Every day is an act to try to be the best boyfriend or the best friend you could ever ask for. I act like an idiot to make close friends laugh, intentionally mispronouncing things, and placing myself in traps of humble embarrassment, just for the sake of my loved ones amusement. But I also sit with them, consider politics and ideas with them, trying to get the staggered voices in my head into the room, and see how it sticks to the walls and on the faces of those listening. They all sit and nod, explaining their agreeable perspective on the situation, making our friendship even stronger.
I listen to my girlfriend speak as I scroll through my Instagram feed. She mutters “...you’re not even listening anyway...” in the same sarcastic tone that she always says that in, which triggers the same response I always give to her when she says that. I list off everything she says, in order, followed by my response to each of the things that happened. She hates that. I hate it too, but it’s my fault that I allow myself to get distracted so easily. She hates it because it makes her feel unimportant, and she thinks that talking to her is just a chore that I take easily because she’s simple. I don’t say that because that’s too intrusive into her emotions. Instead I apologize, put my phone away, and blow a fart on her cheek after a quick peck on her lips. She thinks I’m a musical prodigy because I know every word to every song on her playlist, that she’s playing through the amp in the corner of the room. She complains about my need to always be right, but I don’t understand. Why should I apologize for speaking my mind, and why should I be sorry that I’m just right? I love her a lot, but I know inside that we won’t start a family and have kids. We aren’t right for each other in that way. We’re too alike. I’m cynical and intrusive. She’s the same way but not as subtle about it, and it annoys me. I have a way of messing things up that way. I’ll find a flaw that truly bothers me, and it will scream until I don’t love you anymore. I guess I’m not a very good boyfriend after all. At least on the inside.
On the outside, above the doubt and the internal examinations, I squeeze her tightly as I mock a random movie we turned on to distract from the blazing heat outside. She lays in my lap, and I talk to her about our plans for the coming week over the soft background of redundant characters discussing nonsense on the screen.
I start to get bored and fall asleep after a while into the movie. I wake up and she’s awake and kissing my neck. I know where this is going, and I’m sure you do too, so we’ll skip this part. We lay in bed, and she talks about how inadequate she feels around me sometimes, and that she feels like I think I’m better than her, like she’s beneath me. I start to get angry, because just moments ago, we were just fine and the world was spinning at its usual pace. But now things aren’t fine, the world’s spinning so much faster, and I blame myself but don’t tell her. Instead I let myself listen and explain to her that I’m in my own head and I don’t mean to be that way. She sits up and pushes it. Things escalate, I feel offended over something she says about my family and my upbringing. I punch a wall and leave the room, stopping just outside the door, realizing that in the past two minutes, I had no control over my emotions. I hurriedly rush back into my room and come to her side. She’s crying, and I zone out, taking an account of my internal monologue, trying so hard to understand what just happened to me. I tell her I’m scared and sorry, and that I didn’t mean for any of that to happen, but she doesn’t understand. She leaves. I’m alone.
I leave the house as if nothing happened, and I feel as if nothing happened. I go to my mother's house to visit. She blames me for letting myself get angry. She understands who I am though. After years of therapy and doctor visits, she understands what’s going on in my head better than anyone. I don’t like hearing her say what she says, but I agree. I hate that. My mother is very logical and doesn’t like to take into account anyone’s emotions. My father, who I call on my way back home, is very compassionate. He’s not as intellectual as myself, but he is my best friend, and who I go to when emotional issues arise. He sides with me, saying we all have limits and mine we’re pushed. My girlfriend understood that I needed space, and instead pushed me further despite me insisting that we talk about it later. So I also agree with my dad. I do nothing with the situation, and continue home to meet with a couple friends to go to the pool.
We swim around for a while, laughing about stupid jokes and old memories of us in high school. After a while, we sit on the side of the pool, light a few cigarettes, and just talk. It’s late so no one's at the pool to complain about the noise or the smoking. I tell them about the fight, and they all side with me, as expected seeing how they’re my best friends. I go home, let out my dog, make some food, and turn on a show to get lost in. I still feel a mixture of self-blame and outrage from the fight earlier. The dog falls asleep in my lap, and I watch enough Supernatural that my eyes glaze over. I finally realize it’s three in the morning so I turn off the TV, go to my room, and close my eyes to start another day, just like the last.