Phrases

It’s funny how poetry goes. It’s funny how writing goes, period, actually. The strangest things can spark the wish to capture a phrase, to write it down even for the sake of its uniqueness or the possibility you may use it to round out a larger story.

The name of a North Carolina-based ice cream company. The dancing light of mischief in a child’s eye as she coyly hides behind her mother’s knee. The image of lightning bugs flashing in mason jars. The way someone you used to love flicks a penny at your shoulder to get your attention.

I got mad today. I haven’t been mad at him before. Frustrated, yes, and definitely sad. But I think that today is the first time I can honestly say I was mad at him. Not for throwing the penny at me, exactly, though that was part of it. Then another part of it was the silly, selfish reasoning that the market is my territory (I don’t care if you bought produce there before I worked there, I’m a vendor now and I have precedence, so there) and if you are too busy to spend an hour of your time with me then I don’t want you showing up at my job. But I think what threw me, what made me mad, was the feeling that he had the gall to act so normally, so friendly.

Last summer he was dating someone else and he did the same thing, threw a dime at me in the middle of the grocery store. That was when my stomach still dropped every time I looked at him. I threw a pen back at him then, along with some remark I’m sure I thought was snarky. That was when I hadn’t given up trying.

I’ve given up trying now, after he showed me exactly how low on his list of priorities I am. And I just…I felt like it wasn’t fair of him, to be so casually friendly and smiling, to act as if I was still important to him when it seems that I’m not. I have to believe that I’m not or I’m not going to continue to get better. I don’t want that sinking stomach feeling to come back.

I’ve stopped writing in second person when I think about him. That’s a good sign, surely. But I’ll revert back to it narcissistically, in the hopes that something good may come of this silly pouring out of sentiment that is not the real writing I’d hope to put on here…

Please. Let us be friends, who see each other sometimes and reciprocally talk periodically, who actually make an effort to spend time with each other. Let us have a shot at that kind of real friendship. Perhaps we’ll get back together, perhaps we’ll be good friends. Either way, let’s give it a shot.

Or leave me alone. For good. I do not believe in acting like you’re fond of someone if you’re not. If I’m not important enough to spend one afternoon with, then I’m not important enough  for you to be anything more than polite when you see me. Because every time you smile like it’s just so great you ran into me, it feels like a mixed signal, like it goes against everything else you’ve been doing to act like you don’t care.

Please. Let’s be friends or let’s just be civil. I’m done playing around in the grey areas, with you or with anybody else.

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