A Conversation

//note: a friend is putting together a collection of stories and asked me to contribute to it. It revolves around the idea of a “gremlin,” which is a personification of the overly-critical parts of ourselves. I decided to bring this blog back from the dead with this, so enjoy.

It’s late Sunday night, or maybe early Monday morning, and the remnant heat of the day is making sleep impossible. So I turn to my phone and spend a few moments browsing around. Instagram, reddit, tap, tap, tap, just going through the motions without reading or processing any of the things I come across. Then, a notification pops up. 

It’s from Tinder, and it tells me that there are hot singles in my area, but with more words and charm. I stare at it for a few moments, then give in, and am soon tap, tap, swiping my way through profiles. 

Dude, what are you doing?

Swipe, swipe, swipe.

You know this is a waste of time, right?

Swipe, swipe. Pinch to zoom, swipe.

Would you really want to be with someone who was desperate enough to settle for you?

That’s not a fair assumption to make.

Oh yeah?

Yeah. I’m funny, I’m nice. I think I’m fun to be around.

And how have all of those redeeming qualities worked out for you so far?

Well . . . 

Just drowning in long-term relationships, are we?

Shut up.

No, seriously. Your longest relationship was what, two months?

What’s your point?

My point is that this is a waste of time. Nothing good will come from this.

You don’t know that.

But I do. I have the historical records to prove it.

Swipe, swipe, swipe.

Dating you is just a process that people go through, where they gradually realize that they don’t want to be with you. 

Ouch.

You know what the one common denominator is in all of your failed relationships?

Enlighten me.

It’s you, dude. The other person, their place in life, your place in life, they are always different. The one thing that is present in every failed relationship is you.

That’s pretty fucking harsh.

I don’t hear you disagreeing with it. 

Because this is bullshit and you’re not worth engaging with. You’re nothing more than the worst parts of me.

Oh no, there are definitely worse parts of you. And that doesn’t prove me wrong.

Swipe, swipe.

Let’s be realistic here. Your life is stunted. There’s something innately wrong with you that prevents people from wanting to get close to you.

That sounds melodramatic.

Sure, characterize it however you like, but you can’t dispute the truth of it. Your attempts to improve your life have changed nothing about how interested other people are in you. 

And think of all the health problems that you have. Who would willingly put up with that for the long haul? You’re a wreck, not just mentally but physically as well. And you’ve got stretch marks everywhere.

You flatter me.

You can use all the humor you want, but that won’t change your ultimate fate: you will always be alone. Sure, you can go on dates with people, and maybe even go on second dates with some of them. But you will never know the joy of having someone that you can truly call a partner. And without a partner, you will never be able to afford a home, you will never be able to create a foundation for your life. You will stagnate.

That’s a grim destiny you’ve prescribed for me.

And think of this: when you’re sick, there will be no one there to care for you. When you’re scared, or anxious, there will be no one there to comfort you or give you support.

That’s not true. Even if I don’t have a romantic partner, my friends will be there for me.

Oh yes, let’s talk about your friends. Your inability to find a partner means that they have to carry the burden of supporting you. That’s unfair to them.

They don’t mind, that’s just what friends do. And I’d happily do the same thing for them.

Sure, they say they don’t mind. But how often do you turn to them for support, compared to how often they turn to you.

My friends have partners, so they already have someone in their lives offering that kind of  support.

But that’s the point. They have their own lives and own lived ones to care about. It’s fucked up to pile your own shit on top of that.

I don’t think I’ve been unreasonable with any of them. At least, I hope I haven’t.

Let’s pretend what you’re saying is true, then. If not for the sake of your friends, please stop this 

at least for your own sake.

For my own sake? I’ve been resilient so far.

So far, but again, your longest relationship was two months, and how long were you broken for after that? 

Swipe, swipe, scroll.

It was a long time, in case you’ve forgotten. But, speaking purely hypothetically, what if you did find someone that took a long time to realize that they weren’t interested in sharing their life with you? What if it took them a year, or longer? How long would it take you to recover from that?

Swipe, swipe.

I’m not trying to be an asshole here dude. I’m just trying to protect you from more pain. And as much as a masochist as you can be, I don’t think more pain is what you want. 

Swipe.

Giving up not only the reasonable and right thing to do, it’s the kindest thing to do. Don’t torture yourself or put your friends through the pain of another failed relationship.

….

Just accept your fate. 

Please.

… yeah, okay.

I wipe the corners of my eyes, blow my nose on a pillow, and put my phone away. I lay back on my bed and stare up at the emptiness of my room, waiting for the darkness to put me out of my misery by swallowing my consciousness whole.

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