The doctor's office was always cold and though clean, felt dirty. Maybe it was because I had to take my pants off for my check up. And they always asked me to take my shoes off. This time I was in a gown, forced to have all my vital organs checked. Something was wrong with me, and I didn't know what it was.
"So Mr. Drab, what seems to be the problem?"
"I'm not sure. I have a lot of weird symptoms."
"The nurse wrote on your chart that you're constipated, you have frequent headaches, you haven't been eating properly."
"I'm just not hungry."
I watched as he looked over the words the nurse left him. He swallowed hard, rubbed his left eye and then sniffled.
"Not to be too personal, but how are you feeling?"
"How long have you felt...bad?"
"Awhile I guess."
"Do you have any problems with your mood?"
"What do you mean?"
"Are you happy?"
"Did something happen to make you that way?"
Two years ago...
I stood on the carpet of the room and watched as they all came in. One by one, the new freshmen we had to welcome to our dorm. It was tradition, but I was getting tired of it. And it was only just then the first time we had a group meeting with them all.
I wouldn't see many of their faces again, but I noticed one of them.
"Hey, I'm Jim."
Megan was shy at first, but within minutes was talking.
"Yeah, I love that show. With the vampires and all, and none of that bullshit new sparkle shit."
She was beautiful. I had so much in common with her- we were both Catholic, we both watched the same TV shows, we both were interested in painting. She was spontaneous and such a free spirit. But she was taken.
"Yeah, my boyfriend is such a dork."
"He looks like one."
"Oh, shut up."
I backed away. It was only my place to be a friend, as much as I could at least. But I was only comfortable as a distant friend, a colleague. Even though I told myself I had moved on I hadn't.
Months later, everything began to fall apart. Megan and her boyfriend fell apart, our friendship was changing as she began to move away from our group of friends. And that final night was so much fun. As I left she grabbed my hand, held onto it tight and I realized I still felt strongly about her.
"I don't know what to do."
"She's not your type, why are you doing this?"
"But she is. I've never met a girl like her."
"Jim, she's not worth it. Stop worrying about her."
"I'm sorry Carol, I just can't."
Friends advice was thrown aside. I became impulsive, speaking with her and the guy she was flirting with.
"No, dude- come on Jerry, she has a boyfriend. We gotta get out there and find girls who are single."
"Yeah, you're right."
And then I felt bad. Guilt fell in. They were happy. How could I stop happiness?
"Just go out with him, will you?"
"Why do you care so much about my dating life?"
"I'd rather not say."
"Why not? You get all up in my business and then won't tell me why? Did he put you up to this?"
"Then why are you acting this way?"
"Because I've had a crush on you for months and I just want you to be happy, OK?"
I freaked out. I did the only thing I knew how to, and wrote. I wrote every stinging emotion I felt, that had no reason to be felt. I gave into all of it. I made them out to be the bad guy, when there was no good or bad guy. It was the only way I knew how to write. It hurt them, but more hurt her than anything else. And no matter what I did, she would never accept my apology.
"Two years ago? You've been feeling this way for two years?"
"No. That was just the start of it all."
"What do you mean?"
I had a year still left in college, but I had enough credits to graduate early. I moved on quick, stopped caring about girls and focused on getting the right credits. Even when she walked in, I wanted nothing to really do with her. It was just another year of new freshmen.
"And you are?"
"Hi, I'm Jim. You new here?"
She seemed shy. I stopped trying after that. She was cute, but I had to focus on myself. I had to focus on me. It didn't matter anyways, because she was always on her computer whenever I saw her out of her dorm. Always keeping to herself.
Then, of course, I found out the same thing I did with every girl. She had a boyfriend.
I studied. I focused. I met this other girl, Mariah, in a class of mine. I thought about asking her out, but never got up the courage to. I didn't have time anyways, I had to focus on me and we only had fun working on a project together. We'd never get along outside of class.
Then Eliza was single. I thought nothing of it, and I was simply friends with her. Not even friends, colleagues. I wanted nothing to really do with her, because I was completely content with life. I just started a new job, I was still toying with asking Mariah out. Then we started talking.
I thought from the get go that she was flirting with me, and I didn't want that. I had to focus on me. But it's hard to do that when you feel alone as much as I do. I gave her time I shouldn't have, spent more hours working on papers than I should have. But I liked talking with her, even if it was only online as I sat in the library and her in her dorm room.
I didn't want a relationship though, and I had to nip it all in the bud before it got there. I confronted her.
"Eliza, are you flirting with me? Because I feel like you're flirting with me."
"Well, I mean- I can't say I am because it all just depends on whether or not I think it's flirting."
"So is this flirting?"
"Let's just say it's getting to know you better."
"OK. I can do that."
I asked her out the next time I saw her. As friends. Just to get some dinner. I didn't really think anything of it, I just went with the flow and I had a lot of fun with her. She then asked to hang out with me again, and we went shopping for the holidays.
"I like to make my presents instead of buying them. I feel like it's more personal if you do that"
"I don't have time to do that. Or the talent."
