no way to reply
I've been reading a lot lately. Pilfering through book after book, like I used to in high school (and much unlike I did my last two years in college). It's strange because as I flip through these books, wolfing down their contents, I feel the presence of something I haven't felt in a long time - solitude. Not to be confused with loneliness, this feeling is not always unpleasant, but it reminds me of how I used to be in high school and how I seem to enjoy my life so much better these days.

Maybe that's what bothers me about this boy. He reminds me too much of who I used to be (a person who still lingers inside and comes out from time to time) not so many years ago. He's awkward in the most miserable of ways - so worried about what other people must think of him that it just emanates from every word he says and every move he makes. Even in his sincerest of moments, I can't help but feel like he's placing a qualifier before any sort of opinion he makes. I have to admit I hate this quality even though I can empathize with him.

I knew he had a crush on me even before the second time we went out again, but at this time, I wasn't so sure what I thought about him. Hoping that a second meeting would loosen him up, I decided I would see him again and decide what I thought. Neither of us had confirmed it was a "date," and I sincerely had hoped that he didn't consider it to be one, but I realized that he did when he kept footing the bill at every place we had gone to that night. I was polite, but I found myself growing irritated with his humming and hawing, his indecisiveness, and his constant self-deprecation. I felt evil for feeling this way but I couldn't help it. I thought I made it clear by the end of our "date" that I was not interested in being more than friends. Maybe I wasn't clear enough.

I realized he wasn't like me in high school as much as I had thought. Even though he had the same awkward ineptness with crushes that I had, something about him was too brave. It was that bravery that bordered on audacity. It reminded me of watching a bad tv sitcom in which a character says or does something stupid that you know will lead to a faux pas - the kind where you need to turn your head away from the screen.

The night after our last meeting, I received a not-so-mysterious email from a website allowing someone to anonymously reveal his or her secret crush on its receiver. I haven't had a crush on anyone in so long (except maybe daylong crushes on strangers on the bus or in stores) that it really couldn't have been anyone else. The email allowed me to respond by typing in the email addresses of people I have crushes on. If there were a match, it would send us both emails confirming requited crushes. I think if I had any inkling that it could have been anyone else I would have been pretty excited - hell, I would have been glowing. But there would be no match. I never replied or gave on that I received such an email to him. I thought I could breathe easy without hurting his feelings. So I thought.

Several days passed, and even though he didn't ask me about the crush email (how could he?) he sent me strange emails hinting (not so subtly) of jealousy, possessiveness, and hurt. The last email I received was an almost too-embarrassing-to-read confessional note that revealed that he "sort of" likes me. Immediately after divulging this information, he states "But I guess you don't feel the same way about me." I felt a mixture of disgust, pity, and sadness inside myself upon closing the email which has not yet gotten a reply, if it ever will (how do you reply?).

I'm not mad at myself for not liking this boy. You can't force yourself to like someone you're obviously not attracted to. It's funny because this is something I learned not too long ago, after making a few attempts of dating people who didn't fit to my liking -- because I thought they were "good" or because they liked me and I had hoped I would like them as much one day. It just doesn't work. But I wonder if he'll understand. I hope so.

-sarah h.

Monday, February 05, 2001


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