'Well, I'm not going to lie, your resolution to not be a duck this year is failing miserably.' I've bashed out the words angrily into a Facebook message & notice I've spelt it 'duck' not 'dick'. I don't find this even remotely funny & the error only fuels my already Pinot soaked fire. I correct it. My fingers hover over the 'enter' key. One drop of my hand & it'll be gone, irretrievable from his inbox.
I know that I won't send it though. I've not had enough to make me think it's a good idea & I know I'll be grateful for that in the cold light of sobriety, when I won't be flooded with shameful regret & panic about such an error of judgement. It feels good, cathartic, to type it out anyway.
He marched into my carefully built world of self preservation at the start of January when a message from him landed in my Facebook inbox. He was apologising for not getting back in touch after we last saw each other. It was a bit of a dick move from him apparently. He finished by clarifying that he wasn't drunk. Whether he was drunk or not was a very low down question on the long list that were now starting to form in my mind. Despite the confusion this message was causing, something about it amused me. I hadn't seen him for about two years. We'd been on a few dates in 2014. I liked him. It stopped. I was upset because I'm a little too sensitive & hugely self-critical. After a couple of months though, I wasn't giving it much thought.
And now this. 'I just don't know what it MEANS' I told my therapist. 'This isn't in the rules. This doesn't happen. It doesn't happen to me.' He looks at me in his still way. 'And what are the rules?' he asks calmly, the antithesis to my mounting hysteria. 'I don't KNOW' I respond despairingly. 'They're what's written in all the books & they're what my friends tell me to do & not to do when all I really want is just to be me & not have to worry that that's wrong.'
We exchange anodyne messages over the coming days. Eventually he asks if I want to go for a drink & I agree. It should've been a red flag moment. It's clear the message wasn't sent in an entirely sober state of mind.
In the lead up to seeing him, I have a sense of foreboding. I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen. The day before we're meant to be meeting, he cancels. I feel red-faced stupidity & embarrassment. It's deja vu. This happened last time.
'What the FUCK is wrong with me?' I ask my therapist tearfully in our next session. The cancellation had happened the previous day. This is ground we've covered on numerous occasions over the past 17 months. My tears are not new, or surprising, to him.
I know my reaction is extreme which only adds to my feelings of stupidity & embarrassment. The problem is that in the jumbled clusterfuck of my mind, moments like this simply serve to solidify all the negative beliefs I have about myself. They weigh far too heavily on my daily existence. Normally I manage to keep them locked down until the spinning emotions of vulnerability & being attracted to someone & self-loathing cause them to rush out in hot tears & nervous, frightened-of-life adrenaline.
My laptop keys take the brunt of my fury as I type this never-to-be-sent Facebook message. It is a silly, misguided attempt to regain a semblance of control in a situation where I know I had, have, none.
There is one thing I will take from this short, almost meaningless exchange though. This boy, whose path my own has crossed over the years but I don't really know, said he thought I was good at writing. I don't think he'll ever realise just how much that touched me, how much that belief meant. It is by far the greatest compliment I think I could receive & I'll always be grateful to him for that.