Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tim writes some fiction - Part Two (What is in Question)

      Okay, this was started shortly after I finished “Dialogue” (so it should still be fall of 1997) and never finished.  It was inspired by a particularly hurtful conversation with my best friend who flat-out accused me of trying to steal his then girlfriend (now wife?) and how it was apparently my forever goal to sleep with my friend’s girlfriends.  So this was – if I remember correctly – my imaginings of how women saw me at the time, particularly fictionalized versions of people I knew.
     Of course, I made the mistake (as I always do) of using the real names where convenient with the goal of later going back and changing them.  I didn’t at the time, but given how obvious this would be if I didn’t change those names (and it is still pretty obvious) I had to do that now. 
     This is definitely not my strongest work.  I do like that with it I was able to identify (if not address at the time) a lot of the self-important BS I had made myself think to be important.  I don't like how accurately it reflects my inability at the time to get over something that had happened three years prior.
     Anyway, there are supposed to be eight women giving 'testimony' and two instances where they answer as a group (and for some reason there is a fictional woman getting these responses from the fictionalized women).  

What is in Question

     Sometimes in life there are situations you don’t exactly know how to interpret.  I was playing volleyball with my boyfriend and two of his friends, and one of them asked to go out with me.  Okay, what exactly happened was that my boyfriend jokingly said that we were about to be through.  Then this friend of his said, without missing a beat, says he wants to be my next boyfriend.  I don’t even know this guy, but he might know a lot about me, right?
     I mean, my boyfriend and he are friends, and I have to think that my boyfriend talks about me from time to time with his friends.  I know I talk about him, a lot.  So maybe this guy knows a lot about me, and would really like to go out with me.  Now, I love my boyfriend.  I do, but I don’t know if I’m always going to always be with him.  We’ve been going out for almost five months now, but that isn’t like a commitment of marriage, I think.  So maybe I should consider this other guy, right, and cover my bets.
     This guy, though, has been friends with my boyfriend for his entire life, like since they were six.  They have grown up together, really, and in some ways I think that would make it easier to adjust to this new guy.  That is, if I went out with him.  I don’t know if I’d want to, especially if I just broke up with my boyfriend.  I wouldn’t want to be reminded of him, and still have to hang out with him.  But, if he broke up with me, maybe.
     Then again, this other guy is kinda chubby, and a little too sarcastic to be enjoyable.  And he lives twenty miles away and he is going off to school.  I’m going to school, too, but he wouldn’t be around.  My boyfriend is done with school, sort of.  At least for a little bit, he’s just obligated to work and me, So maybe I should just stick with him and not take any chances on this other guy.

     Kevin says he’s in love with me, and that would be sweet and all, but I don’t think he is.  I used to think it, before Kevin said anything.  I wouldn’t let him meet my boyfriend for almost two years.  I was sure he’d do something to mess up the relationship.  Then, when my boyfriend and I were just itching for a problem to break us up, I thought he’d be as good a one as any.  So long as it was just him, because I could go the rest of my life without seeing him.  I wouldn’t have to, because I could forgive him, too, but I had my options.
     Then he’s a perfect gentleman in that situation.  Of course, it wasn’t just him, or just Kevin, but all of them.  But he was actually nice to my boyfriend, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it stuck in my head, a little, that he was in love with me, and I still say I don’t believe it.
     It may have happened because they’re so alike, but what is cute and adorable with one is quietly insufferable with the other.  That works both ways; I don’t want you thinking that I’m in love with him, or that I can’t stand him.  He has a few more irritating qualities than my boyfriend, but he’s nice enough – some of the time.
     Maybe I should explain this relationship he and I have.  We’re friends, and you might not think there has to be a special explanation for that, but in this case there is.  When I was fifteen, I dated a good friend of his: Kevin.  Later, much later, Kevin told me they had a little contest to see which one would get to date me.  At the time I only had eyes for Kevin, but it could have easily been worked to put me with him.  He is a good manipulator.
     So Kevin and I were going out and he kept saying that Kevin and I would be through in July.  We started dating in November, and in January he keeps telling us both that I’m going to break Kevin’s heart in July.  Kevin has a car, and he doesn’t, so he tags along a lot just in order to get places.  That was fine, because when the time came, he always gave Kevin and me our privacy.  Then Kevin didn’t have a car and he did, so he gave us rides and still gave us privacy.
     That summer, Kevin and his buddy Corey went off to go work at a Boy Scout camp in Michigan.  Kevin left in May, and I didn’t see anyone out of the group Kevin hung out with for a while.  Then, it must have been just after the Fourth of July – because that’s important to the story here – he stops by my house around eleven at night.  He had a different Kevin with him.  I invite him in and say ‘hi’, and he says ‘hi’ back, and I ask him what’s going on.  He asks me what’s the story with me seeing a bunch of other guys since Kevin, my Kevin, went to Michigan.
     Now I figured someone told him what was going on; he was always pretty aware of what was going on when we were all in school, so I told him the truth.  Well, it was close to the truth anyway, as close as I thought I should tell.  I later found out that he had only heard someone we mutually hated had said something.  He was asking as a joke.  I could have gotten away with something if I had been thinking.
     So there I was, telling him and this other Kevin more than I thought I had to and more than I should have, and why?  To make matters worse, just after I tell him that I hooked up with this other guy downtown on the Fourth, my Kevin calls.  I’m on the phone with the guy I was dating, forced to tell him that I hadn’t exactly been faithful.  My Kevin was crushed.  Then the two of them spoke, my Kevin and him, and then he hung around for an hour or two trying to figure out some way to keep me and my Kevin together.
     I felt bad and all, but I was glad when he left, however he left it.  I had a date to go back to the beach the next day.  I never made it, and that was because of him.  Do you know what he did?  He drove two hundred some odd miles up to see my Kevin, at six in the morning.  Then he convinces my Kevin to come back with him so that I can be stopped from going to the beach.  They leave for Illinois, and they make the trip back in three hours and four Eagles songs...Lyin’ Eyes, Heartache Tonight, Already Gone, I Can’t Tell You Why.  I learned to hate the Eagles.
     Ten fifteen in the morning and my doorbell rings.  My date isn’t supposed to show up until eleven, so I don’t know who to expect.  I see him standing there.  ‘What are you doing here,’ I ask him, because he lives about an hour north of where I do, and that would mean he didn’t get much sleep.  I know he went home because he’s wearing different clothes, but they’re his clothes.  He asks me a question he had asked the night before, if my Kevin were still there, in town, would I still go out with those other guys and break up with my Kevin, or would I try to work things out.  I started to tell him that I didn’t know what I would do, which was pretty safe since my Kevin wasn’t in town.
     Then out steps my Kevin.  This son of a bitch brings my Kevin back and now I have to do something.  Actually, we broke up, and my Kevin and I are still friends, but there are odder things.  It wasn’t me or my Kevin who took the break-up the worst, but him.  But he never condemned me, and he has stayed close.  My Kevin says he’s in love with me, and that would be sweet, but I don’t think he is.  We’ve all seen him in love before.

