Although I’m sure she didn’t mean what she said to be so cutting, so destructive, I still took it that way and was still feeling quite hurt by the time a week had passed. Seemed silly to be so upset over something so trivial, but it was the first time we had ever fought that way, and now I was feeling fragile, questioning everything she’d ever directed at me, be it a joke or just a tossed-aside comment on how I might be dressed or a song I had playing in the car.
These things are gonna happen in relationships; good God I know that as well or better than anyone! I’d waited for years after my last separation from Cassie before I even ventured out into the field of experience and opened my heart up again. Now it seemed to have been a big fucking mistake to have done that. Because what did she mean by those words? Was that really the way her mind and soul operated deep down inside? Imparting motives to her sentence, speculating how I would have felt if I’d said the same thing. I decided I would have been cold as frozen rope, coiled up in my guts and then striking at her with cobra-like surgical precision, thinking as I spoke, There…take that!
But I think far too much. It’s a definite drawback most of the time, but how in the hell is one supposed to just turn off his brain? Sure, there’s drugs, I guess, but pot only makes my mind race faster and more thoughts march around like so many enemy soliders. Alcohol? Way too much alcoholism on both sides of my family for me to ever do more than drink a glass of wine from time to time. Still…what did it mean? Why would she say that?
Admittedly, in romance I’m somewhat like the typical man: I pick up on few if any signals that are being sent my way, usually too busy calculating what I can say or do that will maximize the chance of amorous evening endings. Want me to clean that for you, my dear? How about we stay in tonight and just fool around? Why are you looking at me like that?
OK, ok. It was just one sentence. Keep in mind that she’s incredibly cute and often eager to retire to the bedroom for the night. She’s got a dry, dark sense of humor that fits in perfectly with my own. And then there’s that thing she does with her tongue…hmm…this is gonna be a damn close call.
What do any of us want? And how are we supposed to get it and be happy at the same time? Maybe those two things are mutually exclusive. But seems like some couples are happy, or at least put on one hell of an act.
So back to the thing she said. It wasn’t anything that impugned my manhood. She didn’t look at my crotch when it was exposed and comment, Who do you think you’re gonna please with that? If ever asked that, my reply would be, Me!
No, it wasn’t devastating, but the way she said it, the way I heard it, the way it felt when it flew across the room and finally landed. It was a painful kind of thing. Yeah, sure, part of it was my own reaction to it, but damn, am I supposed to be immune to feeling hurt simply because I’m a man? Are we not allowed that? If we are cut, do we not bleed? Shit, now I’m getting all melodramatic and syrupy. Someone please kill me now before I go any further!
Thinking of it now, with some clarity (which is certainly relative), it shouldn’t have done what it did to me. I should have shrugged, chuckled, and let it roll off my shoulders like I didn’t even take it the least bit seriously. But I didn’t do that. Seemed like I couldn’t; as if I simply didn’t have that capacity the way I did when I was younger.
Eyes closed now, reliving it, seeing her standing there with that half-grin on her face as she shook her head and asked me, How is anyone supposed to fall in love with you?
Now, as I ponder it, I wonder that myself: How could anyone? How could they possibly dare? How do any of us ever manage to do that?
Copyright 2015 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.