If You Need Me, I Will Be Over Here
Wishing I Had Better Aim
Here’s what I did: 1) deleted the text message thread from my phone so I couldn’t analyze how “I was just thinking about you” turned into paragraph-long excuses for being busy and then the truth; 2) worked out, a lot, including real push-ups because who doesn’t like the metaphor of getting off one’s knees; 3) ate chocolate-based pastries during breakfast hours, negating the above except for defined biceps and a hint of a line where abdominal muscles might one day show through if I could just commit to grilled chicken and mixed greens and almond milk smoothies; 4) said oh, fuck you to my daily horoscope, meaning both the prediction and myself; and 5) hoped it was him every time my phone buzzed.
When I was younger, I heard the phrase Jedi mind trick and I thought it was a real thing that meant to concentrate on what you wanted a person to do and that if you focused hard enough, it would happen. I would stare at the phone and chant in my head call me call me call me, probably because my parents were not ones for movies, let alone ones that involved galaxies far far away.
I am much too old to do this now.
It takes a few weeks, but eventually his name is in the alert bubble on my phone. The text of the message is sheepish, an acknowledgement that we are on his terms now. But sometimes you just need the sure thing and who am I to judge. I put on the dress I’d been saving for him and thought I wouldn’t get a chance to wear – something from the juniors section, which I am also much too old for. My roommate watches from the couch as I fluff my hair and check my purse; if she side-eyes me any harder, she will be pulling a Linda Blair.
What I have a problem with is that we’re told this is devaluing, to come and go when called. What exactly am I supposed to value here? Why does being available mean I value myself less than if I take a moral stance that denies me exactly what I want?
I am probably too old to not know the answer.
Here’s what I do have figured out: 1) I don’t want/have time for a girlfriend right now means I don’t want/have time for you as a girlfriend right now but will sleep with you till I find someone else; 2) someone else will always come along; 3) if I can just keep this straight, I will be okay; and 4) it is possible that I am dumber now than I was at twenty-two because at least then I had being twenty-two as an excuse.
And so I flash my roommate a smile that says I know what I am doing and totter down to the cabstand in my high floral wedges because I don’t believe one should wear her sex clothes on a city bus.
He answers the door and as I step inside, I can tell it’s going to be different than the other times, and not just because it’s his bed instead of mine. And so I will let him leave marks and will ask him to pin my wrists, and later I will turn around so I don’t have to see what we’ve turned into.
Here’s what I value: 1) being wanted; 2) the illusion of being wanted; and 3) the choice to ignore the difference.
Amy Rossi’s work appears online in places such as Hobart, Ninth Letter, WhiskeyPaper, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. You can find her blogging about 80s metal music videos at amyrossi.com, tweeting at @mossyair, and in a room by quoting Road House.
*Cover art provided by the very talented artist, Toby Penney*