March 17: 39 days
Well, I’d say it’s good to be back, but it isn’t. The last week has been a blur; feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. Cruises, they get to you. Spring break, now that really gets to you. What was I doing? Leaving? It feels like we only just boarded the ship. You know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun; or at least while you’re on a boat…. We were traveling so slowly over the ocean, and yet it just evaporated. Or maybe it just seems that way? I’ve certainly been moving much slower as of late. What was her name again? She went to Something Something State; that’s all I’ve got. Oh well, I’m sure it doesn’t matter; she’s relatively unimportant and light years away by now…
“Please, stop drinking so much water. If I have to pull over at one more rest stop I’m literally going to kill you!”
I hate when he does this. Seriously, an eleven hour drive and he decides it’s a good idea to bring along a half gallon. As if this trip wasn’t taking long enough already. In fairness, I know he’s about as hydrated as someone crossing the Mojave. But still, it’s wearing on my patience.
Five hours left to go; can’t believe they’re making me listen to Mr. Brightside for the third God damn time. You know what side isn’t so bright? Being stuck in a car with you morons. We’ve been on the road since 9 A.M, off the ship at 8 A.M., up since 7 A.M. I haven’t been up at 7 A.M. since high school. The last four years have been good to me. Clearly.
This trip is taking forever. Certainly we’re moving a lot faster than we were on the cruise ship. And yet, why does it feel like time is moving so much slower? A week on a ship with my best friends was a lot quicker than 5 minutes in this stupid car with these assholes.
Ugh, I have so much work to do when I get back. Not to mention my physics professor wants me to write a “creative short story” for her class. Thanks Professor, truly a wonderful idea. Let’s take someone who hasn’t written creatively since he was in 3rd grade and make him write, how long was it, 5,000 words? Apparently the word “short” is also relative. At least I’ve got a great idea for what I’m going to write, oh wait I don’t. Hopefully something will come to me, if not, maybe I can just bargain with her.
“You see Professor, even though I didn’t do my paper in this state of the world, in infinitely many other possible states of the world I did in fact do the paper and I got an A. Therefore, you should give me my average cross-world score, how’s about an A-? B? Fine I’ll take it.”
If only it were that easy, but no. Graduation is only two months away and I’ve got to get this thing finished by April, 25th. Last time I ever make the mistake of taking an elective to “expand my intellectual horizons.” But actually, it’s the last time. I can’t believe it’s the last time. I’ve got to live it up these next few weeks; going out every night for sure. Blackout City, they’re going to fly by. After all, time moves fast when you’re moving slow…
March 21: 35 days
“Still good for 7?”
“Heyyyy, ya 7 sounds good! How about that game? Tough loss… Mind if we go somewhere that involves watching my team NOT lose in the first round of the tournament?
I know I’m supposed to hate that she does this, but I love it. Rival schools, nothing says I’m into you more than a little teasing. Was my school losing in the first round a good or bad thing? Depends who you ask, I guess; at least now I’ve got an easy conversation starter. Funny how reality can change when you’re suddenly interacting with a pretty girl.
“Just changed the reservation… Table for 1”
Glad she thought it was funny… I mean of course I did, but you can never be certain with women.
“Alright, well I’m going golfing to forget about what happened but text me your address and I’ll swim by around 7”
Swim by? Oh how I hate autocorrect…
“Sounds good! 406 Barad Ave… See you tonight!!”
Well that’s her address. It looks like this really is going to happen. It’s always difficult to measure a girl’s interest; some might say impossible. Karen’s really cute too, is there anything more intimidating? Thank God I’m going golfing, desperately need something to take my mind off tonight…
“Right this way please. Here’s your table, can I get you started with something to drink?”
“I’ll have the sangria, please!”
“And for you, sir?”
Wow she looks stunning. Call me bias, but she’s definitely the most beautiful girl here. Not bragging, it’s just my opinion; sure feels like an objective reality though.
“Oh yes, umm…. I’ll have… the uhh… I’ll have the sangria too.”
Think things are going really well; laughing a lot, no awkward silences. She appears to be having a good time. At least, I hope she is; I am. I can’t determine what she’s thinking though. I could ask? No, that’s a bad idea. Asking might really disturb her. She seems to be into it, and if that’s true I wouldn’t want to change her position. Wow that was fast, are we done already?
