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i think i'm about to experience spontaneous combustion...
first thing's first:
IT IS 90 DEGREES IN THE HALLWAY AND IN MY WINDOWLESS ROOM, IT IS WAY HOTTER. i think i'm dying. the ac has been broken for nearly 2 days now. last night, i started out in my room, but i couldn't sleep because it was too hot. i finally went out to the main room, to sleep on the couch, but by the time i did that, it was 5 a.m. i fell asleep around 5:30, and at 6, alana came home and i woke up. i stayed awake while she got ready and moved around in the kitchen, and i finally went back to bed a little after 7. at 7:30, some guy started a lawnmower outside, and i woke back up. i stared at the clock while he mowed whatever, and last i remember, it said 8:15. i must have slept for a little, but then around 9, a bunch of screaming college kids woke me up. i looked out the window, and they were having a waterballoon fight. at 9 in the morning? come on, i need to sleep... they shut up around 9:30. i'm not even sure if i managed to fall asleep again before molly came home at 10. she cooked and ate and i laid there... a little after 11, she went to bed, and by then, it was too hot to sleep again, so i got up for the day.

that set the tone for the day. it was a mostly miserable day.

terrie called me on the intercom, to tell me to give molly a break. 2 minutes later, i was up at the service desk, talking to marie, and non-pregnant kelly asked where terrie was.
i used my hand to make a phone, put it up to my ear, and replied, 'i don't know, but i just talked to her through my head.'
the words came out wrong. it's been a long time since i've had that problem last... maybe it's just because i'm so tired. but marie and kelly are laughing, and so are the customers up there, and i just feel dumb...

i took another entire break with kinitra. i don't know how it always ends up working out like that, but i'm starting to wish it wouldn't. i looked at the schedule on the wall and she asked, 'is that the new schedule?'
i said, 'yeah.'
she came over and looked at it, and then we sat in silence for nearly 15 minutes, until the weather report came on. i got up to leave, and commented, 'i wish it would snow.'
that was our entire conversation. i am so mute...

then 3 customers in a row got all mad at me, for no good reason. one thought something rang up wrong, so i went back to check, and the customer had just read the sign wrong. i started to explain, and before i could even finish, he huffed, 'well i'm not going to argue with you.'
but his tone of voice was so fucking condescending, like he knows he's right, and he's only shutting up because he's too good to argue with me. except he's fucking wrong. i'm angry, but really, i'm too tired to be angry, so it just adds to the general feeling of unhappiness that started back when the ac broke.

marie is doing something on self-check, and i wander over there. she asks, 'can i have a hug?'
i give her one, from the side, and she hugs me back and says, 'i love my little debbie.'
i still don't know how to answer that, so i just stand in silence. she adds, 'i love my jeffy too.'
well that sure makes me feel special... if i stood here long enough, i would probably hear about the millions of other people that she loves, too... i am nothing. marie is no good for me.

the schedule at work today was messed up. helen called off and rashid had to leave early, so marie asked if i could stay later, if she gave me a ride home. i said sure. rashid teased me riding home with marie, and told me to be careful, and watch out for that bad girl.
then i went up to the office, to ask if i could have my 2nd break soon, because i was tired. marie asked why i was tired, and i explained about the stupid air conditioning and my windowless room (that was more for non-pregnant kelly, since marie knows what my room looks like). marie said, 'awww...' and reached out and touched my arm. then she stroked my arm gently, up and down and up and down, and i stood silently, enjoying the way her fingertips felt on my skin. i was still enjoying it when rashid called my name. i looked over at him, and he said nothing, just looked at me funny. marie's fingers slid down to my hand, and she slipped her fingers through mine. i took a sidestep closer to the office, so rashid couldn't see my hand anymore, and then i stroked her hand with my thumb, and then i let go and went out to talk to rashid.
he asks, 'what was that?'
'what?' i ask, like i don't already know.
'what? what do you think?' and he reaches out and pets my arm, exaggerating the motion.
i play dumb. i shrug and say, 'uhh, i dunno, i just wanted to get to take a break, that's all.'
he rolls his eyes. 'you know, you... you're... you...' he can't find the words, so finally, he finishes with a sigh, 'you have a customer.'
i don't know what he was going to say. i think i might like to know... we joked around for the rest of the night, but we were back to aids and terrie and threesomes and all the stuff that we both know isn't true. he never again brought up marie.

