Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Valentine's Day Flash Fiction Thingy... Or Whatever

"No, he can't do that." I said plainly.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"Because he's not as tough as me." I took a sip of coffee and waved my hand in the air to infer more was coming. "I'm the one who will go out of my way. He--- he just--- it's asking too much of him. I'm more... determined, I guess."
"You're more determined to see him than he is to see you?"

"Yea. Well, kind of. To make time for him. In a way."
"It sounds like you're making excuses."
I sighed. "I'm not. It's just complicated."
"It sounds like you are."
"J," I shook my head. I already knew he was going to give me a speech. The one about letting my efforts be wasted on a man who wasn't that into me. I'd heard this particular speech a million times this year already and it was only February.
"Why don't you just take a step back and see what he does? I had to do that with Roger and he came running into my arms."
I scowled a little. "You and Roger are the perfect couple though, so I don't think y'all are a good example."
Jack looked confused. "We are, literally, the perfect example." He sipped his expresso.
"I just want to feel wanted."
"We all do, it's human nature. But what we do to feel that way, or, rather what we do to make other people want us is what sometimes throws us into the realm of 'desperation'."
"You think I'm desperate?"
"No. I don't, but does he?"
I rubbed my forehead. Tried to answer that question for myself before admitting it to Jack.
Was I desperate? I always made myself available for his every whim. I made sure he knew I'd do whatever I could to move my schedule around to see him. He knew if he called, I'd never say no. I didn’t think that was desperation until now.
“Why does dating have to be such a mind fuck?”
“Because, just like anything else, you're selling yourself. It’s about getting that other person to perceive you in a way that is true to life, yet still ‘romanticized’.”
“I don’t know how to do that. I only know how to be straight with someone. I like him, so I want to see him and I let him know that-- end of story.”
“No, not end of story.” Jack leaned towards me and put his elbows on the tiny cafe table. J was beautiful, perfect lips, smooth skin, dark hair and a chiseled physique. Long story short, Roger was a lucky man. “If you make yourself too available, he will perceive you as being desperate, or worse, he’ll take advantage of your honesty and good nature and blow you off more. Because he knows he can just reschedule, no problem.”
On some level, I knew Jack was right. I didn’t want to believe that though. There had to be someone in this world who wasn’t like that. But then again, I had to consider human nature. It is what it is. Millions of years of human evolution wouldn’t be undone by a few dates and a couple passionate moments.
“He’s not the only one with perception problems.” Jack added.
“What? I perceive things as they are.”
He laughed. “Do you? You view him as weaker than you already. Don’t you think he feels that judgement in some way? Is he truly weaker than you, or is it more likely his strengths lie in different areas than yours?”
“I don’t think he’s weak.”
“You just said so not five minutes ago.”
“I think he…”  I stopped halfway through my sentence. Fuck. I did just say that and only in this moment was I realizing I’d meant it.
Jack nodded as if to say ‘told ya’.
“So now that we know it’s “perception” that’s keeping me more single than not, what do I do about it?”
“There’s not much you can do.” J shrugged. “The only thing that might make dating a little easier is to be self aware. Know who you are, what you really want and drop any fucker you find who doesn’t give it to you.”
“Isn’t that a little self centered? A relationship is give and take, ebb and flow. Up and down.”
“It is. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself first.”
I chuckled. “How poetic of you.”
“I saw that quote on Facebook.”
“So basically, I’ve learned nothing?”
“So basically," Jack winked at me, "you could learn everything there is to know about sharing your life with another person and still feel lost. That’s what love is. It is a journey. A test with no cheat sheets and ironically, it’s every man and woman for themselves.”
“Jesus, that’s depressing.”
“Nah, it’s just dating. You'll be fine.”
A small smile crept over my lips. "Thanks, Jack."


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My novel, Trigram, is in the works, but in the meantime, I'll probably be working on short stories such as the ones on Wicked Shorts. (Wink)

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