Hey, I’m going to be downtown on Friday afternoon…do you wanna meet up for lunch or something and talk?
He responded pretty quickly, considering….
Yes, I think we should too. Friday it is.
Well at least he agrees that we should definitely see each other and talk about…us, or maybe just what happened. You know clear the air…then be friends…cause that’s all that’s left.
Friday was the next day. I was going to come face to face with Jon…and…I definitely wasn’t sad…I was too busy thinking about how we would discuss last night’s conversation; he would apologize for being so crude and I would comfort him, tell him there was no harm no foul, we would make great friends…I’d pick him up after he was broken.
I had no time to feel sad…at least not as sad as I did before; Jon was hurt and I needed be strong for both of us.
Ok time out from narration.
Would it be strange to say that I knew this was going to happen? Well, not the drunk call and stuff, but I knew that I would see Jon by Friday. That we would meet for lunch and that I may have even planned something to wear and had my hair done in time…I don’t know but I knew before the week started, that another cold weekend couldn’t go by without us speaking.
I’m here, under the scaffolding I texted.
I waited under the construction shelter to protect myself from the blaring heat of the sun. It was the typical dog days of August in New York City and it was too hot and steamy to wait underground. As I waited for him, my intestines began to move and form knots, one by one while each knot pulled tighter and tighter….
I suddenly remembered being back underground at the platform, waiting for Jon…to talk. It was a long time ago, we also hadn’t spoken in the days prior as well; only agreed to meet so we can talk…about us. About sex? Feelings? Control?
The knots turned into a shear shriek inside as it did before; waiting for Jon, I realized that I didn’t know what was going to happen to us next. I couldn’t even imagine his face anymore as I had spent the past several days trying to forget.
And there, in a sea of people, I spotted him. Like I always do. He’s always looking straight ahead as if walking to a destination and not actually wandering to meet someone. His face carried the same look as before, when I waited for him: sullen, eyes wandering but he never turned his head, lips sparsely open as if realizing that he had reached it.
Wait a minute….that day at the station did he think I wouldn’t show up?
I said loud, sharp, and cool. Maybe not as cool, but I casually stood and crossed over to him.
Ok, Sabine time to drop those balls.
“Hey…” I looked at him, and instinctively leaned in and embraced him. It was what he done for me and now I should for him…because we shouldn’t greet each other as strangers. We were more than that, and that’s what we needed to do when we see each other.
“Oh” he sighed out as he wrapped his arms embracing back. I guess he wasn’t expecting that?
We settled on some half-ass taco joint. Though I was very happy to see Jon, the knots in my stomach were long gone and had been replaced by shrieking fear. Do you know how that feels? I can only describe it as a waving sensation like when one is panicked or surprised, it waves from your stomach to your chest as if something or someone is shrieking inside of you.
“Oh I’m not hungry, thanks…just a water bottle.” I said.
We started with small talk…..his move to the new apartment, work,—
“Look, I didn’t know that you were upset ok, about what you said last night— do you remember?” I stumbled.
“What? No, I don’t remember a thing about last night, I was so drunk…” Jon said, as he continued eating what I only remember as a vile creation attempting to pass off as Mexican food.
My heart sank. How could he not remember? It’s not fair; he needed to take responsibility for it.
“Well, you said a lot of horrible of things about me not caring and blaming me…” I trailed off.
“Listen, Sabine.” Jon said with such authority, that I jerked up to find his eyes…the only part of him that made me feel comfort. But I only felt cold.
“I don’t know what was going through your mind when you asked me to see each other exclusively…yeah at the time I was heading there and I was thinking about it. But after the way you just went crazy on the phone and broke things off, I’m glad I didn’t make that mistake to be with you.”
He took a break from his meal to gulp down a drink and lean back in his chair confidently with his right arm stretched over the back of the empty chair next to him.
“In fact, I’m glad we broke things off, because this showed me your true self. I mean think about it Sabine, we had only known each other a few weeks!! You don’t know me well enough as a person to know that you like me [as a person].” He said. He had such conviction in his voice. But it was true, where were we all this time?
