Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh, To Be 13 Again

Brenna and I decided tonight was a good night to act like middle school girls. Innocent and expecting, seeing a perfect world around you where nothing major could possibly go wrong, yet tied up in the ever changing minute goings on of your friends. Sitting on her bedroom floor surrounded by a rainbow of yarn, occasionally unconsciously humming along to the music of the current mood, each of us curled into a ball with only our ridiculous themed socks poking out, we made friendship bracelets in silence.

"I want a boy to write me a song like this."

A simple enough response. One word, one syllable even, to the ignorant bystander incapable of conveying any meaning other than "yes, I acknowledge that you just said something but I don't care to fully respond at this moment". What the ignorant bystander doesn't know, however, is that "ha" has an unfathomable amount of significance. "Ha" means "You already had a boy write you a song like this, you fool. In fact he wrote you two or three," and "Don't we all," and "Yeah, but that's not how the real world works," etc. The silence ensues, but we each know exactly what the other is thinking about. I bet if we tried we could even trace each other's trains of thought and only reorder one or two events in the sequence.

"He has a girlfriend now."
"Oh yeah? That's good."
"Did your stomach just twist?"
"No, why?"
"Not even a little?"
"I think everyone's does. You could hate him or have gotten married yourself but I think your stomach would still twist at least a tiny bit the first time you found out."

I had a hell of a time finishing my bracelet. I kept knotting things in the wrong place or the wrong order. Most of the time it was because I'd get distracted by the conversation and lose count. Sometimes I just plain old wasn't paying attention.

"You two need to go out one night, and get a little tipsy. Not drunk, just tipsy."
"How would that help things?"
"You'll psychologically think your judgment is more impaired than it really is. That way you can say what you really want and are normally terrified to do and justify it by the fact that you were drinking, even though you're fully aware the entire time."
"No! Then I'll just look like a fool!"
"No you won't. He's in love with you, too, so he'd do the same thing and react accordingly, blaming it all on alcohol consumption. It's a foolproof plan."
"From now on I'm not having more than a sip when I'm with him."
"Shut up. I'll personally lace your drink with cocaine so that one sip will do the trick. Plus, once you start dating I'll get to hang out with him more, and we can play hockey."

Brenna and I are basically the same people when it comes to relationships. In fact, it is a scientific fact that two out of every three boys that ever has a thing for me will have a thing for Brenna immediately after. Similarly, all but one of the remaining boys will have or has had a thing for my other best friend; and if this turns out to be the case with the remaining one, I simply demand a prize for calling it ahead of time. Bottom line: we're really REALLY good at staying in the "friend zone". Now don't get me wrong, 99% of the time this is where we want to be and it's the guy that is getting screwed over. It just proves troublesome for that 1% of the time when, after mustering up enough courage to convince ourselves to lower our walls just a smidgen, too much time has passed and the game is reversed. She's in that awkward, never-discussed situation right now, and I'm making it my personal highly hypocritical mission to knock some sense into those two. It should be a good time. On the bright side, we each have an entire gang of "friend zone" boys to stand behind us in any situation where a little extra intimidation is needed. I curse at the realization that I've tied the wrong kind of knot to secure my bracelet to my wrist - and have already cut the extra yarn. Silver glitter nail polish should do the trick in making sure nothing becomes too loose.

"What would you do if he came back?"
"What, for Round Whatever-Number-We're-On? Ha."
"But what if he did? What if he told you he realized what he's put you through and gave you a true apology? What if he was ready to finally settle down and be serious? What if he had truly changed?"
"....I don't know...."

That's a lie. I do know. At least I know what I should do. I think we've got a pretty black and white track-record to go off of. But where's the fun in that. As to what I would do? No idea. That's the problem with not hating people - you can't completely block them out of your life. (Unless they make a conscious effort to do so, in which case this scenario wouldn't even apply, but that's besides the point.) There is no connection whatsoever between my brain and my heart. Logical, big-picture, cerebral Joelle and spontaneous, no regrets, emotional Joelle are two completely different people inhabiting the same body. (An image from "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" just popped into my head.) I'm like a conscious marionette who's desperately trying to make one movement while the strings are pulling me in the other direction. The problem is, we know each other too well. With the knowledge of how to make someone so happy they glow or become so angry that they stomp out of the room throwing in a few good door slams for added effect, there's no doubt that within five minutes we could sway the other in a preferred direction if they didn't have their guard up. The problem is, we know exactly how things will turn out. Perfectly fine. They always turn out on a much better note than should humanly be expected. The problem is, we don't hate each other. Good thing this is only a hypothetical situation; one that I won't have to revisit for a very long time, if ever. Because honestly, I'm quite content where I'm at right now.

I chose earthy tones for the colors of my bracelet. The glitter nail polish accents them nicely. Halfway through I realize that they happen to be U of M colors. Maybe I should have stuck with that decision. Maroon goes better with my skin tone than red.

"I think I'm going to spend the summer volunteering at an orphanage instead of studying abroad."
"Why'd you change your mind?"
"Because I can."

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