I think about kissing you sometimes.
It’s not, realistically, going to happen.
But, I still think about it.
You have nice eyes.
And I feel comfortable around you.
And getting a snap from you is always a little bit exciting.
And I can’t help but wonder if it would be a good idea.
You see, my feelings at the moment are a bit confused.
Maybe I do actually like you.
Maybe this is the next logical step in our relationship.
My friends certainly think so.
Apparently we already look like a couple.
When I went to that party with you, people kept calling me “your girl”.
Was that supposed to be some sort of date?
I can be pretty oblivious at times.
Or did they only say that because guys and girls aren’t usually just friends?
But we are. At least, I think we are.
At the same time, though, my friends are betting on the odds.
They keep asking me what exactly is going on between us. I don’t exactly know how to answer.
Your friend asked me the other day if you were still hitting on me.
Were you ever hitting on me? And are you now?
Sometimes, I think so. But then, you send me a text saying that you’re really glad we’re friends.
However, I ‘m sensing that maybe that’s not all you’re thinking.
And I tend to be pretty perceptive.
I’m pretty sure that you have some sort of feelings for me.
But where does that leave me?
I’m really not sure.
I could actually like you.
Or, I might just be curious.
And that’s what pulls me back every time.
Because I’m not sure what would happen next.
A kiss is not an isolated event.
Neither one of us could forget that it had happened.
It would be there, between us, from then on out.
And I don’t know what that would mean.
I know that the dynamic between us would change.
Things don’t stay the same once you’ve kissed someone.
Would this mean we would start dating? Would we become a couple?
Because I don’t see that working out.
I’m too stressed. You’re too volatile. I don’t think we could find a balance.
But I’m curious.
And I want to kiss you.
Maybe it’ll turn out well.
But somehow I can’t picture that.
All I see are endings.
I’ll be awkward about it.
And you’ll be hurt that I’m being awkward about it.
Or you’ll be pissed and I’ll look stupid.
Or maybe you’ll give me a triumphant “finally” look and I’ll panic because now you expect something from me.
And I don’t know what I’d do in any of these situations.
So instead, I’ll do nothing.
We’ll remain in murky, confusing limbo.
I might just be lonely.
I don’t want to lead you on.
But I want something, anything, to happen.
It’s close to midnight. I’m walking to the only coffee shop on campus that’s open past 9 pm during the summer. I’m not really paying attention to what’s going on around me, so when I see a guy rolling toward me on his bike, I wordlessly move to other side of the sidewalk so he can pass by. He’s a big guy, blond and fratty. I glance at him as he passes.
“How you doin’ hun?” His voice is low and confident and it chills me to the bone.
I felt violated. He clearly had no intention of actually talking to me. He wasn’t interested in how I was doing. He just wanted to make his presence known. As much as that rankled me, his comment also terrified me. There was no one else in sight. No one would notice if he turned around and came back toward me.
I didn’t run, but I did walk as fast as I possibly could, looking over my shoulder every few steps to make sure that he continued to glide away. I turned on the next street and practically ran two blocks to the coffee shop. Once I was within the warm golden lights of the café, with an iced coffee in hand, I felt safe.
It really shouldn’t be this way. A random guy biking down the street shouldn’t be able to scare me as much as this one did. Even if he didn’t actually mean any harm, there was a chance that he did. Because I’m female, I have been trained to always be careful. I’ve been told that I need to be wary, that I have to watch out, that I’m a potential victim. Last night, I was walking back to my apartment from a friend’s place at around 2:45 in the morning. Despite the fact that I didn’t see a single person, I practically ran home.
I want to be free from all of this. I want to be able to take midnight walks when I need to clear my head. I would love to feel the cool air of early morning without that constant, niggling concern for my safety. I’d rather not constantly eye my fellow travelers when I walk through town after 10 pm.
I want to be free to wander.
I wrote this after a grey, rainy day on campus that I spent almost completely alone.
Loneliness is a hard knot at the back of your throat and a persistent ache in your chest.