     Was it love?  All he ever said was that he had a thing for her.  I think he was in love, and if I were free to expound upon what she told me, I’d say it was a mutual love.  She was dating Eddie at the time, and he and Eddie were friends, and she wanted Eddie to propose to her, so it wouldn’t have worked out anyway, but its probably the closest thing I’ve seen to storybook love.
     I really don’t know much else about him.  We went to school together for how many years?  Even a year of college, which is where everything happened.  He’s a bit of a mystery, though.  If you can’t get her to talk to you, I don’t know who could tell you more about him.

     There are those who will say I was jealous of her and was only using him because of it.  The jealousy would be over Eddie.  I’m sure he’s come up by now.  You can’t talk about him without Eddie, because Eddie and Myrna.  That is really not the story, but it’s the best you’ll get.
     Eddie is my friend, and so is the other guy we’re talking about.  Some think that I had a thing for Eddie, and at one time I did, but it didn’t last.  How could you sleep with someone you’ve known since you were eight?  So, Eddie went out with Myrna.  Good for both of them.  I had a boyfriend when I met him, and everyone knew him, and we were just acquaintances.  He wanted to be more, that much was obvious.  He hung around the yearbook office where I worked and bought candy for me, and made my boyfriend nervous.  He never imposed himself, though.
     He was after Myrna, if you believe the rumors.  Not that she did anything to discourage him, but Myrna went after Eddie.  He and Eddie were friends.  It was perfectly twisted.
     Maybe he did love Myrna.  He never talked about it, not with me.  That makes sense, because everyone knew that even of he was after her, he was interested in me.  I wouldn’t have had pity on him for loving her, even if that would have allowed me to have Eddie.
     He is just too dour, too down all the time, and you can never tell when he is serious or joking.  It was depressing, sort of.  He was like the guy you knew would always be there at your beck and call, only he would never get anywhere with the people who called him.

He hates women.  He loathes women.  I know it.

     The sad truth is that he hasn’t grown up any since high school.  He was mature, sort of, a lot more than he should have been but not enough to get along on his own.  My best friend had a thing for him and I for his friend, Scott.  So Scott slept with my best friend. 
     Then he made sure that Scott and I went out like I wanted.  He says that he did it to ruin Scott’s life.  I don’t know what it did for his own.

     It’s a shame that none of you would have said this to him.  It isn’t as though I am accusing you of speaking behind his back, but have any of you ever said anything to him about all of this...

     It is better left unsaid.

     But you’re not leaving the same things left unsaid.  I know very well that we women differ, but wouldn’t it have been more productive to air these issues with him?  To all of you, what has he been?  A friend?

A son.

     And he hates women, or so you say, but there are some here who accuse him of loving women.

     I know he loved Myrna.  I think he loves Erika.  He might even love me, but he would never let me or anyone else know it.  We almost dated, which is probably more than any of the others can say.  I have had soulful talks and meaningful walks with him, but I dare not say that I know him.  He enjoys being a mystery, but that isn’t all.
     He is good with the truth, so long as it isn’t direct, or if it is, it must be direct to someone else.  He only excels on the shadows, in the half-truths we all speak.  I have seen him pick up on the most minute of human behaviors, but do anything blatant, and direct it towards him, and watch him sit confused or unaware.
     He almost got me to sleep with him once, and I don’t think he even knew it.  Everything was so perfect, and I didn’t realize I was about to until after it had all passed.  He could have, but I don’t think it even occurred to him, and if it did, it was only because of my behavior.  He had something totally innocent in mind, and I would have slept with him anyway.

     He doesn’t love.  He thinks.  He thinks grand thoughts of love none of us can match.  Amongst ourselves we are different, but to him we are the same puzzle.  He is trying to solve the puzzle while leaving it in the box, sure that a clever mind is all that is necessary.  Maybe he’s right, but he will never find any joy in it.  He will never know when he is finished.

     Could you love him?

      How could you love someone who doesn’t want to be loved by those who will love him?

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