“You alright man?”
Clearly I’m not. What happened? I really thought dinner went so well, and yet here I am standing at the bar… alone. She did come out with her friends. Maybe one of them got sick or something? I just don’t get it. One minute we’re making out, the next she just tunnels out of here. She didn’t even say goodbye. Maybe I was too forward?
“Any idea what happened?”
“Not a clue, man. The way you were interacting it seemed like she was really into you.”
“That’s what I thought… but it appears the reality is pretty different than whatever we observed.”
“Want to get out of here?”
“Yeah, let me just grab my coat.”
“Hey, I had a really great time last night. Sorry if I was too forward at Niels’. I really didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“Haha it’s ok I was pretty drunk… I don’t remember that but I had a good time too!”
“Glad to hear it. I’d love to do it again if you’re ever feeling up for it.”
March 26: 30 days
Can’t seem to do anything right today. Honestly, they shouldn’t even let me out on the course. I suck at this game.
This foursome sure is taking their sweet-ass time. I’d ask to play through but, it looks like they might have someone ahead of them. Besides, with how I’ve been hitting the ball I think I’d be too embarrassed to try to pass them anyway. Really don’t understand what I’m doing wrong; but then again, this game is just impossible to understand sometimes.
Into the lake…
Into the woods…
Maybe I should stop playing two balls before I donate them all to the course. Keep overcompensating; every time I try to fix the problem I just do the opposite on the next shot. This is so frustrating, and it’s taking forever.
“God damn it!”
Thought I finally hit a green, but no, ball just rolled right off. That’s what I get for putting zero spin on the ball. How is it possible that I can manage to be so fucking terrible at this game? Seriously considering drowning myself in the lake right now.
“Bump, Bump, Bump.”
Three putt double bogey… where’s the lake?
Okay, calm down; it’s going to be fine. Next hole is a Par 5. You’ve got this.
I’m in the fescue… the fucking fescue.
Deep breaths; don’t throw your club, don’t throw your club, just threw my club. The ball is completely entangled in this crap. You know what? I’m just going to throw it in the fairway. I deserve it. This day has been rough enough. Haha rough enough… he may not of endowed me with any talent for this game, but at least God gave me a sense of humor.
Still can’t believe she hasn’t texted me. I just don’t get it; not knowing, the uncertainty is killing me. Can’t seem to focus on anything else though, certainly not my game that’s for sure. Worst part, I desperately need to; my work load is just piling. Three papers and a short story, all due within the next month. Best part, still don’t have a clue what I’m going to write about.
Science fiction never really interested me. The stories, they’re just too farfetched. Good fiction is good because it could be true. Addressing real life situations and problems, having relatable characters, looking at reality from a different perspective, one that makes the reader think about familiar concepts in new ways, that’s what makes good fiction. I really hate bad fiction too. Yet, with absolutely no experience writing short stories, I fear that I too will be guilty of the cardinal sin.
Desperately need an idea. Hope something comes to me soon, because right now the whole situation just seems impossibly hopeless.
March 29: 27 days
“Ugh, I really want to but I’ve got a lot of work.”
“The short story?”
“How’s it coming?”
“When’s it due?”
“In a few weeks.”
“Dude, do it later. Told people to come over around nine to start pre-gaming.”
“Alright, fine I’ll get changed. No chance you have any ideas?”
“What’s it on again?”
“No man, sorry. I really don’t envy you.”
“Yeah, well I’ve just been staring at this screen blankly for the past two hours. Thought something would come to me by now, but apparently that’s too much to ask for.”
“Well, you know where I get all my inspiration?”
“Where?… Oh God. Do we need cups?”
It’s only eleven, we sure got here early. Whatever, more time at the bar I guess. And time with the bartenders… they’re all so hot. Have to hand it to the owners, they’ve got a great marketing strategy.
“Five each, please.”
“Anyone have change for a twenty?”
“No, all I’ve got are twenties.”
“Alright I’ll cover the cab just everyone buy me a drink when we get inside.”
Yup it’s pretty empty at the moment. But that’s the great thing about this place; might appear completely dead right now, but blink three times, and suddenly it’s the liveliest spot in town. Time to hit up the bar; love the Saturday night drink specials. Oh no…
She’s working tonight.
