Do you ever feel like everyone feels emotions with a large coat on, and you’re out there feeling every wind, every chill, every ice, every flurry, and snowflake completely bare in the nude? And it seems like everyone is staring at you, inquisitively, as if to say, why are you screaming about the cold, and you’re like, “CAN YOU ALL NOT SEE THAT I DO NOT HAVE A COAT ON!? I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO PROTECT ME!”
Yeah.That is what feeling feelings is like for me.
It was Friday morning; my breathing was heavy as if an entire elephant had sat on top of my chest. I kept going over the various flashes of memories from that night six days ago. My worst fears had me seized to my bed. So there I was, laying on my bed waiting, for him to respond, I had given him a week. Well, one day less than a week, but let’s round up because it was basically a week, right? Wasn’t one day less than a week enough time to process hooking up with your best friend? I’ll be honest I went through all kinds of emotions that week, and I had had enough emotions on my own, I needed his help, I needed some reassurance, I needed some light because I was at the end of my tunnel.
The first day after our impromptu drunken rendezvous, I couldn’t stop smiling, and that’s embarrassing to admit now, but it’s true. My surmises of what had happened between us were delusional, but I was happy. We hadn’t spoken since he hurriedly left the next morning, but I assumed it would work itself out into a fairytale. My two friends had recently begun dating, and they started the same way. They were best of friends for nearly six months, one thing led to another, and before I could blink they were in love. It was all very startling to watch, and I envied how easily they fell into something so enchanting. I’ll tell you for those first two days I wondered, maybe this was it— maybe this was the beginning of my own love story. It didn’t matter that the pair of us were never good at honest conversations sober, that he hadn’t had a meaningful relationship before, and honestly neither had I all didn’t matter because I was idealistic. I couldn’t stop dreaming up my very own love story that would play out like a modern day Jane Austen novel, and this was the big drama before my entrance to happily-ever-after.
Day three came and went hearing nothing from him, and I began to worry. What if he regretted it? I mean, it was definitely not the best physical exchange, in fact, it was kind of, no, really sloppy, and the only thing that made it special was that it was us together, touching, and naked. It was a heavy and loud night– not sexually, okay maybe a little sexually because I am loud, but emotionally. I have had sexier nights, and I’m sure he has, no I know, he had and has since. However, the friendship feelings we had for one another along with the confusion right at the edge of each of our throats, it kept us in this consumptive closeness that night, which was more provocative than any kind of carefree sexcapade I had ever had before that night. During the heat of everything, in spite of knowing all that we knew about one another, we still seemed to both want to be with one another. Perhaps it was just a night of us living out our carnal nature, but for me, it felt more than just two bodies slamming into one another, it felt immensely intimate, and I hadn’t ever felt like that before with anyone. I don’t know this for sure, but whatever his perception of that night was, I doubt he had experienced anything like that night either. His friendship was particularly important to me; he had become a safe bank to place all of my emotion coins. I could never own up to myself or anyone how much I had always felt feelings that were never platonic for him. He was too uncontrollable and scary for me to want to accept that I wanted to connect to him both emotionally and sexually, but as a friend, there was a special space he kept for me in the midst of his silly antics and sexual endeavors, and that made me feel special. So to be suddenly pitted into the throngs of the many other women he sized up, objectified, and left behind without a thought would be both vulnerable and hurtful. I wasn’t one of THOSE girls. I was his confidant and affectionately adored friend, and suddenly because of getting caught up in liquor and fanciful whims, I realized day three, that maybe that had all changed.
Day four was the worst of the week. He still hadn’t messaged me anything. I couldn’t teach an entire class session all day, and by the end of the day– my students with their broken English had named me, “crying teacher.” In all my time in Korea, I had never felt so alone; my two friends were far off into their new found love land, my other friends had moved out of the country, and my old friends back at home were safely lost in their own routines. He was my person that I’d go to about all of this, and yet I couldn’t because I was losing my shit over him. The sad thoughts were increasingly stacked against my mind, and I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle before I broke.
On day five the voices of my students and coworkers sounded like warbled voices you only hear when underwater. I was fixated on the fact that my new reality could be flung from my most prized friendship. I couldn’t even pause to think, this guy had become my ‘best friend” only a short eleven months ago, because all of my emotions kept me from rationalizing through the situation. Girls can be crazy with their emotions, but when I am in the midst of big feelings it looks and feels a lot like psychosis. It is rather humiliating now, to recollect those thoughts that were once so enormous. The most monstrous thought I had been fixated on was, if this friendship were to end, I’d be nothing. I wanted to stop breathing forever! You know, the sex just exposed my insane level of neediness for him, but at the time it simply felt like yet another closed door to a loving happily ever after, that I couldn’t seem to manipulate myself into.
On day six his silence was settling in on me. The skies were blue, and it was haunting how cheerfully the clouds loomed brightly white and the sun shone affectionately. I knew that I couldn’t go another day trapped inside my head. I took my bicycle and rode, and when I was far enough out of ear shot from anyone to judge or question my sanity, I began to scream. I screamed loud and long, as I pedaled, and I didn’t stop for what seemed like miles. I screamed, I sobbed, I threw my bicycle down, wailed in lamentation, I fell into the grass and cried with my whole body in a fit, and then I grievously howled some more. That day was the closest I’d come to a prayer in three years. It wasn’t a cathartic scream or cry either, it was the kind that felt bottomless, like the kind of scream where my voice would betray me before my screams were finished flowing out. There was a patch where I yelled ‘why’ over and over. There was a patch where I shrieked, “Fuck you!” I started singing that over and over with some made up melody in my broken, harmony-less voice. And then I screamed again. I picked up my bicycle, rode back home, noiseless sweltering tears streamed down my cheeks as I rode. I went back into my apartment, swiftly grabbed my phone as I sat down, and drafted and re-drafted several messages to him, and settled with,
“Hey, how’s your week been?”
I climbed into my bed, pulled the covers over my head, and waited for his response.