the verdict was that i would get my break when molly got back. so when molly got back, i went back up there, and asked, 'now?'
marie came over to the low door, and teased, 'no. you don't get a break.'
i put my head on her shoulder and asked again. she smiled, ran her fingers through my hair, and said, 'go ahead.'
i felt ok. for that one moment, where my head was on her shoulder, and her hand was in my hair, i felt better. i've been miserable all day, but just her shoulder can fix it? i think there's something wrong with that.

by the time marie and kelly got done, i was dead tired. i went to the break room with her, and while she called her mom, i sat on the floor and nearly fell asleep. she dragged me halfway to the stairs before i finally stood up, and then she stopped on our way out to flirt with kyle and tyrone. i was too tired to be much bothered, but i decided if she was going to flirt, it would be a while, so i may as well have a seat. so i plopped down in the middle of the floor, and kinda slumped over. instead of flirting back, kyle told marie, 'damn, you'd better get that girl home.'
and so she did. stopped in mid-flirt, took me by the hand, pulled me up, and said, 'ok sleepy, let's go.'
i slumped down in the passanger's seat, and she asked in concern, 'are you depressed? do we need to sit down and talk again?'
'no, i think i just need to sleep,' i tell her.
she joked about me sleeping in the fridge tonight. i mumbled, 'yeah, but even if i put it on its side, you'd have to cut a hole in my head to fit the freezer in.'
she started laughing, and i realize i said it backwards. twice in a day... she teases me about that, and about terrie talking in my head, and i say, 'you knew what i meant, though.'
she smiles and tells me, 'you're so cute. i love you.'
i still don't know how to respond to that, so i don't.
she repeats, 'i love you.'
i answer, 'ummm... ok.'
she says, 'you're supposed to say 'i love you too.''
'i love you too,' i echo dutifully.
'are you just saying that?'
'i love you too,' i repeat.
she asks, 'do you love molly?'
i don't, or i don't think so. some people say they love their friends. i don't feel right saying that. i like molly and she is probably my best friend right now. but love...? i am afraid to say love. i loved christine. i loved holly. that's as far as love goes for me. i don't think i love molly. i don't even think i love marie, although i like her in almost every possible way... i tell her, 'ummm, i dunno.'
'you don't know?'
she pauses, and then asks slowly, 'so do you love christine?'
who was talking about christine? that came out of nowhere... i haven't even seen her in what, 6 months? and out of the blue, marie asks if i love her? i play dumb. i ask, 'christine...?'
because hey, i know more than one christine, and if i didn't love this one, it might not be obvious that this is who she means...
she replies, 'yeah. christine.'
no last name needed. she knows that i know who she means. playing dumb is just not working for me today...
i don't want to say yes. i don't know what love means to her, or what she'll think i feel for christine if i say yes. but saying no would be a lie, and i don't want to do that either. instead, i skip over the question, and answer, 'i miss christine. i like christine.'
we stop at a red light and she turns to look at me. i avoid her gaze, but i feel her eyes on me. they don't let up from me until after the light turns green, and i feel like she's just read every thought in my mind. i feel like she asked the question because she knew the answer... i never said anything about christine to her, not like that... i told her the coming out of the closet story, and i said stuff about her here and there, when she got fired... but i never said anything that i thought would indicate that christine meant that much more to me than any other co-worker... i think rashid knows i like marie and he knows i'm gay, and he's playing. marie knew i was gay before i told her, and i think she knows i love christine. i feel helpless and transparent. i slump a little lower...

