Sunday, April 11, 2010

sacrificial at chess

This weekend was not at all what I expected. A roller coaster of emotional ups and downs, launched with a sold-out show Friday night, still bizarre at five am Sunday morning.

Against all odds, in a sea of eighty sipping cocktails, the G.I.Q. made it to my closing performance. He held me in earnest in the post-show receiving line. He bought me salmon and vino and a cheese plate at Pigalle to fête me—and to apologize for "being distant and uncommunicative" (his words, not mine). And he took me home, though he felt ill and overwhelmed and was "freaking out about us" again (also his words). This in spite of my feeble protests:

"I have to be at therapy at 10:30 am in Columbus Circle and I haven't shaved my legs."

"There are trains in the morning, you know. And I do have razor blades."

So there I went, gently into that good night. Granted, I did fall asleep listening to Tom Tales, and I do wonder if I'm not just warmth, books and dishwashing to this man, but details. I missed him. He is the meatloaf fantasy man of the sweater vest and spectacles. I see that now.

But what "us" entails, I still haven't a clue. So, imagine my discomfort when he called tonight at dinner to warn that he was "feeling weird" (and anxious and nervous) about "us." What is it about men that makes them assume they've the right to reject an offer you haven't made?

I have never asked him for "us." I have never asked him for anything. To the best of my knowledge, I've done a solid job of giving space, of stepping back, of leaving his campsite better than I found it. This, "I'm nervous about my ability to do this" makes my blood run passive aggressive through its vein rivers and intersections. Do what, D? I don't forgive all your radio silence the instant I see you only to be made constantly anxious by your anxiety. Don't they say a man who really wants to be with you will just be.with.you?

He did come to the milonga. We did dance. And he made no secret of sharing his beer or holding my hand between songs. Mais c'était tout. An hour or two of (actually quite wonderful) dancing to end the night (after two hours of averting his gaze and dancing with everyone and their lame-footed uncle). We left. He kissed me. Said he had shit to do in the morning. Said, and I quote, "Sorry to be weird. We'll just take it as it comes, no?" He put me in a cab and then: "I'll talk to you. Ciao."

And so there I was, speeding alone through the predawn streets of Manhattan, over my big, lonely bridge to my big, lonely apartment, wondering how I let things slip so far. I don't love the drama anymore. It is weakness, nothing more, that keeps me from confronting him. Not wanting to give up those bookish nights in the Bat Cave, those mornings of tangled sleep, the catch in my heartbeat when I cock an eyelash mid-tanda to see he has arrived on the floor.

In a bygone AP English report card, my beloved teacher once wrote, "Meg must learn not to suffer so under the pangs of uncertainty." Well, Mr. F, here I am, splashing in the lukewarm uncertainty of it all, my fingers pruny with it, waterlogged. Or did your advice have more to do with graceful extrication from the state of uncertainty? I've spent the better part of the last nine years trying to solve that riddle. Will I never learn?

Nothing to be done now but wonder.

1 comment:

Hannah Miet said...

"He is the meatloaf fantasy man of the sweater vest and spectacles."

I really enjoy your writing.