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well, i saw christine. but it wasn't at all a good thing, so i'm just going to take this in chronological order...

tuesday, i slept 1 hour, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. then i worked on the stupid project, and went to work. i don't really remember it. all i remember is that jane said something to me about helping her train molly on register, and i didn't think molly was going to be a cashier-i thought she was going to be a stocker. but it's possible that jane just wanted to see if i was awake. i wasn't.

i came home, and worked on the project some more, but it was going slowly because i was too tired to think. i took a 2-hour nap, from 1 a.m. (wednesday morning) to 3 a.m. then i got up and worked on it some more. at 9 a.m. i moved to the lab, which had opened for the day, and the other group members came in and out between classes to help (although really, only molly and jack were much help). i went to class and got back my midterm. 85%. the class average was a 75%. even a curve won't take me very far. i probably should have studied... then i went back to the lab, and worked some more, right through the time i expected christine to come. i was so tired that i hardly even remembered who christine was... it was due at midnight. we got it in at 3 minutes after midnight, and it wasn't my fault...

when all that was over (if you didn't do the math, that was 3 hours of sleep in about 78 hours), i came home and crashed. i slept 12 hours, woke up, and checked my email. jim sent me something... it was no big deal, as far as emails go. it had some goofy subject line, and the body was one line-'oh, so just because i don't work with you anymore means that you're going to ignore me now, huh?' i know he's just joking around. i know he just wants me to write him back. i'm guessing that he wanted to keep up our friendship, but didn't want to be the one to send the long friendly e-mail like we used to do, just in case i really did want to forget about him now that he didn't work with me. so i'm going to answer him... but what bothers me is the reaction i had when i saw the email from him, before i even read it. i didn't want it to be there. i like jim, i really do, but i had wanted him to forget about me. i had wanted him to stop caring. i knew i would feel abandoned and hurt, and i would miss him, but i wanted it anyway... i don't really know why. part of the reason is christine, i think. she left me, and stopped talking to me, and i didn't want him to be better than christine, because christine is the best-she has to be. and i think it might also have something to do with my closet... i feel like if jim's gone, and christine's gone, then i'll miss being out of the closet, and i'll want to come out to other people, and i know that's the right thing to do. but as long as jim's still around, i might not feel so alone... i might not want to come out to anybody else, if i still have jim... and that's not what i need, i think. or i don't know. really, i can't think about that much right now.

also, i read jay's comment about marie, and here is my best attempt to convince her that marie might not want me:
marie wanted christine. i can guarantee that. because marie wanted christine, she practically stalked christine. she got christine's phone number, and called her all the time. she always asked christine to do things with her, and invited her places. marie does none of this to me. i know that it's possible that marie learned from her mistakes with christine. it's also possible that she has different levels of want, and the way she deals with 'wanting' me is just different from the way she dealt with wanting christine.
but i also think it's possible that she just thinks i'm a fun toy... or a little kid...
see, people have different reactions to my 7-year-old. some people (like my parents) think it's ridiculous that a 20-year-old spends so much time sounding like a little kid, and they get upset, and tell me to grow up. some people (like molly and katie) have just accepted that sometimes i am 7 and sometimes i am 20. they figure that both of them are me, and they like both versions of me, and they don't really think to distinguish between my 7-year-old and my 20-year-old. other people (like christine, billie, and jane) love my 7-year-old, and think it's hilarious. they laugh at it, but always either hide their laughter or reassure me that it's a good kind of laugh, or that i'm great, or that they love me, to make sure i don't feel bad. and other people (like amit and marie) love to laugh at my 7-year-old so much that they do things to encourage it. amit knows that if he throws a stuffed animal at me, my 7-year-old will handle the reaction. and marie knows that if she does any of that flirty-type stuff with me, it's going to get a reaction from my 7-year-old. so i can't be 100% sure that she doesn't want me. but i tend to think that if she did, she would act more obsessive, like she did with christine. and since she's not acting like that with me, it could just mean that she likes to laugh at my 7-year-old.

