Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Why'd you let me have the number if you weren't gonna pick up when I call?"

I guess I should give the brotha some credit. It's a legitimate question. 

Let me backtrack. So on the Friday of my first week of work, two days after the man who got down on his knees to ask for my number, a man who had been riding his bike alongside a woman walking on the other side of the street heading in the opposite direction made a dramatic u-turn to come ride alongside me as I was walking home. We were approximately a block and a half from my house. What'syourname? Whereyoustayat? Howlongyoulivedthere--Iain'tneverseenyoubefore. SocanIcallyousometime? 

I answer his questions begrudgingly. I walk slowly. I am aware of the fact that he will probably interpret my slow pace as a sign that I want to be spending time with him in this moment. I most certainly do not. The correct interpretation is, I don't want this man to see where I live. I need to get him to stop walking with (read: following) me before we get to my corner. 

So when he asks if he can call me sometime, I stifle the parts of me that want to say, "" and "For what?". All I'm thinking is, 'Please, don't,' but all I say is I guess so...

He jams his knee into a metal fence as he tries to get his phone out of his pocket while on his bike, and I feel bad for the guy. So bad that, in a fit of compassion, I give him my actual number, rather than what I always tell myself should be my usual trick of changing one digit of my real phone number so that it comes out with the rhythm of my actual number.

And he rides off before I've turned my corner, and I feel as if I've safeguarded the location of my secret headquarters. But then, he calls me. That night. Twice. And the next night. And Sunday night at 2:30 in the morning (which, thankfully, does not wake me up). And Tuesday in the middle of the day while I'm at work. I begin to feel bad for the guy. And then I rationalize to myself, well, if he had anything to say to me, he'd leave a message.

Then he leaves a message. And my first thought is fuck, now I have to pick up the next time.

And then I realize, lol wut wait a minute, the fuck am I thinking? No, I most certainly do not. I am no more obligated to pick up because this man keeps calling me than I was obligated to give him my number because he was walking along beside me. I should have just been forthright from the beginning and told him I wasn't interested. Instead, I let myself play mouse to his cat because it was easier. And that disturbs me, when I think about it, but I can't rule out the possibility that he would have followed me all the way to my front door if I'd "played hard to get" told him to get lost.

Unfortunately, I came home later that week to find him hanging out with the guy who lives across the street, so my secret headquarters weren't safeguarded for long. He asked why I let him have my number if I wasn't going to pick up when he called. I wanted to say, BECAUSE YOU WERE FOLLOWING ME. Because I was in a good mood and didn't mind being flirted with at that exact moment. Because I felt bad for you. And outside of that moment, the only thing that was true was that you had been following me and I wanted you to go away. 

I didn't answer. He asked if I'd pick up if he called again. I said maybe. Another blatant lie. But one that shut him up so I could go in the house. (AS IF I NEED HIS PERMISSION TO GO IN THE HOUSE. I DON'T. GRAH.) I shut the door to the sound of him reminding me that he likes "them thick girls."

And when I came out of my house Monday evening and he was leaning against a car parked in front of my door for no apparent reason (which worries me, although he seems to know people who live on my block so it's probably nbd), he said I looked beautiful (which was the point--I was on my way to a concert) and I just said thank you. And thankfully, he didn't call again. 

But when the next one comes along, someone pretty please remind me to give out a fake number. Or, better yet, to just be able to say no, I'm not interested in you. No, I don't want to be speaking to you. No, I don't want you to call me. No.    

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