“What you said earlier, were you joking?” Oh shit.
“No. I really named my car Eleanor.”
“No, I meant at sunset when we…”
I cut him off. “I know what you mean.” This was not the philosophical, insightful question I hoped to be next on the docket. Suddenly I felt forced to reevaluate all the consequences of my actions today. Had I really made the best choices? From the time I finished fishing until now, did I spiral backwards into the pointless, wasted pattern of impulsiveness in my dating life that brought me to Wyoming?
I wanted to find a new life here, peaceful and unfettered, without the sight-blindness of desperately wanting to be with someone that led me down painful paths. Now angst and frustration washed all over me again. I needed to fix my faults, but for now, I needed to give him an answer, and I didn’t know how to respond.
I either needed to tell him I was joking, or that I was not joking. If only it were so simple.
If I tell him I was joking, he most likely won’t try anything with me now or ever. That didn’t seem like a terrible idea, considering the rambling path we walked for the last twenty-four hours. I still inferred no clue as to what he thought of me, and maybe it would be better if I just let this weekend’s experiences drift away with so many other unrequited memories. But even worse, I’d look like a flirt, and completely unauthentic, perhaps childish, as someone incapable of engaging in higher conversation and thoughtfully reflective discussions about life, and heartbreak, and struggle, and conviction, and strength, and perseverance, and all the qualities I wanted to embrace in myself, and hopefully someday find in someone else. Worse, though, if I told him I was joking, I would be lying.
If I tell him I wasn’t joking, that I really wanted him to ravage me, one of two things would happen: he’d do it, or he wouldn’t. If he did, this relationship would become completely physical, and while I imagined the prospect often during our camping excursion, it didn’t seem overly appealing at this very moment in this context. How would that be any different than every other man I’d let ravage me?
Choosing not to ravage me probably carried legitimate, intelligent rationale for him. Maybe he already believed I was too flighty, or he didn’t find me irresistibly attractive, or I represented too much drama. Maybe I forced him to reveal too much about himself, or my hesitation revealed too much inconsistency in my character, or maybe any quality that I presented to him about myself just didn’t make the grade, not to mention the fact that I wore moose pajamas. Why risk the rejection? I’d experienced enough of that, too.
I now understood why the Lumberjack took long silent pauses in his conversation. Life gives us a lot to consider, and jumping into any easy answer wasn’t his style. I liked that about him. I liked a lot of qualities about him. His words and his actions were deliberate, and thoughtful, and authentic, and I suddenly felt completely inadequate in comparison. No, he most certainly would be making the right choice if he chose not to pursue a physical relationship with me, and now I didn’t blame him at all.
NEXT: Ghost Stories – Part 42