November 06, 2009

Outside My Skin

It was not too long ago, it seems, when the night was darker than all nights before, the silence thicker than all pauses in the English language. I was gripping the phone close, as I always did, like it was real, in front of me, holding my hand.

"What do you mean 'I can't do this anymore'?" He asked, his voice being forced through a cheese grater.

I closed my eyes and took a breath.

"I can't live a lie anymore, Ross. We don't have anything in common, don't you see? You like Programming, and no matter how many times I try to sound enthusiastic about it, it still bores me."

We seemed mysteriously disconnected. I used to be able to see him next to me, talking to me as I lie on the couch, legs dangling over the sides and my head resting on the opposite arm. Now, it was just me. Alone, and two thousand miles away from any source of happiness in this prison cell.

That was a year and a half ago.

Now I am in another long-distance relationship, one I like to believe more fruitful than my last one. We call each other pet names, like love, honey, sexy--but that isn't what a relationship is.

What is a relationship?

I sighed on the phone with Austin and said, "I just need a break. Really. I'm still nineteen, I'm young. I need to experience things and grow..."

His voice was choked. He probably didn't know what to say without either being angry or crying. He was a sweet boy. Eventually he conceded, and we hung up mutually knowing that we may not talk again for a long time.

"I'm free!" I yelled into the night air, sucking sweet Winter air into my lungs, "I can do whatever I want now!"

I was in my own little world. Paying attention to no one coming or going into the college cafe, I ran without any destination. I was in just a T-shirt and jeans in the middle of February, and I felt warmer than a poached egg on the Death Valley sand. I was free.

But, it didn't last for long. I felt that thirst for attention crop up again, and I started talking to Sean more, one of Austin's best friends. No. It didn't swing that way. But... I had once thought it should. I'm glad it didn't.

Why? Well, because life gives you hints, you just gotta be open to them. You have to look outside your skin to see relationships from an objective, all-knowing eye. It's impossible for everyday humans, but the attempt gets you closer than the truth than blatant denial.

So, I try to look closely before I develop a relationship with anyone, not just a guy. I want a friend who will have the same amount of devotion as me, a boyfriend who will love me as much as I can't love. And I will hope to become better at love than I already am.

"You're selfish sometimes." my ex-friend, Lily said.

I am. I know. I know it all too well. Our self is our hardest critic. Not only selfish, but lazy, arrogant, presumptuous, envious, vain, and introverted. However, since I have survived this long without being ostracized by society, I figure I'm good enough to have one good friend. Forever.

Someone to talk to until we grow old. Someone to call up enthusiastically and replay every single detail of my day. They would be just as enthusiastic to listen, but even tease me a little about it. Someone who will walk around in malls without any real reason, to kindle that sense of wonder and faith in humanity again. Because I'm dead right now.

I have not had one successful best friend in my entire life. People's faces blur now, and I hardly remember any names of my classmates. Everyone looks the same--superficial. It's the lens I use to see the world, one that only has one color but different shades. Some people are darker and deeper, but most are just blurs. Mixing and melding, thinking alike and acting alike enough to be annoying. Then, I stare at them when they leave the desk messy without so much as a thank you, expecting me to clean it up... I just don't trust people anymore.

Though, it's strange, no? I also like people. The thought of people, that is. The possibilities each one of us has is very interesting, which is why I have not given up on that best friend. My mom said that college is the worst place to be looking for best friends, that true friends happen in "real life." But...for me, I wonder if it's possible.

Looking from the outside-in...I wonder what I look like to everyone else. If I seem withdrawn and cold, heartless and bland, arrogant and stiff. I don't know. But inside...I feel alone.

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