I began this day with a determined prayer and thoughtful scripture reading. I gave it first priority..okay second. Toilet was first. But anyway, today produced randomly wondrous, albeit simple events that I feel I should document, and I don’t seem capable of doing anything productive until I release these anxious ideas into the world of written word.
Seriously, for two hours now I’ve been trying to convince myself to do homework, not feeling justified to just sit and write, but instead, I avoid both with Netflix (I’m addicted to Bones; I think I need help…) So I’ll get all this off my mind and maybe concentrate on homework. Or at least go to sleep without feeling completely useless.
After my sculpture class I have a break, from 10-11am. Usually I just use this time to slowly finish up whatever artsy thing I’m working on and mosey on down to my American Lit class sometime before it starts. Well, true to form, over the long weekend I didn’t do all the homework I should have and so I decided I would leave Sculpture and go find a place to quickly catch up on the reading for Lit.
Walking toward the construction detour I noticed three red helium-filled balloons taped to the floor. I had a very sudden urge to go over and whack them. I did not, and a little farther along I saw another red and white cluster, this time closer to my path, so I poked a couple with a finger as I walked by. Again, another pair of red balloons reached innocently to the sky and I gave one a good flick. This seemed to be the happiest walk down Campus Lane (or whatever) that I could recall.
Before reaching the exit, the true purpose of the red and white helium balloons was revealed to me: blood drive. I was drawn to donate, transfixed on transfusion, oozing with enthooziasm to get rid of some blood. I drive lots of things, why not blood, too?!
They had just started so there weren’t many people so they took me as appointmentless as I came. I told them I had an 11am class and asked if I would make it. They said I should. They were incorrect. But that’s okay. It worked out that since I had less blood, somehow I had less desire to participate in the thirty minutes left of class discussion (that is never really that stimulating anyway) about readings that I only caught a couple pages of while my life juice leaked from my veins.
The donation was successful and I walked speedily toward Lit. After that dull half hour of my life (I didn’t regret having been late for the cause of saving lives) I walked to Biology. I ate an apple as I walked, eyes ever scanning the cluttered halls for a devilishly handsome man, approximately 6’5”, green eyes…perfect in every way. Because I don’t want to see him, I look for him twice as hard. That way, if I do spot him I can make sure I’m not mid-apple-bite or looking helpless or hapless if he spots me back.
It’s ridiculous, I know. I told myself to relax, from day one, but I can’t help it. I don’t look for potential mates like most females would do, especially one with my height advantage above the crowd. No, I’m looking out for the prior mate. After two weeks I was beginning to feel comfortable that he might not have class on M, W, F. Phew.
At the beginning of each Biology class the professor asks if there are any questions. I had two: why do bubbles form on the inside of a glass half full of water left out all night? And, what happens to the DNA of a donor when transfused into the recipient? I asked neither because someone wanted to complain about how the online quiz system was set up. I ignored this and stared at a DNA strand model on the desk, wondering, with my left arm limp at my side.
Biology expired and I pushed through the clotted classroom door with the rest of the fleeing life forms. Mother Nature guided me toward the restroom; those post-donation liquids were doin their job. The glance in the mirror as I dried my clean hands showed me that I looked kinda cute. Then there was the inevitable “did you play basketball?” conversation at the bathroom sink with the well-meaning though complete stranger lady washing her hands.
That held me a few seconds longer in the restroom than I had anticipated. Normally from Biology I will just beat the crowds and walk outside on level two toward my next class. And even though it was a perfectly lovely day outside, the crowds had cleared a bit so I figured I’d just walk inside.
Walking past the food court I noticed how unsatisfying the Band-Aid on my pricked finger had become (the pricked finger is always the most painful, isn’t it), no longer sticking after the restroom hand washing. So I veered toward a trash can. A mere half-second delay.
As I merged into the flow of traffic again, my annoying hall-scanning eyes refocused on the oncoming pedestrians. It’s funny how much can happen in about two seconds. Really, any combination of infinite possibilities can be sparked in two seconds or less: the game-winning three-pointer; the bullet released from the barrel; the recognition of green eyes, sculpted body, height, hair, face...
Two seconds earlier and I would have gone down the hall to the right none the wiser.
