New York City — The Recent Past
There’s that “something” in the look she is giving you, something in her gaze which tells you that she thinks you’re interesting. You pretend not to notice it, of course, try to maintain your “cool detachment” but you aren’t sure why you’re doing it. You don’t really like to talk about yourself too much but she asked about your writing and writing is, at least to you, essentially the “core” of who you are. How could you not talk about it?
“What do you write? Would I know anything?”
You know she doesn’t know a damn thing you wrote. You know she never bothered to read anything you put to paper but she still wants to know anyway. You also know once you tell her about it she’s still not going to read anything. So you feel uncomfortable, wonder why you’re even going to bother talking about it. You know you may as well be talking to your espresso cup or the table you’re both sitting at.
You do it anyway, more out of politeness than anything else, and you watch that curious gaze begin to glaze over, watch her thoughts drift away, perhaps towards what she has to take care of when she gets home or whether or not she remembered to feed the cat. You feel like an idiot, talking about your work with the passion you have for it yet you know only every other word is actually registering. In your mind you know that everything you’ve ever written is a piece of you in some way, a sliver of who you are left behind, naked, exposed, for the whole world to see. Yet the words coming out of your mouth disappear into the ether, disintegrate before they even reach her ears.
You gradually change the subject, start talking about more universal things — movies, music, other life matters, anything at all other than the one thing you’re most passionate about. You wonder what it is about you that she’s even interested in if the most important part of you is of no consequence to her. You dole yourself out piecemeal, in shards, confetti, and you know she has her own agenda, her own reasons for sitting in front of you. Meanwhile you listen to every word she says, absorb everything about her she’s willing to give you. Her pieces. Her shards.
Overall you have a nice time. She’s warm, interesting, intelligent, but you go home knowing that half of what you said fell on deaf ears, knowing that she couldn’t care less about the one thing you’re most passionate about. You know you can write about it and that she will never read it to know how you feel about it. There is no risk, no chance of offense or even the possibility of touching her in some way. She went home with only pieces of you. She tucks them away, goes to bed, maneuvers them, strategically places them in a way that will benefit her and her alone.
You go to bed alone and will wake up alone, the pieces you left behind scattering in the wind.