“Could we grab four whiskey sours, please?”
“Want to keep it open or close it?”
“You can close it.”
“So sorry I missed your call the other day. I was out to dinner with a few friends and just totally forgot to respond.”
Well that certainly sounds like a lie, but I’ve got to hand it to her at least she’s trying to be nice. Did she “totally forget to respond” to my text as well?
“No worries, it happens. What’s new with you?”
Need to get the hell out of here. Conversation has just been dragging, and she keeps playing with one of the glasses behind the bar; seems like a nervous habit. Feels like she wants me gone, and yet she keeps coming back over to talk to me. Is she just trying to be nice, or does she genuinely want to chat? I really can’t determine what’s going on. It’s like she’s somewhere in between wanting me to ask her out again and telling me to piss off. I suppose there’s only one way to find out for sure.
“So if I asked you out again would you be interested?”
“I don’t know, maybe?”
Maybe… You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. If you’re not interested just say no. Certainly feels like a no. And she’s gone now, this place is starting to fill up, great. Could she possibly have been any more ambiguous? Does she want me to chase her? Or was that just a very polite way of saying, “sorry I’m not interested?” Is getting a straight answer really too much to ask? I don’t know, but I really need to figure out a way to collapse all these possibilities.
“Hey, saw you talking to Karen, how’d it go?”
“So I asked her if she wanted to go out again.”
“She said maybe.”
“Maybe? What the fuck does that mean?”
“Dude, I have no idea. Let’s just get drunk. I don’t want to think about it.”
“That a boy, what do you think of these two over here?”
“I don’t know but it’s already 1 A.M. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it.”
March 30: 26 days
“Sure you’re okay getting back?”
“Yeah I’m fine, how do I get to Albert Street from here? I can just take the bus back home from there.”
“Just make a left out of the dorm and keep going until you hit it.”
“I had a really great time last night.”
“Yeah, it was fun. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”
Always hated how awkward it can be in the morning. Really miss how thing used to be back when I was dating Marie. When my first thought after waking up wasn’t “what’s the quickest and most discrete way I can get the hell out of here.”
Marie… Marie was great, she knew everything about me. Knew all of my faults and loved me anyway. She was independent, smart, fiercely loyal, not to mention gorgeous, and was just a good human being. Not a day goes by where I don’t wonder if I made the right decision ending things. But it was college, distance is hard, not to mention her own issues which made it even harder. Still, no girl I’ve met since then has ever really made the cut. Certainly not this one.
Is that why I can’t stop thinking about her? Karen really was amazing. She said some pretty questionable things at dinner, but that was what really got me going. She wasn’t afraid to be herself around me, and frankly didn’t seem to care what I thought. Take it or leave it. It was refreshing. It also didn’t hurt that I happened to agree with her on most points.
I’m near the end of the line though, time is short and seems to be moving more and more quickly as I approach graduation. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m stuck. A lame duck, waiting out the end of his term, unable to start anything new or interesting. Not that it matters though, Karen just gave me the most “no” sounding “maybe” I’ve ever heard before. Maybe it’s all just in my head though; maybe I’m psyching myself out. Whatever the case, anything is better being in limbo.
“Maybe? Haha you’re tough. If that turns into a yes between now and next Saturday how about we go for a picnic in Einstein Park?”
Time to figure out the real state of things…
April 3: 22 days
Can’t sleep. How long has it been? Three hours? Great, and I’m still just lying here wide awake. Can’t stop thinking about her. I want to stop. Why do I care so much? It’s pathetic. It was one date.
Keep replaying it over and over again. All the things I could have done differently, should have done differently. Had I just held off, acted disinterested, let her come to me, would that have changed things? So many possibilities; so many different ways things could have worked out. Would that I could have lived in one of those worlds.
It’s 3 A.M., you have an exam tomorrow, you can’t be doing this to yourself. Isn’t it just the sad ironic truth? Every time you really want to sleep, absolutely need to sleep, you just lie awake thinking, thinking about things, things that shouldn’t matter but suddenly do.
