Sticks and Bones

The first part of a chronicle of a crush-turned-obsession. I'm sorry, Julie.

To experience this in natural reading order go to A Bright, Ironic Hell: The Straight Read .

Also, try Satellite Dance and Crystal Delusions--Parts 2 and 3, respectively--complete.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mantra, Mantra, Who's Got the Mantra? (6/9/09 Tuesday)

"No regrets." That should be my new mantra, I thought today as I unloaded the mail (alone!). Then I remembered the other ones--"just keep quiet, no room for doubt," when I was steeling myself to ask Julie out; "no scripts, no scenarios," as I prepared for the "date"; et al--and how flimsy they proved to be in the face of a lifetime of self-doubt, and I chuckled softly to myself. At least I able to laugh. I have evoked "no regrets" three times now, and it has each time buoyed my confidence. The second time came today when Mary Lou said, "Dion's got it under control." I said, "I'll have it under control until Julie gets here." The remark was met with a laugh, and by the time Julie got in for the second shift I had realized two things: Regret at not speaking my mind is a catalyst for my anger; and going "public" with my feelings for Julie dissipates my resentment while helping me find the humor in it all. Maybe I can't yet exactly celebrate being in love, but why should I resent it? (I have a feeling I won't be long in trying to answer that.) And as it's no secret, why should I hide it as if I were ashamed of it? If I talk about it openly--especially humorously--it shows a matured and mellowed attitude toward what had been a serious humiliation. Now, I'm not letting Julie in on this just yet; that is, I'm not going to crack wise about it with her around unless I'm speaking to her, and in that case she will be the entire audience. I don't know why I would give her that deference (I'm hearing Eno's "Julie with...."), except that perhaps I want her embarrassment all to myself. I believe that my remarks to her flatter her, if only to a small degree, and that I would cheapen them if I broadened their audience. But that could simply be hope talking, hope of gaining romantic ground. Also, the knowledge of her dislike of this kind of personal stuff in the workplace puts me at a respectful distance from going tabloid with it. I feel I need to regain some trust from her after my remarks of the past two Mondays. Julie and I didn't exchange so much as a glance, much less a word, in our four hours together until I left work: She packed mail as I packed my saddlebag and squeezed into the bike shoes. Already, I was hearing "no regrets," and as I approached the door I said, "Goodnight, Julie." Her back was to me--or, rather, her butt was; it was all I could see of her bent over a bin. She half rose and half turned and looked up at my smileless but open face. "Oh. Goodnight, Dion," she said, smiling, and her gaze fell to my legs and then back around to her work. I'd caught her by surprise--I'm a quiet walker, and I hadn't exactly addressed her face when I spoke--but there seemed, also, a wariness in her eye contact. I'm glad I didn't have a line prepared, because "no regrets" might have set back the cause. That would be the ironic end to that mantra.

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