i went to work. terrie was there, and so was prudy. the only time terrie talked to me, she called me over the intercom, and asked me if i would run her register for a minute, and she'd do self-check for me. i didn't know why, but i said sure. i discovered that it was because joe the customer (the scary man) had just gotten in her line, and she didn't want to deal with him. i just laughed, and she called after me, 'you understand now?' i don't mind joe. she can't stand him. i wonder if she's his new obsession... it was kristen, then christine, and i don't even know why he comes any more. maybe for terrie. if so, this scary old man and i have practically the same taste in girls, which is... well, scary. when he left, she came right back, and i smelled her when we switched places. she smelled good. so did taysha. girls smell good. i like girls.

then i was on self-check, and i turned to glance at the clock. i caught a glimpse of a girl at the service desk, and then turned back to self-check. it took a few seconds before i stopped to wonder... was that christine? i turned around again. her back was to me. the hair looked sort of the same, but maybe a little darker and longer than i remembered... i couldn't tell. and she wouldn't face me. i turned back to self-check and fought with myself for a while. i knew i could tell in an instant if it was her by looking at her butt. back when i worked with her, before she became my superhero, i stared at her butt so much that i could recognize it from a mile away... but i felt guilty looking at christine's butt, if it was her. finally, i turned and looked quickly. she was facing sideways now, with her face still turned away. she didn't notice me, still, but i saw her butt and her thighs and it was her... i turned back to self-check, and i was going insane. i wanted to talk to her, but i didn't know how... i knew what i wanted to say. i wanted to tell her i missed her. i wanted to tell her thank you. and i wanted to ask her about coming out of the closet to molly. but what do i do, just walk over there? at that exact moment, helen came over to run my break. i clocked out, grabbed a name tag (i had forgotten mine) and went outside to put it together. outside because that way, i couldn't miss her. on the way out, though, i caught a glimpse of her face. she wasn't looking anywhere near me, but i recognized that look... it was a bad day for her. you can tell, right away. most of the time, she's fine, and she's happy, and she's friendly, and she's nice... but sometimes, she gets... (i can not for the life of me remember the word i'm looking for. i hate it when that happens...) quiet, upset, dull, grumpy, listless... something like that... i can't remember... but when she's like that, she's not so happy... not so nice... on a regular christine day, my 7-year old makes her laugh like crazy, and she loves me. on a bad christine day, my 7-year old is lucky to get a half-hearted smile out of her. on a regular christine day, she'll talk to me, ask me about school, about molly, etc. on a bad christine day, she doesn't much care to talk to anybody, except maybe tyrone (and probably rice girl, but i don't know about that). i know this is bad... the one time i get to see christine, she's having a bad day. but still, something good has to happen... i've waited for this day for 2 months and 10 days, which is a fucking eternity to me. won't she snap out of it for me...?
outside, the problem was that it was about 30 degrees out, not counting the windchill... i was freezing. i put the name tag together, and waited, and finally decided to go back in. i could pass her then, and talk to her.
as i headed in the outer door, she headed out the inner door, and we met in the middle of the lobby. she saw me and nodded a half-hearted 'hey,' my way.
my 7-year old took over before i had a chance to stop it. it asked, in wide-eyed wonder, 'woah... you still exist?!?!'
she answered, 'yeah.'
i knew i needed to tell her i missed her. i knew i needed to thank her. i knew i had everything in the world to say, more than could ever come out now, in the middle of this crowded lobby, with christine in a bad mood, and her girlfriend standing there waiting impatiently. but it had to... my 7-year old searched for the words to try to begin, but came up only with a wide grin, and a 'cool!!!'
she started to leave, and then maybe because i was still standing there, waiting, she felt like she had to say something else to me. so she stopped and asked her default question, in that same lifeless tone: 'how's school?'
i made an icky face, because that's always my reaction to school, and she quickly changed to the question she had meant to ask-'you staying in?'
i wanted to talk to her about this too. i knew it wouldn't happen. too much about this situation was not right, but when my 7-year-old answered, it was with the hopes that my reply would make her press further-'a little bit.'
it didn't phase her at all. she remarked, 'good,' and she was about to leave...
i had to say something, to stop her from leaving, to make it so i could talk to her. i didn't even care anymore, what it was that we were talking about. i just wanted to talk to her. i blurted out, 'are you allowed to be here?'
she answered, 'no. but i need my w-2s, and i'm gunna keep coming in until i get them,' and as she finished her sentance, she was turning to leave. i nodded, which she didn't even see, and then she turned back, and said, 'do me a favor.' before i could even agree, she continued, 'tell monique i said bye.'
i repeated, to her retreating back, 'tell monique you said bye. ok,' and then i went inside and she went outside and rice girl followed her, and it was over. that was what i waited 2 months and 10 days for? that was it? it wasn't right. that had been nothing. that hadn't helped anything. why did she have to be in a bad mood today? what now? everything was cloudy in my mind. i was thinking 10 things at once, and i couldn't keep track of my thoughts. the only thing i knew for sure was that christine had asked me to do her a favor, and now that she was gone, that was my number one priority. i went straight to monique, who was on register, tossing skittles into her mouth and laughing with prudy. i told her, 'christine said to tell you bye.'
she answered, 'oh, ok, thanks,' and then the skittle missed her mouth and she and prudy cracked up. monique asked me, 'did you see that? i missed!' i nodded and tried to smile, but i couldn't really find one in me, so i just turned and went outside.
i wanted to numb my mind and my heart and everything that hurt from christine. i sat on the curb by where the fence used to be. all the wrong body parts went numb. it was fucking cold, but it didn't take the pain away... it just added a bit more discomfort to my pain.

