She saw the notification for a new friend request pop up.
“Jackson would like to be friends.”
She felt her heart sink to her stomach.
Of course, there he was, the kind and sweet man from the other night whom she had abandoned in the hopes of never having to see or hear from him again.
“New Message from Jackson”
“Small word hey runner?”
Backed into a corner, she reluctantly opened up the conversation window.
“Yeah.. about that. Sorry.”
Really? That’s what you choose to say? He is going to flip!
“That’s alright, I got the feeling you weren’t into it, or me, you could’ve just told me, you know. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
She was stunned, she had given up on the idea that people like him still existed. But as much as she was in awe of Jackson’s kindness she was equally frustrated with herself.
Why don’t I feel anything?
The two started chatting and they agreed to meet again; with a view to be friends this time. His unconditional kindness reminded her of the girl she used to be. She secretly hoped that spending more time with him would bring her back.
Over the next few weeks she would meet Jackson for coffee or dinner and they would chat about their days, their goals, their hopes and ambitions. While the company was appreciated it was clear that Jackson still held a vigil for her and her conscience couldn’t allow their meetings to go on.
“He’s holding onto hope for something that will never happen, ma. You are too. I don’t want to date, its exhausting. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not a big deal.”
She had repeated those words to herself as she lay in her bed.
Its not a big deal.
But it was a big deal. She did want to be in a relationship. She wanted to love and be loved, but she just hadn’t felt that way about anyone in a very long time and all this time with Jackson had made her wonder whether she ever would again.
She went to bed as she had the night before and several nights before that; hopeful.
My time will come.
“Mmhmm…. Oh, that’s interesting… mmhhmm… oh, great” she pretended to pay attention as she continued reading the screen in front of her.
“Well then? What do you think?”
She paused for a moment. What is she going on about? What do I think about what? I have a lot of thoughts. For example, I think this letter is overreaching, no way they have any evidence to back these claims. They’re just trying to intimidate the client. I’ll have to draft something up…
Right. Focus. What were we talking about. Just tell her she’s right. That’ll take care of it.
“You know what’s best, ma.”
“Exactly. So you’ll go out with him?”
“I thought you said you were listening? Your Aunt called, she met this lovely lady at the temple this weekend. She has a son, only child, he’s an accountant and he plays guitar. You like guitar, remember? You wanted to learn– he can teach you! He’s very interested; he’s seen your picture and says he’s seen or met you before? Where did you meet him? Are you dating? You should be dating! There are so many potentials!”
“Are we back on this again? I told you, I’m not interested. I’m not dating anyone. And what picture? I didn’t give her any pictures.”
“She found one from your Facebook page, by the way, you need some new pictures. Some with other people, wear something flattering and no more gym photos, you have to show variety.”
“I’m hanging up now.”
“Honey, listen, just add him on Facebook. His name is Jackson.”
The heart remembers what the mind tries to forget.
Her usual route was blocked so she used Siri to navigate the next quickest route. Within minutes she was travelling down a road all too familiar.She came to a crossroad and intuitively turned left, despite Siri’s instructions to “continue straight.” She drove past a park while Siri “recalculated” and there it was.
“Of course, “she thought.
She looked to her left and saw the apartment. Their old apartment.
She was tempted to allow the flood of memories to consume her, but she had gotten better at turning those feelings off. She clenched her teeth, shook her head and continued on the recalculated path home.
The weight of the day had compromised her will power and the rest of her evening was plagued with the thoughts of the apartment and the memories within.
The day she moved in. The day she moved out. Memories she thought she had forgotten, all came rushing back as if she was experiencing them for the first time.
“Love used to live there.” She thought to herself as she crawled into her bed. “But love left long before I did.”
She turned off her lamp and nodded off to bed.She didn’t hold herself responsible for the breakdown of that relationship anymore. She may not have forgotten, but she had forgiven.
Quiet after the Storm
The dark clouds of assignments have passed; however, the dark clouds of exams are looming. Despite the ‘dark times’ though, I am truly grateful. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams. The good thing about the dark times are that they’re usually synonymous with busy times; i.e., no time for a wandering mind.
Although I don’t have the time for it, my mind and heart have wandered home.
Watching and reading about the lives of loved ones through social media can be difficult. I didn’t realize how much I miss physical contact with loved ones. A warm hug, a hand on the shoulder, heck, even a slap in the ass from a mate in the gym hah. I often wonder whether I did myself a disservice by not getting too close to any friends here. Staying in the shadows. Satisfied with the version of me they’ve created, ignorant of my truth. I wonder whether I’ve done myself a disservice by not giving all of myself to these relationships. Then I remember…