“I don’t know, I can’t make a decision and I don’t want to ruin your night. I’m gonna do my own thing, Ash. I’ll talk to you later.”
I sat there thinking about how many ears have listened to that dreadful sound that signifies the end of a conversation – that symbolically universal “click” that makes saying goodbye so difficult. My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of heinous honking that could only be attributed to my erratic friend’s incessant need to make a grand entrance. I tied my hair, attempted to pretend applying makeup would make a dramatic difference, and threw on the first black dress that was lucky enough to have caught my attention. The car ride was a mix of the peaceful comfort custom to leaving the house on warm summer nights and the disappointment custom to my best friend’s inability to make decisions – also the reason why my plans for the evening were now non-existent.
Despite the disappointment, I decided to go to his house. The instant regret filled me upon arriving as I wasn’t sure how he would respond to the surprise. As we waited on the porch, I couldn’t help but think that the music that had been permeating from the car speakers earlier vibrated vigorously enough to mimic my anxious, pulsating heartbeat. He – also fond of making grand entrances – flew from the top floor, encountering the door in a way I was sure would force the glass to shatter. He avoided the other two, embracing me in a way that severed all pre-existing ties and solidified how the only people we might be betraying were ourselves. It was then I worried about my choice of outfit but as he pulled away to say hello, he dazzled me with a smile that made me sad. I realized it was because genuine happiness was face a he rarely donned. I couldn’t help but return the smile with equal happiness hoping I had masked how I always loved them a little less for not seeing what I saw in him.
When we arrived at the evening’s destination, it was silently acknowledged that we were gambling more than a game of beer pong or a game of darts. Knowing him far better that either of us felt comfortable admitting, I forced his feelings out. His confession was cut short – physically by the interruption of our friends insisting on leaving and emotionally by words about myself I couldn’t bring myself to say: what happens when you are as traumatizing as you are healing? How sad he might be in discovering a person could be both the disease and the cure.
I tried to measure love that night – hoping it could be quantified to make the turn this relationship just took make any sense. Though, all I could wonder was how many nights he had spent awake thinking about who they spent so many nights awake thinking about. How he was far too aware to be this oblivious. How safe could feel scary as easily as scary could feel safe.
I’ll save you the trouble, though: it can’t be measured.
You can’t measure a dream.