Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rules of Engagement

I felt a single most ecstatic burst of happiness a few days ago. It was while i watched a bunch of strangers - boys, girls, men and kids - throw their arms up in the air and dance to a song. I forget what song it was, i forget the singer - all i remember is that feeling of unadulterated happiness seeing all those people moving together to one common beat, smiling, laughing, moving their bodies, joyful. A simple beat, a simple song, and everyone relates to it in the most primal way. Fabulous.

Not like real life when there is no single beat, no single lyric, no one song. In the cacophony of verbal and non-verbal noise, i'm lost about what the next step should be.

Recently, i met Mark and we had a normal conversation about movies, music, friends and stuff while we sipped on wine and he rubbed my shoulders. It's taken a long many months of coffee breaks, dinners, sporadic dancing evenings out, etc - for us to get to this stage, but before i knew it, he was kissing (!!!) my shoulders and then i was astride him with my tongue down his throat. All very pulse-racingly exciting. But in my head i had a thousand questions firing off - what's going on? Does he like me? Or is this some strange validation thing? Or is this a 'casual' thing, as he said? Will it be casual for me? Do i want him? Or is my desire a function of not being able to have him? Or gratitude that he's in my life again?

So ofcourse, with all these questions going off like firecrackers, i'm obviously distracted, which reflects in my ardor. So things end off there, i go home, hugging myself in bed, awake till 5 o clock the next morning going nowhere in my head. And since then, nothing. No reference to the evening or the moment. We're back to being... friends.

I'm confused. I wish there was a a list of rules - of engagement - when it comes to the two sexes dancing the mating dance. And it's not just Mark. Looking over my recent interactions with Boys, i get a feeling something is out of whack.

First there's Mocha. After a break-up that wasn't really a break up but more a 'let's take a break' situation, we're back to using a plethora of 'baby', 'sweety' and 'darling' terminology. Which by itself doesn't mean anything i know, and considering we've each been through a serious relationship after that (which didn't work out), lots of water has flown under the bridge. So we're friends. Who adore each other. And I know it doesn't really mean anything that just because he called me out of the blue, i flew across to see him and spend one day with him. I know it doesn't mean anything that as we slept, he curled up around me and held me like he wasn't going to let go. I know all that... and yet, i can't help but wonder about the exact nature of the 'friendship.'

Then there's Jackie. Who went a little nuts on me after meeting me twice, and having two aborted conversations on the phone. He wrote well. Had deep profound insights on life and love. Didn't make me laugh much, but then the night was still young. Then, there was silence for a month. Nothing. Not even an email. Suddenly, one day around the time when i'd kind of written him off, he called to say he was getting married but he would call it all off if only I would give him one indication of my feelings. That was scary.

And finally ofcourse there's Mark.

So I tried formatting a few of these rules, but do feel free to add.

1) If you like someone, just tell them that. Let there be no secret about it. This is not a treasure hunt. Life's gonna be plenty interesting without this added tidbit of "what the fuck is going on!?!"

2) If you don't like them, don't kiss them. If you do kiss them, then let it mean that you DO like them. No casual kissing.

3) But if you don't "like them like them" (is it even allowed to say that once you get out of junior school?), then make it clear. Say, "I enjoyed kissing you (or not). But i don't really 'like you like you' (there's that ridiculous term again). So next time you see me, don't assume that i like you. Or fret about it." Make it clear immediately after kissing exercise. Or before. Or during. But make it clear.

4) If you don't make it clear that same time, then it means you DO like them like them (Fine! YOU find another term). Refer to rule 1.

5) None of the rules apply if I am the KISSER. Instead, please refer to Ostrich Rule below.

Ostrich Rule:

Look elsewhere. Look busy. Look uninterested. Laugh everything off, so you can pretend that you don't take anything seriously. All the while, hope nobody asks you to make difficult choices. So that if things go to hell in a teacup, you can't blame yourself. Nobody else can either. After all, you weren't even paying attention.

But please, someone make a decision!

PS: That means you.

Trust Me.

Two simple words. So easy to say. So hard to do.

