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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pride Comes Before the Summer (6/8/09 Monday)

It seems the best I can do right now is sit crosslegged on the sofa, listen to the dying traffic and watch the light leak away. What I'm trying to do is reflect on the workday, but it's painful. I've had days like this, and one not so long ago, but I don't think the words about it were so hard to come by.

Monday is a full day with Julie, and this one was replete with her, if mostly in my head. When the courier mail came in, I was scheduled for holds and Julie for backup. I waited until Julie wheeled the transit items to the back to pack for the outgoing mail, then started unpacking the incoming in order to extract the holds. she usually takes quite a while and there was a lot to pack so I thought I could knock out the incoming before she got back. But the mail kept coming, and before long I could hear the empty cart rattling closer and closer. I paused with a handful of books to look at her. she looked at me but didn't say anything. I expected at least a "thanks for helping" or something and began right then to panic. I already knew I'd be unable to speak with any sense. When she finally spoke to me after putting the cart away, she said, "Are you sure you want to help?" My reply was just a sort of gurgle that she must have taken for a "huh?" because she repeated herself. "No, I don't really want to be this close to you," is what I needed to say, but what came out was, "Well, I'd like to get my holds." My heart was thudding out of my chest, and my skin was sizzling. I couldn't look at her, I couldn't speak, as we worked within a few feet of each other, sometimes out of the same bin. I was in an agony of desire and self-loathing. I wanted to scream and cry. I wanted to shake her and yell, "How can you be so goddamned casual about this! This is killing me! Stop mocking me! Stop acting like nothing is going on!" But I emptied bins and filled carts, sweating and trembling and feeling more the inept fool than I ever have. The stack of empty bins towered over me on the handtruck as I tipped it back. Would I get a "thank you" then? No. Julie turned her back to empty the bookdrop.

It was lunchtime when I finished sorting the mail bins in the back. Julie was filling the electric teapot when I entered the break room. I put my stuff at my usual seat and passed her at the sink to get a spoon from the drawer. I stared at that spoon as I sat heavily, then I said, "Don't let me do that again." "What?" "Don't let me do that again--help you with the mail. Too close." She chuckled lightly and said, "Well, you volunteered. So, thanks." It didn't sound like gratitude but indulgence. I couldn't eat for half an hour, then slowly choked down each bit of my pbj. My heart still raced, and the hands covering my face still trembled. I was little better the rest of the day--worse, for not having anyone to talk to about it.

Julie might think by now that I have nothing to say to her that doesn't remind her of how I feel about her, and she's just about right. The more she pretends otherwise, the more I have to remind her. She has got to at least laugh with me about this. It is not all up to me--and don't dare ask me why! because I don't know. Halfway is as far as I can go with her, and she's not covering the rest of the way because she doesn't give a damn. Yeah, yeah--she doesn't have to do anything--I'm tired of excusing her, rightly or wrongly. And, yeah, I shouldn't speculate on her feelings either, but I wouldn't bet against my judgment. If I'm being hard on Julie, let her tell me. I'm being hard on myself, and that's all. Its' the kind of talk that the ignorant thought was harmful to Julie six months ago. I told Chris then that I didn't hate him for blowing my cover, but I'm not sure I didn't lie. I at least hate myself for feeling that I might have. I haven't done the magnanimous, noble, christian thing and forgiven him, but the only reason I think I should have is that it is the magnanimous, noble, christian thing to do--turn the other cheek. Pride is destroying me. It sure gives me enough to write about, though, doesn't it?

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