“I don’t like my freckles. They make it too hard to memorize my face,” said the boy next to me in a lecture hall filled with obnoxious college students texting and snap chatting.
First thought, “I’ll memorize your freckles…”
Second thought (which only occasionally comes along to save the day before I speak), “Kira, you were far too intrigued by that sentence than you should have been. You know what happens when you over-think and your brain reaches a weird combination of poesy and cheekiness… Don’t. Say. A word!”
I listened to the second thought… Sort of. I think I either giggled or said something unmemorable or both.
I did however write his words down in my notes. That probably didn’t seem weird at all if he happened to see….
Now comes the part where I over-analyze a statement that was probably not intended to mean anything. Welcome to my mind. This is how it works. For the life of me, I can’t help it.
Here I am, next to a confident, practical guy. Former marine. Studious. Logical. Brown eyes, which is only relevant because… well, brown eyes.
Why would he say something as silly as, “I don’t like my freckles. They make it too hard to memorize my face.”?
I even inquired to clarify and he seemed entirely uninterested in memorizing his own face. Naturally it follows that what frustrates him is that someone else can’t memorize his face.
Why would that matter??
What relevance is there to someone knowing every aspect of another’s face? Every freckle!?
But it does matter. Maybe to Mr.Military next to me it only matters an off-handed sentence’s worth. Probably more. Either way it matters.
It matters to everyone. We all want to be known. We want to be recognized for exactly who we are. We want to be admired down to the freckle.
A cot shoved in the corner of a laundry room. Warm, at least the warmest place to be found that January. Yellow post-it notes with disjointed ponderings on the walls. No door.
Scene set for the bedroom(?) of one of my favorite people I’ve met along the way.
Never one to say everything he was thinking (or much at all of what he was thinking). Witty. Personable. Blue eyes, which is only relevant because… well, blue eyes.
Repeat standard: person says something I like… I write it down.
A few days later he saw what I had written, and unlike with Charmer McFreckle-Face on campus, it didn’t make me uncomfortable. After all I was a frequent peruser of his sticky notes. Thought for thought I suppose.
What surprised me was that he cared that his words were written there amongst all the other doodles and thoughts. Left to my own I would have assumed it didn’t mean much to him at all. I can think of few things in the world that are as unimportant as my tattered pocket-sized notebook. No one reads it except for me, and apparently strange boys who sleep on cots. But he told me it mattered…
The only reason I can gather as to why a scribble in my notebook would matter is that it was a scribble that made him feel noticed, appreciated… known. If only just for a single thought, known.
If I imagine a world where something about me were to show up on one of his sticky notes, then suddenly I understand.
Laundry room again. Different laundry room.
Boy again. Different boy.
He wants me because to him I am convenient. I am fun. If I never speak to him again it won’t bother him. I know this. And so I tell him nothing truly meaningful about myself. Only surface things. Only laughter from the throat and not from the belly.
He shows me his books and tells me about his hopes and ambitions.
He’s cute. I like him. Yet I do not want him to know my heart, my thoughts, things I write down in my little notebook when my mind gets too crowded to lock everything inside.
He will know me on a shallow level. A skin to skin and no deeper level. I will think that I am safe because he did not get to see my heart. I will be wrong.
To be unknown by those who are closest is lonely. It highlights an emptiness.
But my sense of self is too worn down to put in the effort. Too tired to place things in the selfless and careful order in which they ought to go.
I think of his sweetness. His perfectly nerdy descriptions of novels and engineering and reptiles. His hazel eyes which are only relevant because… well, I guess to me they are not relevant at all. So I let him slip away without a word, and I’ve put in far too little to care that he is gone.