waking life-waking amber

March 21, 2004

hear it in the stairwell: Death Cab for Cutie

Saturday.

Slept with window slightly cracked. Enough to feel the warm breeze and hear the pouring rain.

Used new RED sheets. Cotton and comfortable.

Ate winter-cooked squash. Topped with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Gave Levi a bath. Puppy finesse fresh dog-shaking wet.

Wore a skirt with no tights.

Breathed deep outside in the springtime temperatures.

Acoustic music at coffee shop. Updated friendships and laughed.

Saw “Eternal Sunshine” with absentee roommate. Amazing movie-see again. (IS it better to love and lose than to never even love?)

I didn’t get much sleep today. I fell asleep around 9a.m. and immediately began dreaming. Dreams of people I’d never met and places I wanted to see. In my dream I hear someone cough. Really loudly. I hear the same loud voice reciting numbers. And in my confused dream/wake state of not being able to decipher what’s real or imagined, I realize there is a man in my room, standing over my bed. My initial response to anything disrupting sleep is to pull the covers over my head. I do just that. I wait and see if it(he) will just go away. I remember watching “Waking Life” with Jon Black (another amazing movie, by the way) and being told that if you’re not sure you’re dreaming, look at a clock because in your dreams, you can’t read clocks. (try it, it works). But my new red sheets are pulled over my head and I’m not about to peek out. I begin to shake the confusion when I hear Amanda, my roommates voice. I put all the pieces together and realize that she thought it was a wise idea to let the guy who was doing her window estimates into my room in the middle of my night to measure my window (which, by the way, is the exact same size as the window in my other *awake* roommates room). First of all, she’s lucky that they found me sleeping fully clothed. This is not always the case considering that I do have a room to myself and my room’s internal thermostat is set on 100 degrees. Secondly, it’s only noon. Just four hours of sleep!

**

He asked me yesterday to tell him how I’ve changed in the past year, and I didn’t know how to respond. The changes are evident to me, they’re even obvious to the people who’ve managed to fight their way to my deepest parts, but how do I tell someone who’s never known me? Trying to convince him I’m a better person is useless, he’s never known me as anything worse. I can tell him stories of my life before but they’d never paint an accurate picture. The threat remains that if I reveal too much of my weaknesses he won’t want to know me more, there’s a chance to be lost brooding over me as I try to condense myself into words.

There’s such a freedom in meeting a person and having no history with them, but what anxiety appears when you realize they don’t know you. How do you start to explain yourself? What do you tell them to reel them in? How do you grow to know each other? A person who’s never seen you upset or angry has no capacity yet to comfort you when you have a bad day, such an empathy is learned with time by assessing intimate facets of a person’s character. Having not spent quality time with a person it’s difficult to know straight away when they are bored or unaffected or simply being sarcastic. You can’t know a person until you’ve given yourself to them, until you’ve given them your time, your attention, your affection.

It’s possible to accelerate friendships and feel close to someone you just met; those are times when chemistry defies time and you find a person you’re instantly comfortable with. It’s possible to share an emotionally charged event with a stranger and leave with a best friend. People start those friendships in broken elevators, in hostage situations, the first day of school. Why can’t everyday friendships start out so easily? Why do we need to slog through the pleasantries and the uncomfortable confessions before intimacy begins? Sometimes it feels like such a harrowing task, trying to convince someone to like you.

He asked me how I’ve changed, and I was speechless.

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