Walking side by side enjoying a beautiful sunset in the horizon, heading to a nearby joint for a pair of shakes and a stimulating conversation, at least that is the plan. Her body language was not as lively and inviting as it has been in the past, almost as if she was holding or hiding something back. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something that was troubling her, maybe something that she couldn’t come to terms with but whatever it is, I am here and that is the only thing that matters. Yet nothing could prepare me for what was about to come, a shot from left field and a vital lesson in human interaction & dynamics.
Minutes go by after sitting down and the waitress taking our order. There is silence but not the one I enjoy to elevate the tension. No, this time is different, she seems to be quite upset and distant but she remains here by my side, she hasn’t even said that she wants to leave or anything. To ease up the vibe, I start talking about random occurrences, cracking jokes, etc. Just like that, a sly smile gets out but she is clearly fighting against it. After avoiding the inevitable, I finally asked “What’s wrong, hun?” and then, a tear comes streaming down her cheek while she says “Nothing”. Of course, if you know relationships of any kind, this is social dynamics 101, she was breaking down inside but refused to share her suffering. “Leah, look at me… Fine. If you’re going to be like that I better leave cause clearly I am not helping the cause and don’t even know why you said yes to my invite to being with” I said while leaving behind some cash to pay off our order. She quickly replies “Wait!” and out of courtesy I stop and turn, then she says “Can we go somewhere else?” I nod in approval and off we go.
Her name is Leah. She’s always been a private and keep-to-myself type of person, she rarely lets anyone into her personal life, and because of it, I try to tread waters lightly as she is a nice, gypsy soul that I truly wish for her to find ultimate happiness. Why do I say that? Because she is someone I love as a friend, and only that. However, I genuinely want to be there for her. This is not an easy thing to do as she is guarded in regards to her personal life even if those details are not highly secretive or delicate to address. She’s simply an introvert with a delightful, bubbly side that few get to see and I’m one of them.
Back in her apartment, I throw myself purposely onto her favorite couch -which by the way, it’s hella’ comfy- get comfortable while she’s in the kitchen getting our fix for the night that consists of Piña Coladas and Vodka. She comes back, and sees me on her couch “Fuck outta there, you know that’s my spot” she says and I only reply with an exaggerated smile on my face, she chuckles and right at that moment I stand up, give her a hug and lead her to her spot, I pull the coffee table and sit on the edge of it, I look at her and say “Now, tell me what’s up?” And that is all it took for her to unreservedly break down. “Remember Rob? The guy that we met at the club weeks ago… we went out, it has been three dates and for some reason, I believe that everything was going so perfect that after we were ending the night to our third date, and we said our goodbyes, I told him I love him” I stopped her abruptly right there and said “Why would you say that? You can’t be throwing those words around like they don’t mean anything, as great of a guy as you might think he is, he doesn’t deserve it, at least not yet, not now”.
“He was more into himself than into me, he was fascinating and that is what got me; his story, his accomplishments and his hobbies but what about me? He wasn’t fascinated about me at all”
She continued by saying “you know what makes it worse, the fact that he is so fucking oblivious and so inexperienced to be able to see what’s happening between us, to recognize the direction of our interaction and where this was heading that he replied by saying: ‘Oh great. Thanks’ and fucking left” She choked up letting more and more tears out without a care anymore. After unloading the rest of the story, she says “I am glad it happened that way because clearly he was more into himself than into me, he was fascinating and that is what got me; his story, his accomplishments and his hobbies but what about me? He wasn’t fascinated about me at all. He just kept talking and talking, shooting away about his life with no intent of getting to know me” I lift her chin up, wipe her cheek with my thumb and ask “And you wonder why most men suck? There’s your answer, and it can be boiled down to one word: Unawareness… He was doing everything right to get you but he just didn’t know it” – Like most men, completely unaware of the signs, the subtleties. Plain and simple.
“In the end, that is all we -as human beings- crave and desire. To feel wanted, to have a sense of belonging, to feel special, to matter… That is all we want”
She looks at me with great intent and proceeds to tell me how I differ from most but my rebuttal remains the same as it always has been and always will be: Trial by fire, I have my own share of stories from many, many, many years ago. I guess being raised by a single mother among women, and then exposing myself to different scenarios out there on my own with no male or father figure to guide me during this phase of life. This exposure that left me vulnerable gave me the experience to manage and recognize these situations to the point that it is now just second nature. Among all the lessons anyone can learn in life about relationships, friendships, connections, one-night stands is that ultimately YOU have to convey and be genuinely more interested and fascinated by the person in front of you than to be the more interesting and fascinating one.
Sure, being an interesting person gets you attention and provides a spotlight but it happens fast and it is only temporarily. At some point the other person will want to be recognized as well, which translates into “be loved, to be important” and in the end, that is all we -as human beings- crave and desire. To feel wanted, to have a sense of belonging, to feel special, to matter…
That is all we want.