i ached. i wanted to run away. i always want to run away from things that scare me, or hurt me, but it didn't even make sense today... i don't know what i wanted to run from, but it wasn't here. or if it was here, it was inside me, and there's no escaping that...

so, like always, i pretended it was ok. out of all the people there, it was shakara (who has known me for what, a week?) who noticed that i was upset. she looked at me in concern, and said, 'you look sad.' i shook my head no.
then she asked, 'you ok?'
christine's question. that was christine's question. why couldn't she have started it with 'are'? if she had asked 'are you ok?' i would have been able to say yes. but this is christine's question. i'm not ok. and christine is not asking. i mumbled nonsense syllables and stumbled to the bathroom. she called after me, 'are you ok?' and this time, i choked out, 'yes.' she didn't follow me. she couldn't have, really. she doesn't know me at all. it would have been weird for us both, if she had followed me into the bathroom to watch me fall apart. and she wouldn't have been able to help.
i cried. locked myself into a stall and cried, for me and for christine and for everything. and then i waited til i looked almost normal and went back up front and finished my night. i didn't stay on self-check, unless justin was there with me. i was never alone because i didn't want to let myself think. terrie was gone, but taysha was there. and kelly, annoying as she is, is always willing to talk. i sort of showed justin how to work self-check, and let him do the parts he knew how to do, like type in birthdates for cigarettes and stuff. i let him help me sort the money, and refill the change. he's a bagger, and he likes to do things that he's not supposed to do, like stock dairy, help in deli, or learn self-check... and he kept me company. jeff came in to shop, and he came over to see me and justin. then kelly came over and stood on the other side of me and justin. and taysha felt left out, and came over and put an elbow on my shoulder, and an elbow on justin's shoulder, and poked her head in the middle of the group and joined in the conversation. we were all joking and everybody was laughing, even me, a little, and taysha's arm was on my shoulder, and i started to feel a little better. christine still hurts, but i think i'm recovering faster this time. maybe i'm building an immunity...

but justin left, taysha left, kelly left... 10:00 came, and there was nothing left but a lot of carts on the lot and me and my thoughts. i brought them in and hurt all over again... and hurt while i waited on the bus... and i still hurt.

throughout the night, i managed to sort my thoughts so they weren't all tangled up any more... but i still don't know what to think...

