Marrs Attacks: Eschatology

Keith is not speaking to me right now. I hope it is only for now, but I don’t know. He wants to be my boyfriend, and I’m crazy about him, but not like that. It sucks.

I suppose the healthy thing to do is admit we cannot be friends at all while an attraction still exists, but I really like this guy. And I don’t like being healthy. Keith is the right size; he’s creative; he’s a great communicator and he’s honest. Plus he’s amazing with all the ’round-the-house, fix-’em-up jobs I’d rather leave undone than make worse in my pathetic attempt to be handy.

Keith is so grounded he could make a lighting rod jealous, and if there’s one thing I need a guy to be, it’s grounded. Until, that is, I learn how to slap some sense into myself those days I spend thirty minutes debating whether I have time to stop for coffee before work.

Keith’s disqualifier is that he’s not intellectual. That is not to say he isn’t smart; those are not the same thing. One bias I’d like to remove from society is that a big vocabulary or a quick ability to add makes someone “smart.” It don’t. I have a big vocabulary, and I’d say it makes me deceptive. Declaring I can’t fix my computer because “I’m a Luddite” sure exempts me from being the moron who can’t find the on/off switch. It’s amazing what a ruse a few big words (or smaller ones like “ruse”) can throw.

No, being an intellectual has nothing to do with how smart you are. It has more to do with how much you want to talk about it. For instance, if I and my friends see a movie, it is never enough to say it was simply good or bad. We have to first argue over whether there was a slight blue tint to the screen every time the protagonist appeared, if the supporting actress’ middle name had somehow influenced her being cast, and what the film would’ve been like had all the characters been anthropomorphic plants a la Little Shop of Horrors. (Then, of course, we’d have to have the same discussion about Little Shop of Horrors because someone had brought it up.)

Keith would rather say the movie was good or bad and go to sleep in peace. He would not wake up concerned he’d been too forceful with his opinion; he would not get early wrinkles from a fear of sounding phony. I wish to God I were that way too, but I simply am not. I need someone who’s lived through such neuroses to teach me how to ditch them, or embrace them, from experience.

It seems the underlying message of anything supposedly inspirational—be it a poem, a song, or a goofy card from Hallmark—is that love is all you need. I need to disagree. If love were all we needed we’d all marry golden retrievers. We need a lining up of things. We need that onomatopoeic “click,” that absence of red flags. But sometimes when we hear that “click,” and see no crimson warnings—or orange flags, vermilion ones, or yellow signals either—we still know the end is close to us, we just may not know why. Right now I need to let it do its thing.

As I fretted over the healthiest ending of things with me and Keith, he initiated an abrupt silence, a silence I’m hoping will end just as the pain it caused me is starting to. I know it will, because everything does. This pain will end, this silence will end, our relationship in all its forms will one day end, will end, will end; and with it all, my fear that anything can have an end at all, most especially a feeling, most disturbingly, a friend.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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