Maybe it’s karma? I haven’t exactly treated the women in my own life the best. Forgot to call Mom last Sunday. And that girl, what was her name again? See, you can’t even remember. She was definitely into you though, and you blew her off. Maybe I deserve to be blown off; maybe there’s just some kind of moral symmetry in the world. Maybe… Maybe, MAYBE. I’ve never hated a word so much.
No, you need to stop. Stop beating yourself up over this. Moral symmetry? Are you listening to yourself? You don’t even believe in God. Do you? I don’t know… I suppose some things would make a lot more sense if there really was justice in the world. Certainly would explain my own situation. Would it though? You’re generally a good person. You volunteer every week to tutor underprivileged kids, you generally treat others with respect and kindness, you never try to hurt others. Even if it does happen, which it does, you never do it maliciously; it’s always an accident
Am I a good person? A bad person? Both? Is it even possible to be two completely different things at the same time? Or is there no such thing as being good or bad? Maybe those are just words that we use to simplify things, to differentiate between people. We oversimplify things so much. Make the world so black and white when it’s really just different shades of gray. Construct our own reality. A reality where things are how they should be, ought to be. Moral symmetry… are you kidding me?
4 A.M. Oh my God, please, please just let me sleep. Ugh, I have so much to do tomorrow. Still haven’t even begun to work on this short story. If you’re going to keep me awake, could you at least do me the courtesy of giving me an idea? I swear this must be the hardest assignment I’ve ever been given. Feel like I’ve worked on it for hours, and I still don’t have the slightest clue what it’s even going to be about. Possibly something with time travel? I could play around with the grandfather paradox? Shit… it’s 4:30 already. Wish I could travel back in time right now and get a decent night sleep. Okay, it’s seriously bed time. 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep…
April 9: 16 days
“Hey, it’s been awhile.”
“Hey! I know. I feel like we haven’t talked in forever.”
“How are things with the boyfriend?”
“Things have been really great, thanks for asking. We hit a bit of a rough patch a few months ago but we sorted things out and have been doing really well ever since.”
“Good to hear, how long has it been again?”
“Two and a half years next Wednesday.”
“Congratulations. Glad to hear things are going well.”
“Thanks. What about you? I remember you mentioned that girl you went out with, the bartender?”
“Karen? Well, considering I asked her out again and she completely blew me off, I’m going to say not so well.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. You were really into her too. Weren’t you?”
“First girl I’ve really actually cared about since you.”
“What about your last girlfriend?”
“Fair enough. She sucked. I was still kind of jealous though.”
“Really? You? Of her? You have a boyfriend.”
“I know, but it was just weird, you know? Seeing you with another girl that is. I was like wait, that’s not me.”
“Yeah I remember having the same feeling…”
“Well… anyway, do you have any fun plans for after graduation?”
I miss these talks. We used to spend hours at a time just chatting, talking about whatever was on our minds. That was the hardest part. When we broke up, I didn’t just lose my girlfriend, I lost my best friend. Sure things have gotten better with time. We’ve started talking again, albeit very infrequently. She’s still so incredible though, her boyfriend is lucky to have her.
“So what have you been up to lately?”
“Not much. Procrastinating on most of my school work. Really just don’t care at this point, you know? Playing a lot of golf.”
“Haha sounds about right. How’ve you been shooting?”
“Like I’ve never picked up a club before. Not sure what’s been going on actually. Think my head just hasn’t been into it.”
“Yeah, and school. Have to write a short story on quantum mechanics, needless to say I’m as clueless as the experts.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine. Do you know what you’re going to write about?”
“Well you’re smart. I’m sure something will come to you.”
She’s changed her tone. I can hear the sympathy in her voice. She always could read right through me. Not that I’m upset or anything, just confused I guess? Frustrated for sure. Graduation, school work, this whole… whatever this is with Karen, it’s overwhelming. Yet here I am, doing nothing to pull myself together. I hate myself for doing nothing, and yet the idea of forgetting everything and focusing on my work seems even more unbearable. Stuck, I’m stuck.
“Anyway, I should probably get going.”
“It was great catching up, we should do it more often.”
“Feel better okay?”
April 19: 6 days
“Heyyy, are you guys going to be at Neils’ tonight?”
What? It’s been three weeks, why is she texting me now?
“Ya, I think we were planning on going. You working tonight?”
“Noo, not tonight. I’ll see you there?”
“Sure. See you tonight.”