then, like she knows how i'm feeling, she reaches out and touches my leg lightly. she tells me, 'you're my little debbie. i love you.'
she doesn't wait for me to reply this time. she just asks, 'so how do you not know if you love molly, and you won't say if you love christine, but you love me? are you just saying that to make me shut up?'
'pretty much,' i tell her.
she sighs. 'but i love you. and you don't love me?'
'i don't love... love... love is... i don't know.'
'don't you love your parents?'
'you don't love your mommy?'
'your daddy?'
'your sister?'
'your brother?'
'my brother is a jerk.'
she laughs, but then sobers up and says, 'that's awful. that you don't love them, i mean...'
i don't know if it is. i don't know what love is, maybe. maybe i do love my family, and i just don't know it... but i don't think i do. i mean, i like them. i care about my mom, and i appreciate everything she's done for me. there's really nothing i dislike about my mother, or my sister, or my dad. it's just that when they say 'i love you,' i clam up, and i can't say 'i love you too.' i'm afraid it might be a lie.
with holly, it hit me in a moment. i liked everything about her, but it wasn't til that night, standing in her hallway, when i realized just how wonderful she is, and my heart just kind of surged and i was filled with love for her. there was no lust... i'm not even sure that it was romantic. with holly, it might never have been romantic, and there might have been no lust. but that was love, if i've ever felt it...
and christine did it several times, gave me that same surge of happiness, made me feel loved, but at the same time, i loved her back. it happened once when she showed so much concern for me 2 years ago, during the suicide mess. it happened again when she sat outside with me, talking me out of my closet. and then it happened again later, when she checked up on me, because she didn't have to do that... she cared about me, and made me feel special, and i cared about her back, and it was wonderful... when that surge hit, it had to be love...
maybe i'm being too picky. maybe those two seemed like love because there were romantic undertones. maybe i'm not feeling that surge towards my parents or my family or my friends just because i don't have, and will never have, any desire to sleep with them. but i don't know...
and then the other problem is that i did feel that surge with marie. i felt it when i was snuggled next to her in my bed, right after i came out of the closet to her, when she held me and told me, 'see, i'm still here.'
i loved her. in that instant, i was sure i loved her. but when i leave behind the perfect world of my bedroom, things are different... maybe i realize that the emotion was only a product of the situation, and that anybody could have been in her position, and if they had done what she did and said what she said, i would probably have loved them too. or maybe she's a different person in real life, and i don't love her any more. or maybe i just don't want to let myself love her; i'm not sure. all i know is that this car ride has caused me to do way more thinking than i bargained for, and it's sure not helping my mood any.

we get to my place, and i'm still slumped over. she tells me i have to get up and i don't want to. i'm comfy, i'm tired, her car has air conditioning, and there's something comforting about her... i want a hug. finally, i start to get up, and i gather my stuff and open the door, and i feel miserable. i don't want to go inside feeling like this... in a flash of bravery, i ask, 'can i have a hug?'
she hugs me, pulling me close, and then gently kisses my forehead. i hug her back, and when i let go, she says, 'sleep well, sweetie.'
i tell her 'night,' and go inside. i feel better, a little. i'm still tired. the ac is still broken. my head is still overcrowded with unhappy thoughts. but somewhere in me, i can still feel her arms around me and her lips on my forehead, and i feel like it will all be ok...

this is the kind of journal entry you get when i'm dead tired. i ramble nonsensically, and i have no motivation to stop typing, either, because i know that i'll never be able to fall asleep in this heat... tomorrow, i work 8 hours at udf, and then i work all night at the grocery store, 8 more hours, until 7 a.m. i don't know if i can survive that. maybe i'll go take an ice cold shower, and see if i can fall asleep before i thaw out. if that doesn't work, i'm seriously thinking about sneaking into an air-conditioned campus building and sleeping on a bench...