationship. I suppose it works against me, like people might think I don’t care or that I’m empty, but it’s not something I plan to change, at least not until I meet someone willing to give me the benefit of time and trust.
I hate believing in self-fulfilling prophecies, but as I predicted, the dates referenced above ended exactly as I thought they would: more fireworks, flashing just quickly enough to give me hope and then over just as quickly, leaving me exactly where I started. I won’t be telling M “I told you so,” though, much as the thought came into my head (/okay maybe I texted her that when it all went down). Owning the new parts of my personality that may be willing to talk about problems from high school, but unwilling to say what’s on my mind when all I can think is “You could be someone” is something I need to do for now. I have two resolutions for 2015, and only two resolutions this year. The first is just to believe in the possibility that there might be someone who inspires me to break down the tall, stone walls around me, and is willing to wait while I do. And the second is to know that I’m okay on my own, walls and all, whether that person exists for me or not.