  • she didn't care about me. she didn't want to talk to me at all. and the few words she said, she said because she's nice, and because i was standing there waiting for her to say something, not because she cared. but she didn't want to, i know it. does she still care? i know she gets funny on bad days... is it just that, or did she stop caring about me completely? i don't want that to be it. i want to think she still cares... and that she'd still talk to me, if i ever got the chance to talk to her when she's not having a bad day... but i'm afraid she doesn't care now and she won't ever care again, and that makes me sad...

  • christine said to say bye to monique. you wouldn't say bye to someone you had never said hi to. that means she must have talked to monique sometime... did she make an effort to talk to monique? i don't want to think that she likes monique better than me... but that's almost how it had to be... i guess it's possible that while i was outside putting together my nametag, monique went over to the service desk to talk to christine. i'm going to hope that's what happened... christine didn't want to talk to anybody who couldn't get her tax forms, but since monique talked to her, she felt bad leaving without saying bye...

  • christine came during the day. this is probably the same reason that alex saw her on sunday. how do i know when christine's going to come? when is a good time to check for your w-2s? how many trips to the store does it take to get your w-2s? why does she even have to come to the store for that? my w-2s got sent to the wrong address, and rhonda gave me a phone number to call. i called it from home... maybe all she needs to do is talk to rhonda... how do i know when she's going to do that? i need to be there when she comes. i need to have another chance at it. i need to talk to her. i don't work tomorrow. do you think she would come on a friday? should i go to the store? but i don't even know when to go... it's not that night thing anymore. she could come any time, because she's not avoiding ann, and she's sure not coming to see me... i feel like i need to spend every second of my life there... because i have to get another chance. that can't be the end...

  • what about calling christine now? would it make sense for me to call her now, or a few days from now, like seeing her had reminded me of her existence, and now that i remember she exists, i realized that she would be just the person to talk to about coming out to molly... or now that i remember she exists, i realized that i needed to thank her for everything she did for me... maybe if i don't see her again in a week or so, then i can call her and it will be normal... won't it seem more normal, now that i've just talked to her? and is thanking her a good reason to call her? because i really feel like i owe her a thanks... because if nothing else, that night, when i told the policelady i was leaving... i wasn't leaving to go home. i know that for a fact. i was leaving to run away. away from the store, and away from molly and away from my family and away from my life and away from everything. if she had let me leave, i don't know what would have happened. (i also don't know if i would have decided to leave, had she not been there... but she was there, and i did decide to leave, and she stopped me) i probably would have caught a bus somewhere, and maybe after a while of being away, i would have calmed down and come back. or maybe i would have gotten killed, wandering alone. i'll never know, but i think i owe her for that... she calmed me down a lot... and i know it wasn't all her words. if it had been anyone else, i might have heard them, but i wouldn't have listened. but she was the perfect combination of the right person and the right words, and it helped. i was still scared of jim, but it wasn't so bad that i felt like i couldn't go home. and she helped me through the jim thing too. even if she never talks to me about it again, don't i at least owe her a thank you? it seems like the least i could do... but would it be annoying to get a phone call from somebody, when all they had to say was thank you, and it was a thank you for something you had done almost 5 months ago... and you had seen that person a million times in between... would you wonder why they hadn't just thanked you in person, one of those millions of times?

