Why does life have so much waiting? Of young adult years, too much thinking, first loves..
|Let's Begin Here
“What are you waiting for?”
“What do you mean?” he said, holding one of my hands palm up, using it to draw me closer. His broad smile was obvious- his question was rhetorical: he thought I meant for the imminent hook-up. That is not what I meant at all.
I placed my hands on his chest to keep him just far enough: just far enough for careful conversation. I wasn’t surprised when he yielded to my slight direction. Lenient. Respectful. Those were always the words I used to describe him.
“No, what are you waiting for? Something bigger… something-“
“You mean for us?” His eyes were a little bigger, his motions a little less smooth, his face drawn back so that a kiss was no longer lingering so close in the future. He definitely didn’t want to talk about that... about us.
“Well no… and yes? But no, not primarily.”
“I don’t even know what I’m saying.” I put my head on his chest, resting it on the back of my hands. He still held me, comfortably, and so I didn’t let the topic fade away. I could tell him. I could talk to him. This was on my mind, and it wouldn't leave. “It’s just, this seems important- this thought that I keep having about waiting. And I just feel like everyone is waiting for something and you are waiting for something and I am waiting for something. Everything seems to be about waiting… I just wanted to know… something concrete… I just wanted to know, if you could tell me, what are you waiting for?” I lifted my eyes to look into his.
“Uh, I don’t think I’m waiting for anything...” Now we were farther apart. My hands snuck into my sweater pockets. He glanced behind him at his digital clock.
“Okay.” I bent to pick up my winter coat from where I’d dropped it on the ground minutes ago. Why hadn’t I done this over e-mail? I knew I didn’t come here to kiss and whatever and pretend everything was all right for the usual, but did I really expect that he would have an answer to a question I couldn’t even put together coherently? Was there even an answer to this pending question?
That was it. I was being unreasonable. This was just some guy. Not my boyfriend, not even my exclusive hook up, if I was finally admitting to myself the truth. Our status was an unspeakable between us. He was really just a guy. I had to stop trying to empty my mind with random guys whom I was attracted to. Was it lust that pulled the strings in my brain to release these strange thoughts? Was it that I was at least not being ignored by those for whom I had romantic feelings that made me want them to understand and have the answers and put everything together, immediately, holding me into the coldest hours of the night in strong arms and beneath the sedation of the deep, warm breath that would gush into my hair and down my neck? But no, not being ignored didn’t mean any of this would happen. There was so much more then just not being ignored. I just had to wait.
“I’m sorry, I need to go. Thank you for everything but… no more of this okay? Not for now at least. I’m sorry, really.” My coat was already zipped and buttoned. He just stood there, watching me. I felt embarrassed. I felt uncomfortable. I had just imagined a bunch of stuff. He probably didn’t care. I was sure he’d find someone else, and fast. I was just a weird girl who'd surprisingly lasted six weeks in his life, leaving for no apparent reason now when I’d even taken the care to get pretty before coming over. And yeah, so? I did care. I was comfortable with him and wanted to be there but... big whoop, I guess. It was over now, I'd just have to convince myself to stop. Take some time to finally figure out a lot of things I'd pushed back... and all of these questions... and why I did this every time. And I finally turned around.
Out his door, into the hall, down the front staircase, through the front door, and across a quiet snow-covered campus, one still with the chilly silence of a stunningly early winter morning, I went.
Beep. Four flights of steps, a familiar hall, my door, my room, and to my laptop. I flipped it open and typed into Google What am I waiting for?. I scrolled through irrelevant links and my roommate came back from brushing her teeth.
She was surprised to see me back. I tried to explain and we rationalized, laughing as the conversation turned nonsensical and fatigue showed itself in our eyes and voices. “Goodnight!” I said, as I got ready for bed. And that had truly been my intention-a rejuvenating dreamless sleep to make it all seem make believe-but my search was still open on my desktop.
I began again. Hash tag waiting. Blog posts tagged with waiting. Articles on waiting. Interesting stuff, speculative stuff, bogus stuff. My e-mail startled me as it sounded a new message. A message! From him. From him? From him! A crazy shiver ran down my spine and I didn’t hesitate to click on it. I’m waiting for you. It’s you, it said. So simple. So meaningful. He was waiting for me! I was the answer! And this was the end of the waiting and he would have me and I would have him and we would talk about everything and he would understand and he’d be the exception and finally: love, love, love. But then the darkness set in. Wait. Had I misread? I read it again. No, no, no, no! This was no declaration of infatuation but rather, an accusation! It’s you. My insides crumpled like the autumn leaves had, surrendering under the snow, and my brow damped. How tempting. How tempting to my mind to twist this in every way that it could be twisted and to believe the things it wanted to believe about people when in reality, no happening was ever what it seemed for me. I sweated and tried to cry but the heat and headache kept the tears from coming and I tried to shout but only felt that great discomfort of waking up without being rested. I wrestled my way out of my hole. And then I was back in my room, face on my laptop keyboard, head stabbed by my bio book to its left (no wonder for the headache) and my search still up. Huh? And now to question… the e-mail? I checked my inbox- it was empty. The last message from him was the one inviting me over. I looked to the floor. One coat, dropped there from when I’d arrived. I looked at the time. Two hours since I’d returned. Nothing had happened since then.
I was just waiting for something to happen. I always was. But it could go until tomorrow; I was very tired. I needed sleep. After all, there was always time to wait, and almost never enough time to rest. Just rest, just rest. Rest in peace.
I sat down at this paper a few days later and reread what I’d wrote. It annoyed me. I was a complete, uncontrollable drama queen. I was a confused, naïve girl with no perception it seemed for appropriating certain conversation for certain moments. I wanted to be open. I wanted to scream everything and all of my feelings to everyone and anyone around me. I wanted to contemplate the stars and lost love with the cute boy who served salads at the Food Court. I wanted impossible, dreamy, and flimsy illusions to be reality and because of this I just messed up- all the time. This was just another gaff. And reading it was super frustrating. But do you understand? This was the starting point: me reading this. This was that realization that hits from behind and sends the knees buckling, the breath dissipating and the mind rejuvenating.
The moments that are written down are those that are too heavy to be kept inside: moments that really mean something more then just simple joy or pride or sadness. These are the moments that unlock all the other moments. We wait for moments all our lives, and here I was staring one in the face. To let it influence me? Or to let it become just another story to tell the friends back home and get a couple hugs and dry words of blinded support for? This time I would opt for the strange feeling. I would opt for the thought, though difficult and tangled. And with that, I opened up a world of moments, and saw a longer path to whatever we're all waiting for unfold point blank in front of me. I think I like the longer path, I thought suddenly. I think I'll take it with my head held high.
In the end, we would all see each other again. My friends, this was my way to get there.