Bad at these things

I was sitting on the couch last night watching a movie which was just alright and my mind was drifting to the book I’m writing. I’m figuring out plot points and points of view. I’m thinking up little bits of dialogue and description and trying to assimilate it into a whole. This book has some psychological complexity and I have to work at it to get it straight, but that’s how I like it. Anyway, I’m picturing a particular scene and the reaction of one of the key characters. I’ve had to shift from the perspective of one character to the other to make it true and as it comes together I feel as if it’s honest and real and unexpectedly insightful. Okay then I think, I’ll have to write that tomorrow, and off to bed I go.

I sleep as normal until about 4am, when I emerge into a state of semi-consciousness. There are swirling fragments of thought and remote feeling in me. It’s like something stirred up in the dark of sleep slowly settles as I set my mind to it. Eventually, a picture emerges from it. At first, it’s just there, a matter of fact thing, before my wakening mind begins to pick up on it. I test it with my conscious mind, unsure as yet as to what I’m really seeing, but sensing it all the same.

Finally, it is there in me something true but hidden from me all this time. By now it is getting on towards 7am. I twist and turn. My eyes open just before 7 and I switch on the news before getting up to feed Rigby and make coffee. It’s cold and I turn on the heater, then back to bed.

I close my eyes again full of this thing trying to figure it all together. How have I not known this? I wonder. A part of me feels bitterly disappointed. I pride myself of being sensitive and observant and yet this passed me by altogether and might have forever on if not last night pondering on my book – for what I wrote in my mind I realised belatedly had parallels in my own life. What I could craft knowingly as a writer and with some psychological insight I was oblivious to as a man. Till now.

A few things happened with the girl during the week and some of them promising, before ultimately disappointing. Though she came closer than for a while she did not take up the invitation. It left me in my usual state and vowing to do as I usually do, frustrated still, and puzzled. I’m not puzzled anymore.

For weeks after it turned awkward between us she would continue to greet me brightly. We would pass in the passageway or come across each other in the kitchen and each time she would acknowledge me with a smile and mostly an encouraging word. At the best of times, I’m not really that sort of person, and these were the best of times. No matter how many times she did it I seemed always surprised, and my response to her gruff and belated. Naturally, over time, she stopped, until there came a time when we wouldn’t even pass in the passageway or meet in the kitchen.

How ridiculous it seems now. Ridiculous I could be that way, and even more ridiculous that I could not see what was so clearly before me. How could I have been so blind? Because I was self-absorbed. It’s no wonder that she’s tentative with me now, and I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t trust me – something I suspect.

As I became fully awake all of this was present and clear in my mind. I was mortified and overcome with a sense of guilt. The sense of missed opportunity was swamped by the realisation of what I had done to someone I liked and respected. For someone who prides himself on being trustworthy and reliable, someone who strives to be a better man, I had failed badly.

This realisation made sense of so much that has happened since. As I said, I doubt she trusts me completely. She likes me I’m sure. She enjoys my conversation, my mind, my wit, and at times she is happy to engage with that, but commitment is beyond her. That is trust to some degree, and perhaps disappointment. All this time I’ve been thinking meet me halfway and I understand now that she feels as if she tried and I wasn’t there. She won’t do that again.

I can’t say any of this to her. It’s too confronting and too easily shrugged off. In the situation, we’re in it’s an admission of vulnerability that would be foolish to make. It’s on me now though. Somehow I have to let her know how sorry I am, and must, somehow, re-build that lost trust. That might come with familiarity, but mostly it will take honesty with her when the time is right.

Like I said, I’m bad at these things, but want to make it right.

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