CIRCLES – Prologue and Chapter 1

We all spent hours in his room-mate’s room, talking about nothing and everything. I kept looking at him. I wanted to reach out and kiss him and hold him. I started dropping hints about what I wanted. I was going crazy. I needed him again so much. Eventually, I decided to call it a night and went to his room. I lay in bed waiting for him to join me. When he finally did, he changed, got into bed and fell asleep. I lay there for a while, stunned. What the heck?

“So, I need to ask you something.”

We were sitting in his living room. The morning had gone by pretty fast and I needed to head out soon. But we hadn’t had sex again since Friday night and I didn’t get it. He looked up from his computer when I spoke, a questioning look on his face.

“I just don’t understand last night or this morning. You asked me to come over, in the middle of the night, and we had sex just once? That’s not what I was expecting,” I said, the disappointment evident in my tone. I folded my arms across my chest and stared at him.

He shrugged his typical nonchalant shrug. It irritated me.

“Well?” I needed an answer.

“I actually didn’t mean for Friday to happen,” he said.

“What? You asked me to come here,” I said, perplexed.

“To chat and cuddle.”

“Listen, you started kissing me, within ten minutes. You initiated this.”

“I know. You and I are such good friends, and it’s really good the way it is now. And I think that sex would complicate the way we are. And lately, those arguments we’ve had, it’s because we sleep together. I think you and I would be better friends if we don’t sleep together at all.”

I stared at him for what felt like a lifetime. I couldn’t speak.

The bastard. The ignorant, insensitive bastard!

“Those arguments, it’s because you did something wrong to me. Actually, scratch that, it’s because you keep doing really crappy things. It has nothing to do with whether or not we’re having sex. You messed up. You shouldn’t have done the stuff you did. Even if we weren’t still physically involved, it’d still be wrong. I don’t get how you don’t understand this very simple thing. You messed up, that’s just the bottom line.”

“I don’t want to argue, I really don’t. I think you and I are really good as friends. It just works better that way.”

So why hadn’t he thought of that Friday night? I wondered.

“You should have thought of that on Friday, seriously.”

I took a deep breath and stared at him. There was no use saying more. He wouldn’t understand. He’d never been able to understand me. Never! I ran my hands through my hair, trying to calm my nerves. My heart was beating fast. I could feel tears well up in my eyes. I didn’t even know why they were there. I was upset and disappointed in myself and the situation I was in. I was bitter and angry. I was twenty-nine years old and nothing had changed since I was fifteen. Nothing was any different. I was in a job I loved more than anything, but I was still involved with people I really should have cut loose years ago. I was a writer on CNN’s International Desk, and I was really good at my job. But everything else was falling apart around me. I tried desperately to maintain control. And then I had it, an epiphany. That’s what Oprah calls it, that sudden OMG moment, that realization that hits you, and feels like it’s been there all along: epiphany.

I have had so many epiphanies. I don’t even know if they were really truly epiphanies. But I realized I was having one more right now. I knew I had to start living my life, my dreams, right now. Not tomorrow. Not next week or worse, next year. It had to be right now. Is that really an epiphany? Doesn’t everyone know you have to live your life? Every life coach, guru, parent, teacher, everyone harps on about it, right? You have to live your life. Easier said than done, my friends, easier said than done.

I didn’t want to be thirty-five and bitter; bitter about where I was and what I was doing and whom I was with. I needed to be in control. I needed to live for me, be me, do me. In some ways, I should feel lucky right? I am not yet thirty, I am single and I have no children. Isn’t that the best way to wipe the slate clean? Not necessarily. I wasn’t thirty yet, but I had packed so much into twenty-nine that made me feel like forty. I had baggage on my shoulders that was dragging me down, history that I just can’t seem to shake.

This was my life. Why couldn’t I just start over? Why won’t these haunting thoughts go away? I am tied so strongly to the past and I am not even sure why. Didn’t Jesus Christ die so we could all have a clean slate? But I am still haunted, still swimming in a pool of murky memories. Living in the past had brought me to this point, sitting in his living room, listening to the same nonsense he’d been spewing all these years. How had I gotten to this point? I realized it was time to re-evaluate my life and the choices I had made. Why was I still in this damn awful ridiculous situation? What was wrong with me? Wise people say you need to learn from the past; you need to learn from experience. A friend also recently told me, “Assess yourself and your life first, and then move on.” I hadn’t done that. I had been bumbling through life, just going through the motions without stopping to take stock of what I was doing and why.

I really didn’t want to remember my past though. I wanted to move on. I wanted to let it all go, but I really couldn’t. I couldn’t will myself to move on. Emotionally, physically, mentally and whatever else—all tied to the past. I went to his room and lay on the bed. I decided to attempt the pseudo psychology stuff, take that trip down memory lane I had been avoiding. I had to tackle the painful task of evaluating my disastrous past. I closed my eyes. Bring it on. Let’s get this done. I need to move on.