Fiction: The Man Who Doesn’t Want You
By Justin Jones
The most delicious foods are the worst for you.
The most beautiful clothes are too expensive.
The most rewarding adventures are the most dangerous.
The most of anything mirrors the pleasure for us it yields, most often in the negative.
And the logic follows into the romantic, as well you know, into the people with whom we fall in love: people we cannot have, those rarely seen, often heard, and highly anticipated; they cause us pain when we have them, and they keep us chasing. They always keep us wanting more, and their desires always met. Our attraction to them pushes them away. And the harder we push, the harder we wish.
“Want to go out sometime,” the man with the sparkling blue eyes will ask-slash-tell you (was there a question mark in his voice?). No matter.
You melt. You try to play it cool, to hide your excitement that he’s asked you out.
Fast-forward three months and you’re in your bed crying because you think he’s with another boy, because you know he doesn’t feel the same way for you that you feel for him. You wallow in self-pity, in snotty, tear-covered pillows, waiting for an uncertain absolution. Waiting for him to suddenly change and rush into your arms? Waiting for him to do what he’s never done and become who you think you want him to be?
The man of your dreams is yours, you think. But, as it is when baking a cake you’ve seen on TV, the home version never turns out the same. He’s an asshole. You know he is. But you don’t want to lose him. You can’t. He’s still somehow, well, perfect. He’s beautiful and smart. People love him, and around his friends he’s sprawling with personality and he shows them affection, while to you he shows little interest. He has it in him. Why doesn’t he show you?
You’ve had enough at month six and you try to break things off, but that’s when he buys you flowers and kisses your forehead. This buys your trust three months more. He slips this way into your heart every time you’re at a breaking point, and in these moments he shows you just enough of the good stuff that you forget about the bad.
He will change, you convince yourself time and time over. And time and time again you are fooled.
So what do you do? Do you play his game, give him a taste of what he deals you? Turn away and show him as little affection as he shows you? Yes, you know that will make him want you, or at least to show you that he does. You’ve already tested it–every time you’ve tried to walk away, the times when he’s at his best.
You know this isn’t the right thing to do. Love shouldn’t be played like this. A heart is no experiment. It is not to be controlled in this way. You want to show him you love him.
And so remains the never-ending cycle: he shows you nothing when you want him to, and everything when you’re ready to walk. Again. Again. And again.
I am sorry to report, my friend, that this is unintentional on his part. There is nothing abnormal here, except, maybe, that you’ve fallen for the wrong person. If such is the case, he’s absent-minded, though unjustly so.
You know this: we all want what we can’t have. We want what we shouldn’t have. We want the budget-crushing outfits we see in the windows on Fifth Ave. We want the pint of ice cream in the cooler next to the frozen veggies. We want the best of everything. We want the things with the most damaging consequences.
Do that awful, tragically healthy thing called wait. Wait NOT for him to change, but for someone who doesn’t need to. Wait for the Coke Zero of men. The one who’s good to you but tastes just the same. And your wait, though long it will be, will pay off. So long as you don’t hide your heart. So long as you’re willing to try… by fire.
Justin Jones is a columnist for Lavender Magazine, Guy Magazine, and Florida Agenda Newspaper. He writes about things like being alive, being in love, and drinking too much. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter.
Dr. Sheppe was out to faculty and students and advocated for adding sexual orientation to the university’s non-discrimination policyMarch 28, 2017
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