He’s right, from time that we met in front of the state building and had our first “date” at a bar not too far from here, to this moment, it had only been a month.
I’m confused; I didn’t come here for this. I thought we were going to talk about a very immature phone call and apologize for the things that were said, and maybe just shake on it. But instead the guilt is now overcome by a wave of shame as my shoulders slunk forward and my mind jumbled to form a sentence. My heart had sank so low at this point, that it seemed to carry my worthless self forward, where my face met the table.
How could I have let myself get carried away? I thought there was something, he had asked me…?
“We have nothing else in common except BDSM.” He ended. I looked up and still sitting there confidently, Jon had slipped his poker face. He had a slight smirk, not on his lips, but his eyes.
Is he enjoying this?
“So what!” I sat back, I needed answers! “What would you say we were, if you felt that we could head that way. We were just dating?” I demanded.
“No, Sabine. We weren’t dating, we just went on a few dates. And that’s it.” They were no longer smirking at me, they’re cold as ice.
For a moment, I thought I was looking at the face of another man. He did not possess the boyish good looks or charm that mesmerized me. As he shoved down his food, me still having no appetite, I realized what had changed. He is revealing himself to me, his truth. And it is ugly.His eyes in the light had pinholes for pupils, and I could not see myself in them. The brown marks on his teeth bothered me.
Jon repulsed me.
“I’m not interested in that Sabine”
I reached for his hand and umm…maybe a little too loudly with my eyes and lips, “Look, maybe we can go for another try…I’m not crazy, I can control myself, really…I thought there was something there…but I know now…I want to get to know you as a person, because I do like you.” I said, holding on tightly.
But I saw it in his face and I already knew what he was gonna say. He knew too, I saw him looked down as I held his hand. Surprised but happy, no satisfied.
“Oh…I don’t know” He said.
“Come on” I bit my lip and forced a smile, “like old times. Couldn’t we just..?”
He sighed. “You know you look really pretty in this skirt today, and I love your hair, let me touch it.”
No not like old times.
As we walked towards his building…we talked more.
“So we take it slow, just friends…” I asked. Isn’t that what we wanted?
“No, Sabine. I can’t do that.” He looked at me, a little gentler but still holding to his guns.
“But what you said, about knowing each other as a person…” I asked.
“Look, I’m not interested in that, we can still have sex but none of the other stuff”
“So you want a friend with benefits?” I asked, disgusted. “You really were just using me?”
“And if, hypothetically I said I was?” Jon asked.
“Then I would be mad.” I retorted.
“Look we can be friends, you can come over, but I’m not gonna want to hang out as much.” He said.
“So you want me out of your life? Never see each other again?” I asked. It really pained me to think that he could so easily rid me…but I guess since he never felt anything…
We now were negotiating back and forth the terms of this “friendship.”
“I just don’t see it that way, Sabine. I could have sex with someone I hated. I’m not saying I’ve done this, but I would pay for sex. Sex is a commodity.” He said.
“I’ll think about it, I’m not promising anything.” I answered.
Where the hell did my balls go?
“I’ll call you this weekend,” I continued.
“Ok, now my boss is going to kill me because I’ve been on a nearly two hour lunch break” He said.
“If I call, will you answer?” I asked, knowing the answer already.
“Yes, now woman I need to get back to work!” He replied. And hugged goodbye. I smiled.
I walked away feeling that something was accomplished, although nothing was solved. I walked and walked until I decided that there was nothing really for me to do downtown and made my way back to the station.
I tried not to think about what happened, I certainly do not want to get back with Jon, but he did not want to be friends. I now hated him and felt disgusted that he would violate such personal boundaries just to get —
“Excuse me, Miss?” An older gentleman stepped forward. “I’m very interested in your chest.”
Ch. 16 Frenemies
He probably knew what I was trying to do, but could see right through it. He hastily dropped the conversation. “I’ll see you on Monday.” He said and hung up.
I was trying to ignore this nagging voice, cover it up with my feelings. But this time the voice, the red flag was too loud to ignore.
Does he hate me?