Loneliness is getting dressed and walking to the farthest coffee shop on campus, just so you can hear another person’s voice. It doesn’t matter that all you’ll say is “Can I get a small iced coffee?” and “thanks.” Ninety seconds of human contact is better than nothing. The coffee doesn’t drown the lump in your throat and you walk out, wondering what you should do now.
You cross the street and wander into a part of town you’ve never visited. Admiring the ivy-covered houses and slightly decrepit apartment buildings, you imagine living there. You’d probably have a cat. And friends.
While you’re thinking about friends, you pull out your phone to see if anyone’s texted you. They haven’t. You text everyone you might possibly want to hang out with. “What are you up to?” You put your phone back in your pocket and continue walking.
Loneliness is pulling your phone out of your pocket twenty minutes later and seeing that only two people responded. They’re both busy. Loneliness is the blurriness behind your eyes as you pause to reply, “Never mind.”
You walk back home.
Loneliness is spending two hours cleaning your kitchen, even though no one’s going to see it. While you’re cleaning, you think up imaginary conversations with the friends who probably aren’t going to visit you and the neighbors you haven’t met yet. By the time you’ve finished, you’ve chipped your nail polish, rubbed your hands raw, and sweated through your shirt.
Loneliness is sitting on the floor, drenched in sweat, and eating cookies. When the cookies are gone, you open one of the books that you bought yesterday. You read it straight through and feel empty when you’ve turned the last page.
Loneliness is sitting at the kitchen table of your hot, sticky apartment and eating leftovers for dinner. You check Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and your email, knowing that nothing’s changed since you checked them three hours ago.
Loneliness is spending your Friday night alone in your apartment, watching The Hunger Games off of a questionably legal website. When the movie is over and the credits are rolling up the screen, you walk out onto your balcony. It’s raining out, so you spend a few minutes basking in the damp, fragrant air.
You go back inside and open up your computer. The clicking of the keys echoes through the dark room as you mindlessly browse the internet. You’ll be up until your vision blurs and your eyelids start to droop, when you’ll collapse onto your bed and fall into a dreamless stupor.
Loneliness is a deserted campus, an empty apartment, a hollow chest.
I’m sure that practically everyone, regardless of their religion, has been bombarded with news about the new pope, elected yesterday. Even if you’re not Catholic, it’s a pretty big deal. Catholics make up about 1.2 billion of the 6.9 billion people in the world. That’s about 17% of the world’s population. Even if you don’t happen to be Catholic yourself, you probably know quite a few of them.
I’m not particularly showy about it, but I was raised Catholic, went to CCD (which I just discovered stands for “Confraternity of Christian Doctrine”) for all of elementary and middle school, and was confirmed at 13. Even if I’m not the best Catholic out there, and even if there are some things about the Church that I’m not particularly fond of, I still identify as a Catholic and don’t plan on leaving the church anytime soon.
Obviously, I care about the new pope and feel the same mix of nervous anticipation and inexplicable excitement about Pope Francis that I’m sure many Catholics share. Even if he’s supposedly directed by God and the Holy Spirit, every pope has a different way of going about things, and their beliefs and loyalties can change the direction of the Catholic Church. The last two popes, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, were both pretty conservative, favoring tradition. On the other hand, John XXIII was more liberal. He decided to hold Vatican II, which is the reason that mass is no longer said in Latin.
I’m excited about Pope Francis, because he’s a Jesuit, a South American, and the first pope to choose the name “Francis”. For those who aren’t Catholic, Jesuits are an order of priests and brothers that are known for their focus on education (you’ve probably heard of Georgetown, Boston College, etc) and research. Even though the Jesuits haven’t always been particularly popular, they’re known as scholars, and I like that.
I’m pretty much indifferent about the fact that he’s from South America. It’s kind of cool, but location really shouldn’t determine that much about a person. I like the fact that he picked Francis as a name though. I guess he’s cool with being different.
We can’t really tell what’s coming, or what direction things are going to go, but it will certainly be different. No two leaders are the same, and that goes for popes as well as everyone else.