There is nothing more I can think of to say to you
“So tell me about yourself. Who is the real you?”.
My skin tone, usually the color of rich coffee bean seeds, takes on a sickly ash. “Tell me about yourself”…baby, you can do better.
I met him a month ago. He sat at the empty seat next to mine. We exchanged class notes and numbers, we studied for quizzes forever, we worked on group projects as partners, and we made fun of Professor Zhou Wang’s Chinese flavored English together. I liked him, I thought he was different. Life was beautiful.
And then he asked me to talk about myself.
“I guess I’m more of your girl next door, approachable, friendly, just….regular”.
I hate the words I have uttered. They are so cliché, a nice short speech to recite when some Curious Charly asked that i expose the “real” me. It sickens me that I always say the wrong things. Half the things I say aren’t what I really mean, how I really feel. Of course I am fibbing, I don’t really think I’m regular; I’ve never for a second thought I was regular. I think I am from the world but not of the world. I relate to the people around me, but I relate from a safe distance, empathize from a spot away from all the chaos. I am on a different level. Not necessarily a higher level, just a different one.
“Tell me more”.
I shift uneasily in my seat and search my mind. Who am I and how do I put together a decent mental essay that sums up my 19 years of life in the fraction of some seconds? Where do I begin, from conception to date, from my first baby steps, or do I skip the details and paint a broad picture?
I like writing. Would he find it interesting or would he dismiss it like everyone else does. Would he wait for me to say more, and be a little disappointed to find out that there really isn’t that much more to say? Hi. I’m Ada, and I like to write. That pretty much sums up all my likes. I hate animals. I’m not interested in sports. Fashion is whatever. Music is alright. Oh, but I like writing though. Every tom, dick and harry loves writing these days, I know. But can i help that i happen to be just another person with dreams of becoming a bestselling author. No.
“I write. It’s a hobby” I say, searching his face for some sort of approval, then I get mad at myself for needing his approval.
“Oh, that’s…interesting. What type of things do you write about?”. I see the exaggerated interest, it looks familiar. I’ve seen it on many other faces. The smile that doesn’t reach the lips, the patronizing sweetness in their tone.
“Currently writing my first book. I’ve written hundred pages already. It’s about the plight of three women in a fictitious African Nation. It has political and religious undertones, and there’s a bit of homosexuality. It’s a melting pot of different ideas”. There is an unmistakable pride that envelopes me when I talk about the novel I’m working on; it’s hard not to get a little protective when it comes up in a conversation, 100 pages of my thoughts and Ideas. Nights spent conceiving beautiful sentences of flowery prose. Talking about my writing gets me emotional.
He nods and does a bad job of feigning interest. Mumbles something that sounds like “fascinating”, before asking me what else I like to do. I pretend not to be hurt; it always hurts me when people are quick to push aside my writing goals.
“Oh you’re writing a novel. How…ambitious”.
“You want to be a writer? Well, so does my sister’s friend’s cousin. And her grandma”.
“What do you do for fun, do you go clubbing?” He asks, prodding me for more. The inquisitive nature i had though of as cute some days ago, now ceases to hold any appeal. Why is he so certain there’s got to be more.
“No. I write actually. That’s what I do for fun”. I sound defensive, passively aggressive. I look at him and meet his stare just as intensely, daring him to ask me If there’s more to me than constructing fictitious stories on paper. Daring him to make me continue this agonizing task of describing my very essence in words that fall flat and fail to leave a lasting impression, words that would never be good enough to do my character justice.
I continue to hold the stare, my single act of defiance. I stare back at him for what seems like an eternity, and then breathe a sigh of relief when he finally walks away.
Inspired by a beautiful quote by Robin Hobb in The tawny man trilogy.
“You seek a false comfort when you demand that I define myself for you with words. Words do not contain or define a person; a heart can if it is willing. But I fear yours is not. You know more of the whole of me than any other person who breathes, yet you persist in insisting that all of that cannot be me. What would you have me cut off and leave behind? And why must I truncate myself in order to please you?”
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You’re currently reading “There is nothing more I can think of to say to you,” an entry on Kitkat's Tales
- August 31, 2012 / 10:24am08