December 1998

"...maybe you would understand
Why I feel this way about our love
And what I must do"
-- Tonic, "If you could only see"

I've been thinking quite a bit in the last couple weeks about what I actually have done for my love. (Still Paul -- almost; in other words *status quo*.)

(Unfortunately, no written word could ever replace the richness of expression in the human voice, though I'll do my best to make it clear through what limited resources 26 letters and a few punctuation marks have.)

Perhaps the worst thing is in that human voice: I can't find what I want it to say when I need it to say something. Only after it's too late do I think about what I should have said, *could* have said, SHOULD have said. Paul's got this bipolarity to him - he's either smiling and laughing and all is well, or he's pissed off at everything and everyone; he can switch at the drop of a hat, and we've caught eyes a couple of times just right, which causes him to smile in that annoyingly addictive way he has, and it's like the whole room lights up, but in a second it's back to its old gloom. Being able to affect him like that just makes it worse: I know I have the ability to change his mood, I just don't know HOW!

Yet, I have found the voice to speak for other people, especially if Paul is one of the little people. (and when you're 6' 3", most people are little people.) Ms. Taylor, the biology teacher we happen to have, has no clue that nobody has a clue about what she's teaching, and one day I decided to call her on it. It wasn't the confrontation I'd planned, and nor was it the confrontation I promised when she proved me right. (84% of people missed one question on the test I was complaining about! EIGHTY-four! And my parents wonder why I say I feel like the students have no voice in the school -- we were only *ALL* saying how we were going to fail that test as we came in that day!)

I've also done the biggest things people do for love: I've started to forsake my friends and change my habits. It's not really that bad with the friends; it was on a standardized test where you fill out these questions about your background that make you feel like your privacy has been violated, yet you don't mark the "no response" bubble. Instead of sitting next to a friend, I moved over closer to Paul. I was able to get some good information about Paul, like his home address(!) and career plans (Engineering). (I wonder if he knows that I'm stalking him like this.?) The routine part is mainly using him as an excuse to get some books and put away others, instead of leaving them in my locker or carrying them with me all the time. The first time we ended walking together, he ended up being totally thrown off. (Didn't even know what class he was going to or how to get there!) I don't know whether it was me or just that he was going a different route than he normally used, or what.

Another thing that I've started doing is beating myself up (figuratively) for not knowing what I can't know in the first place, such as whether he's ever thought about how he's changing what he's doing for me, or whether his feelings are as deep as mine, or why he acts as if I don't exist in front of some friends but with others he might as well kiss me on the lips, and so forth and so on...

Anyway, it's 10:00 and I have to wake up at 5:00 tomorrow morning, and I'm already late on getting this column in.

Going 0-for-4 on being on time,

(Thanks for the mail, and pardon my inability to use the "reply" button)

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