You Are An Object:
A place to treat bros like girls.
The Greeks used to do the same thing, only in caves and with sculptures and stuff--there's books about it. It's like a whole thing or whatever. I Googled it.
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Strange: A Novel - E-Book Version
Gordon stops you from pulling open the sliding door. Your brain focuses on the shouted conversations in the other room, and the indie music turned just loud enough to shout over.
“Hey,” he says, Gordon. The tone is such that you are required to say ‘hey’ back, not such that you are supposed to shut up and listen to something he has to say. You go, “Hey.”
“Can I ask you a question that…I guess it might make me seem weird? Or that, like, might ‘be’ weird. I don’t know if there’s a difference…or if one being true makes the other true.” You snort—it’s meant to have the same affect as smiling politely—and you do a thing where your eyes rapidly dart in slightly different directions, the focus of each movement a different part of the body occupying the space before you. You go, “Sure.”
He goes, “It feels kinda like you’re avoiding me.” You do an actual polite-smile, but you’re fairly certain it’s drenched in a noticeable anxiety, because everything running through your veins right now is having a nerve-wracking affect on your internal world—it feels like when grade-school kids dump a bunch of paint together to make the color brown—your body’s just dumping any emotion it has until it finds the way you’re supposed to feel right now. You hate that this might be something that this person knows is happening to you right now. You go, “No, I’m just…I gotta get up early, so…therefore the leaving early…”
There’s a thing people like you do, where they think saying any old words will be sufficiently adequate, no matter what question they were asked, or how important it is that they tell the truth. ‘People like you’ means people who know they won’t be called out when they are being half-assed—people see that you are doing it, but don’t say anything, maybe assuming you are doing it for a good reason. Sometimes nothing is more important than getting things back to normal, and not talking about it is a good way to do that. It’s important to surround oneself with people who are willing to play along. He nods, “Okay, well… I’m glad you came, so.” You make as if you’re going towards the door again, but he doesn’t let go of it. Through your peripherals, you can see some randoms standing on the street outside. This causes your anxiety to surge further, just being aware that these people know where you are, even if they don’t know who you are. You go, “Look—” and he moves in to kiss you, and for the split-second that you allow it, the logic is that you need to be comforted, and maybe this will do it, but for every moment that follows, starting with you pushing him away (his hand still on the door), the logic is that this will make things worse. This kissing becoming a habit. It will make every thing worse, every little thing. You can’t let him get used to this, no matter the cost.
You go, “Fucking…stop, okay? Stop. I have a girlfriend, Gordon. Jesus.” He had been looking at you like you were an exciting natural wonder just a moment ago, now he’s looking at you the way he looks at everyone else: like, why are you even here? He says, “You didn’t last week?” He says it like you’re supposed to hit him for it, which, you don’t know why he says it like that. I guess people used to getting hit just assume everyone’s gonna do it. You go, “Whatever, dude.” He goes, “Look, just…when you leave here, can you just do me a favor?” You sigh. “What?” You feel like you suddenly have grounds to be belligerent, even though you started this whole mess. Anxiety and rage can feel awfully similar at night, with alcohol in your veins. He says, “Can you just…not be one of those people, who like, assumes that…being desirable makes them more human than the people who…who’re drawn to them, or…whatever, just the people who might find themselves thinking they need them.” You lean your weight on your other foot and tilt your head back, and you go, “Gordon, what the fuck are you talking about?” You say this instead of leaving. He says, “I honestly don’t know, but that’s really all I wanted to say. It’s okay if we were never friends, and it’s okay if you have to leave here and tell yourself that I’m…I dunno, forcing…like, that I created something you never wanted just by existing…or forced an idea on you, or tried to…” He sighs and shakes his head, takes his hand off the door. You go, “Tried to what? Say what you mean…” He shrugs. “I dunno. Tried to… I dunno.” You sigh now. You say, “Stop being an asshole. C’mere.” You put your arms around him, and he does the same, only half-assed. He feels disinvited from your life, like perhaps any further kindness on your behalf is simply a formality, a way to keep him sedate, so that he will not cause you more trouble than he may already have. You’re thinking, true or not, a person can make a series of decisions that say all anyone needs to know, whether it’s really what you were trying to say or not. Sometimes it boils down to this: will you be there or not? No amount of consoling will make ‘no’ something that doesn’t burn going down. You’re thinking this is maybe no one’s fault. People have expectations that one thing will always lead to another, but sometimes it’s just that one thing, and dealing with it is your problem, not the world’s. Or, maybe your knowing that it’s a problem with the world is your problem… It’s affecting you, so you have to deal with it. You figure there are people who have what it takes to make the problems of others their own, but you are smart enough to know you are not that person. You could grow into him, but he is not standing in front of this glass door tonight. When you pull away, he says, “I’m sorry I…let us. Ya know?” You pat his arm. “No, I was being wasted, and a coward, and I knew you would… Gordon, I’m…” you lower your voice, say, “I’m not…gay, okay? We can’t…we can’t.” He looks down at your Chuck Taylors and nods and goes, “Well, that’s good to know, I guess.” Something he told you his mother does, that he vowed to himself to never do, was make statements designed to make people feel bad about themselves when they reflected upon them later. But he just did that. It’s a thing people do to avoid feeling the full force of whatever’s going on in their head.
What’s so bad about crying that people will burn down everything around them just to avoid having to do it? Then they’ll fucking cry after the fire’s been set! Just fucking get it over with while you have the chance to salvage some bit of the thing you’re trying not to lose; it’s not quantum physics. It’s rather simple.
He takes a step back and put his hands in his pockets, and since his vision is blurry now, because of tears, he keeps his eyes pointed downward. In your presence, this will probably just have to be the way. Never mind that looking at you kept him alive up until a minute ago; sometimes people just have to live with being dead kinda. He goes, “I should go back to everybody else. They’re probably worried I, like, fell in the toilet or something. That’s like a thing that’s going around, I think. That I do that.” You snort. This snort is mostly real amusement, and expressed outside of just internal acknowledgement of being amused in order to make him feel better, because seeing you happy used to do that to him, used to let him know that there was enough happiness to go around, but you’re pretty sure that’s over now.