The entire day was amazing. I spent it with her, finding most my gifts for friends and family. And instead of my usual feeling of tiredness from shopping, I was just so happy with everything. Then it was all just...like a fairytale.
"It's so easy."
"What's so easy?"
"I can't tell you."
"C'mon, what's so easy?"
She kept quiet as I drove her home- a back and forth flirtation.
"Fine, you want to know?" she asked as we sat in her driveway. "Come here."
We grew closer, and she kissed me. I was lost. I didn't want a relationship, what was I doing? I pulled away, scared. "I'm not that easy." I said with a hint of flirtation. She got out of my car and walked up to her door.
I drove off, around her block and headed home. I smiled. Did that just happen? I asked myself the question again and again. I called my friend, who was supposed to meet me for dinner, and she didn't answer. When my phone rang I didn't bother looking.
"Hey Deb- I just dropped Eliza off I'm driving back now."
"Oh uh, it's Eliza."
"Oh, hey sorry." I had a smile on my face hearing her voice.
"I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for what happened. If that made things awkward or anything."
"No, don't worry about it. It wasn't awkward."
"Oh. OK. Well, I'll let you get back to driving then. Bye."
I knew then and there she was amazing, but I didn't want a relationship. I had doubts. As I sat down to dinner with my friends, I told them nothing of what happened. Told them we had fun. I paid little attention to the conversation, as my brain threw around the idea of letting go of so much. I was graduating college soon, the holidays were around the corner. I wanted to apply to places out of state, out of the country. I wanted to live free. But she was different. I could give up some of that, because she made me happier than I had been in a long time.
I couldn't understand it, but though I had my fears I knew I wanted to be with her. The next thing I knew, we sat in the back of my car in freezing weather.
"So what are we doing here?"
"What do you mean?"
"Like us. Are we just friends or...do you want to be more?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You're going to make me say it, aren't you?"
"Ugh, will you go out with me?"
"Well I've already been going out with you-"
"Shut up, you know what I mean." I smiled. So did she.
"Yes. I will."
"You don't think it's too soon do you?"
"No. I want to."
Nothing really changed. It was slow going. Which I liked. She was so understanding, and I didn't have to tell her anything. She just knew. We just worked so well. Then our ideologies got in the way. We began arguing over things we couldn't control. We were happy, but there were problems we had to work through and neither of us wanted to budge. We couldn't compromise, even though we wanted to.
Then she just snapped on me one day. I was making sure she was OK, asked her what the problem was and she said I was the problem. That I was being self-centered and idiotic because I was worried about her well being. It hurt. She had been pushing me away, and I knew it. She didn't even want to look at me the time before we hung out. She was done with me, and that was that.
I tried to talk her through our problems, but I broke down. Maybe because I had let go of so much for her. I had let go of my fears, I had let go of my plans for my future. Maybe it was my mistake. Maybe I should never had met her parents the week before. Maybe I should have waited to ask her to be with me, but I knew she was special and I didn't want her to leave me.
And then that was it. It was over. And I lost it. Because at that moment I realized Eliza was the only thing I had that was keeping me happy. And she walked away. Just like that.
"Mr. Drab, it seems like you might have some issues with depression."
I couldn't get over her. I saw her in everything. A measly less than two months with her, and I was more broken than I had ever been. I couldn't explain my behavior. I wanted nothing to do with anything. Nothing made me happy. All I wanted was her again. All I wanted was to make things better.
She wanted to be friends, so I tried that. She said close friends, but she still pushed away. And my own friends, they were only sort of there. Only a few talked to me about it, the rest acted as though it was a joke. But it's how they always acted.
Then I started telling them the truth. I had an impulsive desire to just come out and tell every single person who I had something to say to the truth. Every jackass that ever pissed me off, every motherfucker who crossed me. All the awful things I had done and held on to. I bitched, I laughed, I apologized.
"Mr. Drab, I'm not a psychologist. You need to speak with one, I believe. You have a lot of the symptoms of-"
"And then they started walking away..."
They didn't understand what I was doing. It wasn't normal for me to stand up for myself nor was it normal for me to apologize for all the little things I was apologizing for. No one understood but a handful of people. A very close friend then decided to walk away because I bitched out some girl he kept around in case he needed a picture of her tits. Because the people I hung out with were judgmental and hated being called out on it. And he was one of the worst.
"Seriously, Mr. Drab-"
It all came down on me. I wanted to die. I wanted to slit my wrists. I stood at work, in the kitchen washing dishes...I held the knife to my wrists. It took everything in me to not let the knife slice through. Everything.
"Mr. Drab, I-"
"And now I'm here. Because I can't understand why I feel so sick."
"I think you should definitely see a psychologist. I can recommend one. It doesn't seem like this is an issue I can deal with. It sounds like you're dealing with clinical depression. Might even be something else that makes you act this way."
"Are you saying I'll have to take pills?"
"I don't want to take pills. I don't want to go to some crazy doctor. I just want my life to be better again."
"Here. You'll be fine, Jim. You'll be fine."
I hope so. I hope so.