  • i think i understand why i need to see her so much, or at least partly so. i think i understand why in the lobby, i didn't care about touching her, or looking at her. and i think i understand why it quickly became irrelevant what the topic was, if i could only talk to her. as i was getting carts in the dark, it hit me... i can talk to her. i've never even thought about it before, but christine has been special to me for a lot longer than i realized...
    i am not a serious person. for my entire life, i am the kid. i am the joker. i am the clown. everything is fun. when people have serious conversations, i make jokes or leave. i don't talk to people about real stuff. and if something goes wrong, i keep it inside me. as far as the world knows, i have no problems. that's how it has to be, because when things get serious, i get uncomfortable. i squirm and fidget and smile and laugh at the wrong times. i don't know why i'm like that, but i am. i just can't have a serious conversation. they make me run away. alana was the first friend who got to see that i occasionally got upset. this was before her boyfriend, and before i thought of her as anything but a friend. we were both battling depression. she would get depressed, and not know why, and she would come to me. i would get depressed, and know why (i was gay and i felt lonely and isolated), and go to her. i wouldn't tell her the complete truth, but i would let her see that i was upset. i couldn't help her, and she couldn't help me, but misery loves company, and we both took some comfort in the fact that we weren't alone. and sometimes, we would talk religion, which was a serious topic that nobody else had ever heard me discuss. there was a lot of me that she wasn't seeing, but she was seeing more of me than anybody else did. i liked it. i didn't like feeling upset, but i liked being able to talk about it when i did. and i liked that i didn't have to make a joke out of everything. i liked that i could be serious with her, and not feel uncomfortable. things changed, though... i fell in love with her... she got on medicine for clinical depression... she met her boyfriend, and started going to him with serious things... we drifted apart, and molly became my better friend, but i don't think i could ever talk to molly like i could talk to alana.
    since i stopped talking to alana, christine is the only person who has heard me be serious. i didn't realize that until now... before i even had this livejournal, i was having serious conversations with her. most of the time, i was 7, and i think that was why she liked me so much, because she loved my 7-year-old, but i think she also recognized that there was a 20-year-old under there, and when she took the time to speak seriously to my 20-year-old, it answered. we talked about guns and suicide... she would talk about my future with me... it wasn't often, but with her, i didn't always avoid those topics. it wasn't always a joke. sometimes, i let myself tell her the truth. and the more i knew and liked her, the more i trusted her... now, christine and i have had discussions on suicide, depression, sexuality, death, religion, abortion, friendships, relationships... i don't think there's anything that i wouldn't feel comfortable discussing with her. she might love my 7-year-old, but she also knew and cared about me. i miss being me. i miss telling the truth. i miss having a real conversation, and i don't know where i can find one, besides her. jim jokes around as much as i do. and the one time we tried to get serious, and discuss my sexuality, we were both uncomfortable. we can joke about it, and talk about hot girls, and any of that. i like that, because i like having him know the truth... but there's a big difference between being comfortable with him knowing the truth, and being comfortable talking seriously to him about it. i can't talk to him about it, but i could talk to christine. i want to talk to her. i want to be serious. i want to be deep. i want to be me. that's why i don't care so much what i say to her, as long as it's serious, and that's why i'm so bothered by today-because it wasn't serious. talking about coming out of the closet would have been ideal, because it would have been a serious conversation and it would have helped me with my future. but school would have been fine, if we could have actually talked about it-why i might want to quit, and why i should probably stay in. i just want to be back on that curb, having a serious conversation. or back on that bench, dicussing why i should be in school... because that was for real. she was thinking, and i was thinking, and she was reading the thoughts i didn't say, and talking to me about them. or back in her car, when she was driving me home last year, talking about wanting to die, and why i shouldn't. there is something wonderful about sitting down with somebody, and being able to be completely honest about real topics... you feel like a real person, connecting with another real person, not just a 7-year-old making the grown-ups laugh.
    i want her to help me out of the closet. and i want her to be my superhero. and i want her to have serious conversations with me, every now and then, so i don't forget what it's like to be a real person.
    is that too much to ask for from a person who probably doesn't even care about me anymore?