Now, I’ll never be able to say for certain why, whether for 450mL of blood loss or not, but my heart burned. As soon as he recognized me too, I waved my unpricked hand and smiled. He smiled, in a way that seemed entirely pleasant to me. We kept walking away.
The first thought that was recognizable enough to be processed was: I’m glad the mirror said I looked cute. I walked two halls and four flights of stairs, mindlessly sliding one hand over the other before I acknowledged any other organ function. Heart kept burning, throat gears started cranking in tight, eyes fought back a siege of tears. No, no more tears for this one.
The two-second frame replayed over and over in my mind and I realized something. I actually wasn’t trying to analyze what his look could have meant or if I might have done anything different. I wouldn’t have. I just didn’t want the image to fade. At first I thought that was a healthy sign. But it’s so pathetic because that directly reflects the stubborn heart inside me that tries not to let him fade with each beat…
I’ve tried two strategies to beat him out. I’ve tried to love again, to love more even. Henry David Thoreau gave me this idea when he said, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Well that hasn’t happened, and so it’s like the deepest part of me that has known love still only knows him.
Then I’ve tried to reason to myself that I’ll find someone better for me; someone that is like him but that I can actually marry. But that always makes me think of the characteristics of eternity and I realize that there is no person in this world like him. I didn’t just love things about him, I loved him: his soul, his skeleton, his existence, his DNA, his stubbornness right along with his unbelievable patience and incredible heart. I held his hand as though there was nowhere else in the world to go.
Which is understandable, even expected, if you know him. He’s an amazing guy. But it wasn’t smart on my part…it was just setting myself up for hurt. But I don’t care anymore that I ever felt pain, I so regret how much I ever hurt him. If he’s like me (and we sure had a lot in common) then he doesn’t remember many unpleasant things from the past. I mostly remember good times and a cool relationship. But the more I think about it, the more and more and more I begin to discover how selfish I was.
We do this thing, women, humans in general probably. We want to be so accommodating to a partner whom we’re crazy about that we nearly lose our individual identity to the building of the relationship. As I did that with this man, and he never seemed to resist my attentions, it’s almost like I turned the relationship into a tool capable of bringing me whatever I wanted. To me, he appeared to be accepting and enjoying my willingness to be available whenever, to make time for him/us whenever, never a conflict when it came to being together.
But then, because I thought my actions were desired, I figured he wanted the relationship to go the same way I wanted it to, and so I pushed it along my way. I knew what was best, because I knew what I ('we') wanted… Is this even making sense? I bet it would to him. I think I drove him crazy. Either he is inhumanly patient or he just didn’t realize at the time exactly why I was driving him crazy so he couldn’t put it into words: but I just didn’t know I was being so selfish. I thought we wanted the same things. Now I realize with dread as I look back that I’m not sure if I ever truly listened to what he wanted between us. I just figured we had that in common, too.
Now, I’m not presuming I would deserve it, but if I had the chance to love him again, I wouldn’t ‘again’ anything. I'm not sure I would even know what to do, really. I would need to get to know him better. Fully. I would want to just sit and listen to him, maybe never say a word; just be still and listen, even if he didn’t say much. Obviously I wouldn’t want to try again if we still couldn’t proceed to marriage, and so why do I even conjecture about hopeful impossibilities.
Maybe it’s been easy for him to remove me from his heart and he hasn’t thought about me since I last spoke with him some time last year. But me, I have thought about him every day since I’ve known him. I think more recently I can’t escape the regret of how selfish I was. This regret keeps the blood from clotting and the heart from stopping. I really need to kill this old heart because she’s not going to get another chance. And she’s not on speaking terms with him so the ongoing sculpture of apology and regret, being painfully detailed over time, will never be seen by its sponsor…He unwittingly reminds me every day how useless it is to be selfish. I'm trying to change.
See, this is why I was on the lookout. So as to make sure we didn’t make eye contact, to make sure I passed by no livelier than a shadow. But the man saw me. And smiled.
I did some more walking and this walking led me to my last class and after that to a classmate’s car, wherein we drove to IHOP and conversed pleasantly over consumable provender. Basically I went on a lunch date. It was fun.
It’s always when I get my priorities kinda lined up and get out of my own way that curiously cool things happen, without me really even trying.
So, I walked into some great things today. I’m optimistic. I consider every experience a positive one, because I always make its end positive. It’s in my blood. (O+)