It was nice. Sitting there. I made sure we picked the spot that didn’t have patches of mud around them, the evening dew on the grass was slowly seeping into my jeans. Nothing like a mildly cold arse to make you regret deciding to sit on the Hoe. In Plymouth, not a person. Who would sit on a- never mind, don’t want to go there.
I sneaked my hands into the sleeves of my jacket and closed the openings to prevent them getting any colder. My cheeks felt lightly bitten and the wind brushing against us only aggravated this sensation. I stretched my legs out and crossed them, If I tried to sit cross legged them my jacket would rise up like the tide and curl into a wedge of material up my stomach. Attractive. My jacket could stop traffic; it was a fluorescent blue like the water in front of us when it’s a clear day. He stretched out his legs too, the weight of his torso was anchored up by his arms behind him. He just stared forward. He sat next to me. We were close.
‘Thanks for inviting me again to join you’. He turned to my direction but I didn’t want to turn and look at him, his stare was so intense it could make my ear radiate with a flushing heat of embarrassment. I have no reason to feel like that.
‘No problem, it’s just nice to get out’. I didn’t do anything. But then again I haven’t really done anything. To ask. For all I knew he wanted something, or not the case at all. My emotions and vulnerability were locked in a concrete cell. I could hammer it down anytime but the cracks were becoming bigger and bigger, I was tempted to just seal up the cracks again. I wanted to leave them as unexplored and dormant as Jumanji. At least that was what I thought, because this could really mean nothing at the end of the day.
I have spent so long questioning myself and his actions that I was only torturing myself. My romantic emotions had become Pandora’s box. It was my decision to pry it open but the two optional fates seemed just as terrifying. The moment I was patient for so long to have of my own, or nothing. The curse in the box was that very often I guess it’s nothing and it turns out I’m right. Sometimes it’s not fun being right all the time.
I didn’t know what to do. The calm ocean had flickering moments of chaos when it collided with the earth. I wonder what it is like to have flickering moments of chaos. Or even a small break from equilibrium. We all like those so when crashed into, we don’t know what to do afterwards. Does the sea ever know when it crashes what to do afterwards?
This was the only chance I could really get, but my small and meek words disappeared when I began overthinking this, it was too late to rehearse anything in my head. I don’t know if it was my tongue-tidied thoughts leading me or some stupid sense of suspicion to find out the truth. But I did it anyway. I leaned my head on his shoulder.
He froze. I could feel his entire body and his breath petrify. I did not expect what happened next.
‘NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO’. He recoiled away from my head, his eyes widened and his glasses steamed briefly out of expiration. Probably shock. I flung back myself from such a reaction. I opened the box. I was right.
‘Ummm…’. I wanted to give an explanation but I was thinking of the multiple responses from him:
What the hell is wrong with you?
I have a girlfriend.
I’m not attracted to you.
Did you really think I would be interested in you?
The actual words weren’t as triggering and he wasn’t horrid, but just as painful and soon his words became ugly and repelling. It was unlike him.
‘What are you doing?’ He jumped from his spot and towered above me whilst I crawled myself up to his level.
‘Everything was fine and now you had to ruin it. What did you think would happen? Why do girls always assume that we are interested in them like that? God!’ I didn’t know what to say to this, even hearing it from a person a liked as a friend and as a possible other for quite a while seemed out of character from him. And I had to ruin our friendship. I wasn’t sorry but I knew things have crashed and wouldn’t be the same.
‘Look, I’m sorry, it was just a lean. If you feel this strongly then forget about it’. I didn’t want to look at him again from either embarrassment that was more appropriate to this situation, or a mild bubbling of anger. He paced in short bursts on the pavement off the grass, leaving tracks of his shoes from the mud he squelched out from his abrupt move.
‘What did you think was going to happen? Did you plan this the whole time?’ I had no words. They have completely gone. I tried to must a sense of logic out of me and shut the box again.
‘I don’t know. Wanna head back?’ He took of his glasses, grabbed a handful of his shirt and wiped them clean. He perched the glasses back on the bridge of his nose and pushed them closer with his index finger. He then interlocked his fingers, swept his palms above his head and sighed heavily as if the situation made his breathing buckle out of confusion and angst. That was how I was feeling.
‘Why did you have to complicate things?’