I just don’t get it. I feel I like was finally starting to get over it, and now she wants to meet up? Did something happen? Maybe she was talking to someone else? Maybe it didn’t work out so she’s giving me another chance? What is going on?
“Yo man, what’s up?”
“Just got a text from Karen, she asked if we were going to be at Neils’ tonight.”
“Is she working?”
“Apparently not. Sounded like she wants to meet up.”
“Dude that’s weird. Hasn’t it been like almost a month?”
“Three weeks, yeah.”
“Guess we’ll see what she wants.”
Well I still don’t see her. It’s still kind of early, might as well grab a few drinks at the bar.
“I’ve got the first round. Whiskey sours?”
“Could we grab four whiskey sours please?”
“Sure thing, want to leave it open or closed?”
“You can leave it open.”
Well, it’s midnight. Wonder if she’s just not coming. There’s a lot of talent here. Don’t want to waste my entire night searching around in vain. The girl at the far table keeps giving me looks. Maybe I should just give up on Karen and go talk to her? Fifteen more minutes, then I’m giving up on this whole thing. Honestly, maybe I’m just not smart enough to get it, but I’m tired of playing games.
“Hey, do I know you?”
“You’re the guy Karen went out with, right?”
Guess she has no interest in introductions. Clearly one of Karen’s friends.
“Yeah, she told me she was going to be out tonight. Have you seen her?”
“She’s at the back bar. She said she was looking for you.”
Oh wow maybe she really is interested. Sending her friend to talk to me first, maybe she feels bad for blowing me off? Well, this is it. Last time I’m going to test this.
“Hey! How are you?”
“Doing well, can’t believe we only have a few weeks left before graduation…”
Score. She’s totally into it. Never should have doubted myself. She’s so unbelievably gorgeous. God, if you’re out there, thank you. Now I remember why I spend all the time and energy experimenting with new girls. Doesn’t pay off very often, but when it does; oh man, what a rush. I’m beaming, I think it’s almost too obvious how much I’m enjoying this.
Conversation has hit a bit of a lull. She keeps looking over my right shoulder too, why? Is she staring at that guy? He’s looking right at us. Doesn’t look happy. What’s going on?
“Do you know him?”
“That guy who keeps staring over here.”
“Hey man, can I help you?”
“Umm, I don’t think so, can I help you?”
“Why are talking to my girl?”
“You’re girl? What are you talking about?”
“Karen, who the fuck is this kid?”
“Just a friend of mine. And your girl? We broke up a month ago; I can do whatever I want.”
Wow I’m an idiot. I get it now. Makes a lot of sense that she just texted me out of the blue. Not that I’ve never been used to make someone jealous before, but never like this. I could just cry. That’s what I get, what I get for caring. You invest the time, the energy, pour your heart and soul into something, you think it’s going to pay off; think that things are going to work out for you. No, no it was a waste. So much for a great discovery.
“Yo let’s get out of here.”
“Something wrong man? I saw you talking to Karen. What happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s go.”
April 24: 1 day
Haven’t been able to focus on anything since Saturday. Really just haven’t been myself. Played golf yesterday; shot horribly. Wasn’t even mad though, just absolutely dejected. Still need to write this “short” story.
It’s not fair.
Everyone else in my class seems like they were able to come up with an idea easily enough. Why can’t I? This is literally impossible, and most certainly the last thing I want to be doing right now.
What a beautiful day. Wish I were outside. Wish I didn’t have to do this. Wish for a lot of things. I hate being like this. I’m not a mopey person. Need to just focus; bury myself in my work. But how, how can I do that? I don’t even want to, and I don’t even have an idea. Why write a story on quantum mechanics? No one understands it, not even the people who “do” it, whatever that means. How am I supposed to write intelligibly about something I don’t even understand?
Feel like the only thing that has me even more baffled is my own stupidity. I should be angry. I should never want to talk to her again. But I do. Why do I? It’ll pass, I’m sure of it. But why is it that I can rationalize and rationalize my feelings to myself and yet they still won’t change? It’s illogical, it makes no sense. Human emotion, does anyone know what to make of it?
Wait… that’s it! I’ve got my idea. My story. It’s not about understanding. It’s about not understanding.
“Quantum Love: Trying to Understand the Impossible.”