Monday, November 2, 2009

On Not Playing the Game

Friday night. A drunk dial from E., whom I have not heard from in a year and a half. I was feeling strange again. I texted the LDC. One last shot to see if he’d respond. He didn’t. Fine, I thought. If he doesn’t want to talk to me, then I don’t want him coaching my Fantasy Football team. It was the most passive aggressive way I could’ve gone about it but I didn’t care. I had tried to be honest and something was still missing. I wanted to take back control.

Sunday afternoon.
A text. “Did you change your fantasy password?”
I was embarrassed. Why was I being such a child? I replayed the 5 second scene in my head of him looking at my text and ignoring it and I felt justified. Ignore.
Ten minutes later, a phone call. Ignore.
Voicemail. “Hey, what’s up. Just wanted to see how your weekend was, if you survived Halloween. So… yeah. I guess… give me a call back when you get this.”
He had never left me a voicemail before. Ever. I caved, and texted.
“Hey, I’ll give you a call later.”
“Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine. Just would rather talk than text.”
“I know, that’s why I called you.”

I felt shaky and nervous for the rest of the day. I was tearing myself up for something that was so unreal. It wasn’t flesh and blood and yet it was so solidly in my life.

I called later that night, prepared to be completely honest and lay it all out there. I was tired of game playing and wondering.
“You sound weird,” he said, his voice thick with exhaustion.
“Yeah, well… I guess I should probably tell you… I did change my password. I was being completely passive aggressive because I was mad at you. I feel like something is different. We used to talk a lot. I mean… a lot. And now I feel like I don’t hear from you at all. I feel ignored. And I thought maybe you were dating someone, which would make sense, but I asked you about that and you said you weren’t. So I thought maybe you just didn’t want to talk as much, and that’s fine… but I think I deserve to hear that. So I got mad at you.”
It was like dropping a fifty pound sack of flour from my arms. It was everything I wanted to say and no matter what his answer was, I was honest without being crazy. A minor accomplishment.

He laughed. “I’m not ignoring you. And if I haven’t been talking to you as much it’s not a conscious decision. I’m just… having a hard time.” He went on in a meek little voice that I had never heard before. “I feel really alone here. All my friends are in relationships, I’m living with my parents again and I guess I’m… lonely. And it’s really hard liking someone and getting close to someone who lives across the country. So I’m not ignoring you. But maybe I’m just being realistic.” He laughed again. “But I really like coaching your fantasy team. And I know I can get a little competitive, so I’m sorry about that.”

"This has nothing to do with Fantasy Football," I promised. And then I laughed, too. Because while he was trying to explain why I hadn’t heard from him, it wasn’t about me at all. He went on to talk about how he felt restless and confused about what he was doing and where he was and who he was spending his time with. He wanted his friends back, he wanted to be with someone, he wanted his own space again. By the end of our conversation I felt at ease. I knew we wouldn’t go back to texting every ten minutes or talking about how we’d live in San Francisco next year, but I did feel the shift to a more normal friendship.

“I should go to bed,” I yawned. “But I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Yeah, I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow night but I’ll call you.”

“You don’t have to. I don’t want you thinking I’m the crazy girl who needs a phone call every day.”

“No, I want to. I want to talk to you for longer. I like talking to you… it’s refreshing.”

2 comments:

MP said...

glad you cut through what could've been needless heartache! very very glad =)

JRenee said...

YES! Finally.. sooo glad this took place!