He's my friend. Or rather he has become my friend over the last few months of hanging out, drinking and laughs. More importantly, he looks out for me. He makes me feel like i belong to something, no matter how tenuously. He makes me feel warm. He's like my brother and an ogre rolled into one. Which makes him fun. It's surprising, considering one of the first times i met him some many lifetimes ago, he came on to me in an unattractive manner. We don't ever talk about that, thank heavens.

But several years, and many waters under the bridge after that, we're laughing. And that's good. But we've rediscovered each other at a point in time when i'm extremely careful about whom i let into my world. I talk and laugh and let anyone believe that they're my friend. That part's easy. But when it comes to really being a part of my life and my affection, it's like pulling teeth out of my mouth. With pliers. I don't like it but that's how it is and it's tough. Not because i want to provide the challenge but because that's the only way i know how to protect myself.

And he speaks of trust. With the caveat - "don't tell me stuff after i'm 2 drinks down." Which pretty much is anytime i meet him. I've been burned once by him, even though we don't agree about whose fault it was. My position is, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter whose fault it was because I got burned, not him. I wonder if Trust works within a narrow boundary like that. I, who can barely count my own drinks when i get down to it, will i be able to censor myself based on someone else's inebriation? And more importantly, is that trust or just a window of providing information?

The other problem - if trust has been given and shattered thoughtlessly, forgiveness is hard to come by.

Unfortunately in my case there are no 'stages' when it comes to friendship and trust. Either I'm in or out. There are no grey areas, no cusps, no transition periods, nothing. It's a leap of faith. Call me lazy but I don't feel like leaping only to land on hard, jagged-edged rock. Done that so often it's almost boring.

To trust or not to trust, that is the question. Always.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fearing Loss

A funeral. A man eulogising a stranger. The stranger's family sitting with head bowed, tears streaming down their faces. My friend among them. I don't believe in God, reincarnation or any of the other palliatives that one takes to survive the crushing blow of such loss. All i see is my friend sitting there crying renewed tears with every anecdote told about her father.

I wonder if i'll be there when my parents need me to hold their hand. Or will i typically run away, choosing to block out reality, hoping the calvinesque move will restore things to how they were. I will miss my mother's laugh even though she can drive me insane somedays. My father... I worry that all my unresolved things with him will remain so. Mostly because a resolution requires an acceptance of the problem. He doesn't believe there is any problem. I hope my brother is somewhere nearby as we can always laugh, even at the macabre.

I wonder if anyone will grieve for me. More importantly, I wonder if there will be anyone whose hand i shall hold as i breathe my last, tell them i love them and know that it made a difference to them knowing that.

Or shall i be alone, contemplating the loss of a life i never had? Does any of this matter when we are dead?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Don't they look cute together?"

How many times have i heard that question? And how many more times have i dismissed it with a look of disbelief that says, "How shallow! Two people in love are two people in love." And here i am today, eating my words.

I opened an old deserted folder on my laptop called "xyz". It's a folder which has old photographs and various pieces of literature linked to my last relationship. I haven't junked it yet. Don't know why. Probably because i expected a day like today, when i'll be intrigued about its contents, and double-click on it, as a dare.

Call me stupid. No really, i mean it. Say it aloud. "You are stupid." Said it? Thank you.

I think i'll blame my mother for this. And Simon. Simon who went and had a drink with him last night, and my mom, because she asked me today, "You are over him, right?" Otherwise i haven't thought of him in months.

The thing is, the girl in those pictures, she looks a bit like me, but not really. And that's what i'm having such a hard time comprehending. It's like i have blocked out such a large part of my memory when it comes to that relationship, that i can barely recognise myself in those pictures. In fact, when i look at them, i swear i can almost make out the haze that forms in front of my eyes.

I was plumper then. Longer hair. He was bald. Still is. Fair complexioned. Dark circles around his eyes. Nice smile. And the two of us look like we so weren't made for each other (lol!).. Seriously.

And i took so long to get over it. Sheeesh! What a waste.

(PS: Incidentally, That's why you called me stupid... the amount of time i took to get to this stage.)