experiment 39 : 20.

okay.  calm the fuck down.
let’s keep in mind i didn’t move to berkeley to blog.
so, check it.
i’m great at romance.  selective to a fault.  and it’s always the smart girls that get me.  in this case. 
the first time we met was chillin’ at stuart’s crib.  talking with the zoo crew on my roof, passing a joint around after the sun went down.  
i liked her then.  but she was there with another girl.  
and i didn’t want my friends to know.
zoo house (where i live, ‘ya know) – halloween party.
second time we met standing around sean and matthew’s kitchen downstairs.  there was another girl there.  asked me what my major was.  
“comparative literature.”
invariably leading to.
“what is that, exactly?”
invariably leading to.
“oh, jesus christ.  all that theory bullshit drives me crazy.”
“i’m scared of it.”
“i don’t get it.”
i digress.
so.  we’re talking theory in the kitchen.  and she says.  seriously, although i know she isn’t.
“you’re right.  it’s fucking bullshit.”
and then i chime in.
“complete bullshit.  waste of time.  absolutely.”
and then we catch each other’s eye, smile at each other, take nervous sips of our beers.
it was THAT way.
and it ended up being a very good night.
like i said.  
it’s always the smart girls.
we hung out a couple of times.
all the good stuff.
pings of poetry and literary things.
i had it bad.
and then as these things sometimes do.
it fell apart.
i just couldn’t figure it out.
the beautiful and thoughtful girl who once showed up for me devolved into a typical flaky young one.  yeah.  she was young.  so the fuck what?
playing games.  or seeming to.
we talked about it once.  
she said she handled things badly.
that over that past week she had come as close to hitting bottom as she’s ever been.
that sort of thing.
then playing games.  or seeming to.
showed up for me during finals, though.
this one day she randomly texted.  the one day i thought i’d lose it.  finals.  pressure.  
she drove me to trader joe’s.
picked out groceries and snacks.
she could be THAT girl.
she looked terrible, though.
i knew she was on a bender.
i could see it, though.
at least i thought i did.
another random text.
she’s hung over, wants a toke.
i’m done.
and i tell all this to sean.
“matthew’s even pulled away from her.  her partying’s gotten out of hand.”
and my heart sinks.
i knew that’s what it was.
because it is where i once was.
and i know i should just let it lie.
but i’ve learned the hard way more than once that life’s too short.
what it feels like to wish i would have said.
now i always try to say, at least.
so i did.
expressed my concern for her.  
met by a hollow gaze.  trying to convince me she’s okay when she clearly isn’t.
then relenting.
“i know what i look like and i know i’m abusing drugs.  but this is how i want to live my life right now.”
i try to convince her.  tell her that spark that made me so crazy for her is fading away.  how sad that is.  i bring up the possibility.  
she’s destroying her mind.
and that look again.
and that was it.
i’ve thought about her a lot these past few days.  and i’ve thought about me.
because i was once where she is now.  a little older, but not by much.
what was so painful about this thing with v. was not just the end of a romance.  
it was that i was able to feel what i know i caused others to feel when i was there.  
i’ve always felt guilty, to be sure.
but to actually FEEL it is an entirely different matter.
and then i cried.
for that.
for what i know.
for what i wish i could make her know.
out of sadness, yes.
out of gratitude, also.
the gift of a failed romance.

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