By Anthony Paull
For the sake of keeping things fresh, I’m taking on a thrilling, new mysterious role in my relationship by keeping my boyfriend guessing about my exact location at any given time. The problem is the plan keeps backfiring. I wish I had more energy, but I’m too lazy to go out, so I rely on hiding in the bathroom, where I refuse to shit. I just hold and hold until diamonds are born. That’s my theory, which I’m sticking to because I want my love to work, even if my boyfriend thinks I’m lying and eating too much fiber. I must cast myself in a heavenly light. Therefore, I don’t eat. I don’t shit. I don’t…I don’t know exactly what I do, but I need to be mysterious doing it. Does that make sense?
“Not really,” says my bud Gabe. “If you want mystery then you need to vanish completely. That’s how I keep my man interested.”
Too bad Gabe doesn’t have a man. Yes, he had a two-week rendezvous with a svelte bartender, but that ended when the guy started pretending to like girls again and stopped returning his calls. Now, I’m the only one left to pick up the receiver.
“He used the word ‘love.’ How could he do that?” Gabe asks me on the phone. Then hanging up, he updates his Facebook status, spouting inspirational messages to his friends and family. He says it gets him through the day.
It’s not whom you’re with but who you are. Love yourself before loving anyone else. Believe you can and you will. Aim for the stars, you might miss the moon. There is no “I” in relationship….
“Actually, yes there is,” I reply to his thread.
Deleting the comment, Gabe says I’m not being a good friend. I should accept him for “who he is and what he’s going through.” He’s just trying to stay busy to keep himself from contacting the bartender. Besides, it’s my fault he’s in this mess. I’m the one who suggested they go out.
“I told you date him, not fall in love,” I say. “I don’t get it. It’s been two weeks. Why are you so attached? You don’t even know his last name.”
“That’s because we were on a first name basis,” he defends. “Right off, we had that kind of connection. Why doesn’t he want to be in my life? My life is amazing.”
Taking to Facebook, he continues his declaration, announcing the countless ways in which his life is grand. Even the most trivial things in his day are fabulous, down to the way the sun peeks through his window in the morning. It’s phenomenal, the way it seems to wink just for me! In fact, his life is so amazing that he barely has time to call me unless he’s having a breakdown. Even then, it’s not a breakdown but a breakthrough.
“He hasn’t called!” Gabe declares, after not hearing from the bartender in two weeks. “And I’ve been good. I’m not calling him either. I’m just staying invisible.”
“That’s smart,” I reply. “If he’s interested, he’ll find you.”
“I feel so liberated!” he sings. Then a breath later, he’s back to his torch song. “But I don’t understand it. What did I do wrong?”
“Nothing. You just might not be right for him.”
“But why? Aren’t I good enough?”
I laugh, but haven’t we all asked ourselves the same thing? Why can’t we just be satisfied with the fact that most people we date are not going to devote their lives to us even if we are amazing? Still, Gabe can’t allow such a thought to resonate in his head. He’s on a mission to reclaim his man.
I figure that’s why I wake the next morning to find he’s in a relationship with a new boy named Sebastian. It’s complicated, the relationship status states. The two met during a dolphin ride on a Caribbean cruise last year. That’s Gabe’s story, though he gets quiet when I question why Sebastian has no Facebook friends.
“Why would he need friends? I’m all that he needs,” Gabe says.
I urge him to delete the profile. “No one is buying it. You put his hometown as an island that’s not even a real island. It’s an island owned by a cruise ship.”
“Look. It’s surrounded by water. That makes it an island,” he declares. “Why can’t you be supportive?”
“Because you’re lying, and you named him after a ‘Little Mermaid’ character,” I say. Then sighing, I calm down, fearing I’ll hurt him even more. “What are you doing, Gabe? Are you trying to make that bartender jealous?”
On the phone, his voice cracks, as he begins to cry. “I…I just want someone in my life. Everyone else on Facebook seems so happy.”
“Do you really think they’re happy though?”
“I don’t know what to think anymore,” he admits. “I’m just tired of feeling like I can’t compete.”
When did Facebook become about competition? I don’t know about Gabe, but I remember when it was about connecting with friends, sharing pics and party invites. Yet perhaps he’s right. Lately, it seems my family and friends have become more regulated, afraid of what they’re mothers or co-workers might think, leading to newsfeed full of information that’s generally cheery enough to require an airsick bag. I love my husband. My life is so amazing. Every day is a gift. Yes, it’s good to remain positive, but at what point do we cause a detriment to those on our page? Honestly, lately, I find myself applauding anyone on Facebook willing to share a bit of weakness. To me, that’s positive as well. That helps people like Gabe see that he’s not alone. So maybe I’ll start shedding some mystery and sharing sorrow too. After all, it hurts shitting diamonds, and I don’t want Gabe believing that a boyfriend or society should expect him to.