I finally called him back. We spoke lightly of nothing in particular. He seemed to be just as I had left him only now he had a cold. I called with a goal in mind. It wasn't supposed to be difficult. I thought he was quicker than that. For a guy who lunches on a regular basis with his "MBA buddies", you would think he'd be more sensitive to up and down trends. I was sure he knew we were at the tale end of a sharp decline, which was why I was a little perplexed when he continued to call and email. I knew I had to say something. I had been hoping it would just trail off, but it didn't look like that was the way it was going. I thought about writing it in an email, but invisioned him receiving it on his blackberry while having dinner with friends. I knew it wasn't right, so I sucked it up and made the call, banking on the assumption that if I 'called it', in the time of death sorta way, he would shrug and concede.
Instead, to my surprise, he waived a carrot - albeit limp and pale.
"I don't actually agree.", he replied. "I think we could have had something here. I think we could have worked through this."
It was clear that this was just a last gasp for air, but it was enough to tug at some of my more vulnerable strings. I resisted the urge to respond. I trusted myself for once. I held my tongue.
"Ok then", he said after a moment. "Will you still say 'hi' if you see me on the street?"
"Alright kiddo, take care."
'Kiddo' - a final tug.
Later, over the phone, Lana reassured me, "It's just like a band-aid. You had to rip it off."
"And you did".
I did, but looking back, he should have lost me on our third date, at his inability to 'get' Hustle and Flow. We rented the movie (my selection) and he wrote it off in the first five minutes.
"It's like they're speaking another language."
ITS - LIKE - THEY'RE - SPEAKING - ANOTHER - LANGUAGE
How did I explain that away to myself? He's sheltered? He lacks empathy? Lacks depth? How did I let it slide for as long as I did? What's more infuriating is that I waited until this point to stop it, instead of saying it didn't work out weeks ago when I first detected and then denied it. Instead I tell him it's because we lost momentum, I let him think it was about my insecurity - my doubt about his feelings for me. I let him think I was the needy girl worrying that he was 'just not that into me'. When he told me that I was reading too much into what I saw as his apathy, I even wondered if he was right.
This is bigger than a dating issue. I keep doing this to myself and it makes me angry. I'm angry for not being sure sooner, for not always giving more weight to my own desires and needs, and for taking the blame. It's not me who has a lack of character. I'm brimming with it. My problem is that I spend so much energy trying to let it out in manageable trickles, stemming the flow, so I don't scare people off, put a bad taste in their mouths, make them feel uncomfortable. But that's what the world is, a dirty, tragic, uncomfortable, human, pathetic, and often hysterically funny and sad place. It's not smooth, clean, aritculate, witty, shiny, or pure. We enter this world in a stream of fluid, blood, and shit, and our departure isn't any prettier. If we didn't lie to ourselves a little, I don't think we could survive - out of our robot bodies, springs would pop, eyes would cross, and legs would give out. No, there will always be lies, but the ones I tell myself don't always have to come out of my own hide. I can't preserve everyone else anymore. I won't.