Here we are again. Well, this is the first time you’ve met me, but I’ve seen your type before. You’re nerdy, in tech, and you don’t care about zodiac signs. You messaged me because we’re a high match percentage and my profile intrigued you in some way. Was it the lack of sexual experience or my unapologetic declarations of feminism, the profanity or the comforting fact that I’m small enough to affirm your precarious sense of masculinity? It must have been the honesty, the honesty you maybe think is refreshing and oddly charming but soon you’re going to find uncomfortable and unbearably grating. Whatever it was, you wanted to meet up right away and see if we’d click somehow.
You probably think you have some sense of me, because of how prolific I was in my profile. Well, guess what. You don’t know me. How can you know me when I’m barely getting the hang of myself every day? Or you’ve come here because you want to get to know me. There’s nothing to tell or show. There’s so much shit going on in my head but nothing worth revealing. Sometimes I feel like an empty vessel of a person who can trick others into thinking I’m oceans deep. So when you come here and try to pry open my parts all you will find is disappointment and apathy, thin as the smile I give you when I tell you goodbye.
It’s not you, it’s me, as overplayed as that sounds. How can I trust you? How can I come to trust you? What do you want from me? All these questions start piling up until all I can do is mindlessly build walls. It’s not like I have any deep dark secrets or a tragic past to validate my black heart. It’s my pride. It’s my soul. It’s my mind eating away at my ability to play this game the way my peers do without a second thought. It’s seeing the shattered hearts of my friends, makeup running down their faces, voices heavy and broken telling me, he hurt me. He screamed all these things at me. He choked me. I still care about him. I still love him. It’s seeing you seeing me, this scrawny little thing in her shrill little voice steadily failing all your expectations. It’s the idea of being closed in, trapped, with no way out except the dagger of my words through the heart of this conversation, signaling my cue to escape, exhaling my relief, annoyance, terror, sadness.
How ephemeral must this kind of love be that we’re sitting here, face to face, two strangers who until now have never met, trying to forge a connection through sentences we’ve parsed from what we’ve written in an attempt to convey facsimiles of ourselves. Whatever this is, it’s so fragile. How can something come out of nothing? Words and people are so fleeting. Let them loose, and they disappear, forgotten or misremembered with little effort. We’re desperately flailing for the right words, the right gestures, so it will all add up to what? A first date is lesser than the sum of its parts. We are lesser than the sum of our interaction. Let’s just quit while we’re ahead. The silences stretch out. We’re thinking of what to say. We’re thinking of what not to say. I’m thinking, this is a mistake. I’m thinking, you’re thinking this is a mistake. I don’t know what to do with you. I don’t know what I want from you. All I know is, this isn’t it.
Wouldn’t I know? Or am I not trying hard enough? It’s agonizing, this liminal state of human connectivity. It seems like such a waste, to put in all this time and effort only to realize you’re no one to me except what I thought you could be, and what I thought was only a slight possibility, sprung from the loins of a feverish imagination that cancels out reality.
The same or similar lines repeated, a tired scenario played over and over again. I know you’re flesh and bone, a full, complex human being, but all I see is an echo of something I’ve come across one too many times. When are you real. How can I separate you from the motions. Why am I the way that I am. Your face may be beautiful but my fangs still drip with venom. You eat the apple and I watch you fall. We never see each other again.