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Thursday, February 24, 2011

cigarettes: the rings

Authors note: I should mention that this is a prequel, so consider it mentioned.

They were supposed to meet today and he felt nervous, the kind of nervous that guys feel when the phone is ringing and on the other end is that girl they really like. The kind of nervousness that is spelt unrequited. He hated this and so he lit a cigarette.

With it in his mouth he reached for the phone, he had called her already. 2 times in the last hour and he knew he shouldn’t call. It would look desperate but that was how he felt it gnawed at him from the inside and it was the reason he hit on so many girls that he felt nearly nothing for. All they had was beauty and he knew he could get that with no amount of effort put in but every once in a while he let himself believe that he wanted this.

Then he got it. That familiar thump in his chest, that stupid smile on his face and the sinking feeling that came with all that. He thought about all the insecurities. Am I calling too much or too little. Should I wait for her to call back, she said she would and I know what the right move is in these circumstances. Don’t call, act like you could care less. But the truth was it was itching him. Maybe she doesn’t have credit, maybe that’s why she isn’t calling. Even if she has credit maybe she just forgot so I should call her back. But if she forgot about coming to meet me then I can’t hope for a good outcome from the meeting. But the uncertainty, that’s what clawed him. He wasn’t sure whether or not and maybe if he was sure then it would be ok.

He took another drag on the cigarette. His mind went to what he would do if she didn’t show up, he knew that his mind would work him through this. The thing about having the kind of logical, rational mind that he had was that it would find a way for him to be all right. It would hurt, and he considered the pain and the possibility of it. He knew that it would bring him down in a way that things like this usually didn’t. But he really liked this girl and he had let himself because he thought she liked him too.

If she didn’t lie me why would she… and how come she… and why is she leaving me hanging in the balance like this. Doesn’t she understand that I’m waiting and what this waiting does to me. He wavered in between an emotionless response to the situation before him and the urge to just reach over and call. The food was getting cold at this point and he hadn’t the heart to get up and do something about that. He knew that he was taking his cigarette of wait as he called it. But he also knew that for her he could break a lot of rules.

And he couldn’t stand it any more so he reached for the phone and he got her number, shaking because.. Well he had thought about it way too much he put the earpiece to his ear and he pressed the call button.

And the phone rang and rang.

He usually knew if she was going to pick up by the first few rings and the fact that she hadn’t picked up yet was a sign that she wasn’t going to. But he let it ring on. The clutching of a straw by a dead man. Hope held him. Utterly useless hope he knew but hope nonetheless. Few feelings have that particular quality that comes with calling a girl you like and her not picking up and you suspecting somewhere in the corner of your jaded mind that it’s because the caller i.d says you. Every ring was like another piece of him coming apart. He hated liking her so much and every gong of the call brought him closer to despair.

And the phone rang and rang.

Until it finally stopped. He was more than halfway through his cigarette and he realized this was overt. He wasn’t sure who he was more angry at, her or himself but he needed to pick himself up so he picked up his phone again. He wouldn’t call her again. No. that he could stop himself from doing. At least right now. He would call her back in a while. In a few hours when the subject could not possibly be this date. And he knew that when he did call she would give him all these excuses and he would nod at them all. He wouldn’t believe her but he would act like he did. He knew this and he knew it wasn’t manly. It wasn’t the thing to do. But he would do it. He hated liking anyone this much, the kind of like that is spelt unrequited.

He took his phone in his hand and he called the other girl. A talent for self flagellation. This was a girl who was always angry at him for some reason or the other and he knew that he shouldn’t call to talk to her but he was feeling reckless. The phone rang again and she picked up. They had a checkered history him and this other girl.

And he wanted to tell her sorry for all those imagined slights, he wanted to tell her that he knew he shouldn’t have called but that he had to. He wanted to tell her that he was feeling heart cracked(he couldn’t consider this a break yet) and that the reason he called her was so she could finish the job. Take out his heart and shatter it to little pieces. He was feeling bad and that’s why he called her, he wanted to feel worse and she had a gift for bringing that out in him he wanted to tell her all these things. To have a conversation about something real.

He wanted to but he couldn’t. It was alien and forced and as soon as it started he wanted out. Her voice held nothing for him and by the time he was done with that call, he knew what he wanted he wanted the girl he was supposed to meet.

Then his phone rang and he made to pick it up. His heart thumped with expectation as he saw the name on the screen, he knew beyond a doubt he would marry this girl. He simply knew it. For a second he nearly didn’t pick up. He thought about the end, he thought about what the pursuit of a dalliance with her would do. If she could make him feel this way in 3 dates, what would happen if he fell in love with her and she betrayed him. For a second he could almost see the silence and ashes But that second was over and so was his cigarette so he picked up the phone.