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'i think she liked you. she wanted to be there for you...'
stupidfool
jane and i talked about christine today. jane says she shoved the money in her sock. the security people watched her do it on the security camera. jane was right there, in the office, when she did it for the last time. jane never even noticed. christine had propped her leg up on a drawer, and let her hand dangle at her side, holding a 50-dollar-bill, and with her other hand, she was adding on a calculator. she never stopped adding, but she just casually slipped the money into her sock.
i still don't believe she did it... i mean, i believe it. she told me she did it. she got fired for doing it... she admitted to it... but she was such a good person. she was always looking out for me, and she was so nice, to everybody... i still don't understand how such a good person could have done such a bad thing.

we talk about my job interview. i tell her how nervous i was, and i tell her about the grandma and the kid in the shopping cart, and the table that squeaked when i wiggled, and christine eating a sandwich.
she laughs and calls me rainman, and then jokes, 'anything else you remember about that interview?'
i tell her yeah, and i tell her about amit, and i tell her about christine on the stairs, and how she knew, even though i didn't say a word, that i was worried about where to find rhonda, and how she reassured me.

then we talk about jim. she asks if i still talk to him, and i say i e-mail him sometimes. she says now, that entire harrassment thing is almost funny, because it was so horrible. she laughs and says, 'poor jim, he just kept saying, i thought we were friends... i didn't know it was harrassment; i thought it was friendship! and everybody was being so strict, and telling him that he had to leave the girls alone... i felt horrible for him.'
i reply, 'but i don't get it. were you there that night?'
she thinks about it, and then answers, 'no, i wasn't, because i remember hearing about it the next day, and being confused, becuase everything they said about everybody seemed so... out-of-character, i guess. they said that jim was harrassing you, and the last i heard, you were friends. and they said that you just ran out of the store in the middle of your shift, all upset about jim, and you were always so responsible and together that i couldn't imagine you doing that.'
'i did run away,' i told her, 'but i don't understand where anybody got the idea that jim was harrassing me.'
'christine,' she replies simply.
'christine?!? but... but... why?'
'do you want to know what i think?'
'yeah,' i say.
'i think christine was a good person, and she always had the best of intentions... she just made some mistakes, and that was one of them. taking the money was another... i think she liked you. she wanted to be there for you. you know, like a big hug and a promise that it will be ok. she wanted to be the one to help you solve your problems, and if you weren't having problems, she wanted to feel like you did, so she could feel like she was helping you.'
i don't know what to say. the thing is, christine did help me... i think christine helped me more in that one night than anybody has ever helped me with anything. i want to explain that to jane... i want her to understand that christine couldn't just tell the truth about my 'problems,' and about how she helped me, becuase i made her promise not to tell...
i say, 'but... she did. i ran, i got scared, because jim...'
i don't know. i don't know how to say this. i should just tell the truth... but i can't. i think i'm destined to spend the rest of my life in the closet.
jane asks patiently, 'jim what?'
'jim was mad at me. because you remember, i asked you if he still liked me.'
jane laughs and says she remembers how me and molly used to always ask her about jim, because they were buddies.
i laugh and continue, 'yeah, and you and terrie were here, and you didn't answer, but terrie did. she answered me, even though i didn't want the answer, not to that question, and then she told jim that i asked. he got mad because he thought that if i wanted to know, i should have asked him. and i wanted to tell him that i hadn't really asked the right question. so i went, but then i got scared, and i ran away, and christine was there, and i guess i wound up telling her the real question... and maybe she just said that, inside, because she promised me she wouldn't say the truth...'
i hate telling half-truths... and i'm too scared to tell the whole truth. i drive myself crazy.
jane doesn't say anything about all the blanks i left in that story. she just shakes her head and says, 'but poor jim...'
then the phone rings, and i pick it up, and the conversation is over. at least, that's all we say out loud. in my mind, though, the conversation never stops. it just cycles, over and over, and i miss christine because jane is right. christine did want to be there for me. i don't know why she cared so much about me, when i was so childish, and never appeared to appreciate it, or to return the feeling, but she did. christine looked out for me and she took care of me and i miss her... i want to see her again. i want to give her a hug and thank her, and make her understand how much she meant to me... she was there for me, always, and i never showed her any appreciation. i took her concern and soaked it up, like she owed it to me. i knew that she didn't, and it always meant a lot to me, but i'm dumb about stuff like that. i don't express my feelings. i was concerned for her, but i couldn't say it. i worried about her, but i couldn't show it. i appreciated her, but i never expressed it... and still, greeted with no appreciation from my side, she continued to care. she was special... i've never met anybody else who cares so much, and expects so little in return. maybe she already knew that i was grateful. maybe she understood that i couldn't express myself... maybe she knew that i loved her, and that i always will, and maybe that's the reason that she was so nice to me. but what if she never knew?

alanis morissette sings, over the speakers, 'you owe me nothing for giving the love that i give... you owe me nothing for caring the way that i have... this is the only kind of love, as i understand it, that there really is...'

my mind is a million miles away. i miss her... i thought i was over this. it's been almost a year since the last time i've talked to christine, and it's been a long time since i've missed her this much... it just seems like the longer i live, the more i realize that nobody will ever compare to her. when i have problems, my friends are there, some of the time. when i'm upset, marie cares, some of the time. but it's different. i do stuff for them... we're friends... they look out for me because, in a way, they're obligated to do so; they know i'd do the same for them. christine, though, really wanted to look out for me. she honestly wanted to be there for me... she cared, right from that very first day, and i never had to try to get her attention, or to exaggerate things to make her care... she noticed even when i was silent. i miss her like crazy, and i feel guilty, or maybe selfish, for never telling her how much i appreciate it...

i'm going crazy. i have so much schoolwork to do that i probably won't even sleep tonight, but all i can think about is christine... i just want to find her. terrie went to see christine at work, for something about the cable company... maybe i could find out from terrie which location she worked at, and then i could go until she was working... and... and what? go there by myself, and eat? i'd feel like a loser. sit in the parking lot, and wait for her to come outside? because that's not like stalking her or anything... i'm so stupid. if i saw her today, do you think she'd even remember me? if i thanked her, do you think she'd even remember that i had something to thank her for? what if she's forgotten already? i will spend the rest of my life being haunted by the memory of her, and she probably doesn't even remember that i exist...