It strikes me as pretty amazing how I intuited correctly the two times I was explicit in writing about sensing that something was not entirely right. Here, for instance, I wrote about the sense of safeness that I felt with him, undercut by a competing sense of insecurity and a fear that he would take it away. Well, he did, and so my intuition was right.
And here, too, I sensed that something was wrong when he didn't text me for the whole evening, or maybe longer; I don't remember. What I avoided saying explicitly in the entry was that I was feeling embarrassingly insecure because of his silence. I wanted to think that it wasn't possible for someone to change his mind in 24 hours, that I was just being stupidly insecure; I wanted to think this despite my intuition telling me that something was up.
My intuition was right. He essentially changed his mind in 24 hours.
I wonder, though: what could I have done anyway? What could I have done differently, even if I had paid more attention to my intuition? I wasn't ready to drop this; a part of me still isn't (but that part will die soon enough so it's okay). I could have forced the issue even earlier, but I was distracted by the Chinese New Year BA, and his actions gave the appearance of reassurance and so I thought I was wrong. So it's well and good to say that I must always listen to my intuition, but what practical consequence would it have brought in this case? It ended as quickly as it began. Could I have disengaged myself earlier? How much earlier? It literally went like this: things were great on Tuesday, and then they weren't on Wednesday, at least for him; and I sensed it, but because things were great up to Tuesday, I didn't want to believe it. So if I had trusted in what I'd sensed, does that mean that I would've forced the issue on Wednesday when we talked on the phone? Perhaps I should have asked why he was so uncommunicative the whole day. But I might have been reassured by some bullshit answer that he could have given in reply; conversely, if he were to choose to be honest, all that would have happened was that it would have ended a couple of days earlier. But seeing as I had the BA on Friday, and we were going together, and he didn't want to burden me with this as I was already stressed out from preparing for the event, he wouldn't have told me anything even if I had asked on Wednesday.
And so it would have made absolutely no practical difference if I had listened to my intuition. But perhaps it would have softened the blow; perhaps I would have been more mentally and/or emotionally prepared. As it stands, I feel completely blindsided. This feels like a bullet train screeching to a sudden halt. It feels like the shock to the body when I jam on the brakes at a sudden red light while speeding down an empty road. I couldn't even process this emotionally last night. I walked slowly home, like a zombie, wondering why my eyes were dry when it felt as if all the colours had drained from my world.
He wasn't ready for a relationship, he said. He felt a genuine connection, he really liked me, he thought that I was incredible; but he wasn't ready to commit. But he would still like to be friends. He would still like some stability in his life.
This feels like G all over again. It feels like the reasons that G gave for not wanting to commit. It feels like how it felt when he said essentially the same things: we have a real connection; I really like you; blah blah blah; but distance, but some other shit that I don't remember. But let's still be friends; but I still want you in my life in some other capacity; and when I was in Cambridge and he in Berkeley, but I want the emotional assurance that you still care about me.
It seems hilarious in a tragic way that the two men that I've felt most strongly about in the past 2 years have both been indecisive and unreliable. They have both said the same things about connecting, about how incredible I am, about how the issue is with them, not me. But I wish they would be more honest. The issue is also with me. There isn't enough of a connection; they don't like me enough; I am not incredible enough. It is not enough.
This has to be the case, for I cannot conceive of a situation in which he ('he' meaning whoever here; I don't know, I don't care) meets a woman so amazing that he's completely swept off his feet, and still chooses to acquiesce when she says, I'm inclined to say that we should stop seeing each other because timing, because distance, because indecisive, because uncertain, because old and thus don't want to waste time. No, that's simply inconceivable. I made so many excuses for G's unwillingness and inability to commit back then, but Emily tore through all of them and said bluntly, 'He simply doesn't like you enough to commit.'
Or he could commit half-heartedly, with a foot out the door. I guess I am lucky that Bruno spared me that.
These shades of G are not fair to the situation with Bruno, but the parallels are so stark that I can't not draw them. But I think the difference between them is that I didn't really know what I meant when I professed to have felt a connection with G; but with Bruno, I know exactly what it is. Maybe that's what makes it the more sad. I can't even say it's melancholic; I think it is sad. With G, I understood the difficulties of a long-distance relationship which would compel someone to not even try; and so the behemoth of a long-distance relationship standing in the way made the situation seem as if we were torn apart by circumstance (even though that's the romantic, but unrealistic, view of the situation), hence melancholic.
With Bruno, though...it feels as if his disengagement from this (from me) was partly based on a contingency, an event that might happen in two months which may not happen. There are other factors at play, and maybe he is just flawed in his inability and/or unwillingness to prioritise a relationship; but there isn't a certainty as was the case with G, the certainty that we will be physically apart, one in the US then Singapore, the other Cambridge. With Bruno, it seems that it's a bunch of issues on his end, complicated issues, possible distance; but nothing really unworkable if one wanted it bad enough. How sad, then, that he would rather let this all go.
The thing that I dread the most in the aftermath of a failed relationship, or half-relationship in this case, is the silence of the night. The absence of messages on the phone, the no-phone call, just me and my thoughts. The thing that I dread the second-most is the moment in the morning when I slowly regain consciousness, and the first thing on my mind is the person who's just walked out of my life, taking a piece of my heart with him.
Sure, I was the one who said, both on Friday and on Saturday, that we should just stop seeing each other. On Friday, the religion issue seemed insurmountable because of the way he framed it; and on Saturday, I simply didn't want to be with somebody who wasn't sure that he wanted to be with me, and by extension, to keep hanging around someone who had doubts, who couldn't prioritise me, who was unsure, who was indecisive, hoping against the dictates of rationality and reason that he would change his mind. No, I have more pride than that; I have too much pride for that.
But that's just a technicality - that I was the one who said to end it. What is essentially true is that he forced it out of me. What other response did I have to 'I'm not ready to be in a relationship (with you)' than 'I think we should stop seeing each other then'? What kind of person would say, 'It's ok, sort out your shit, I will wait for you'? Maybe a naive 20-year-old, but I am neither 20 nor naive. (Does this mean that I don't like him enough? Is this the flip side of my argument earlier that neither he nor G liked me enough? I think that is true to the extent that I don't like him enough to risk any damage to my pride, which is the gatekeeper of my heart; so maybe we both draw lines in the sand, but for different reasons.) Maybe he was expecting some other response, and if so, he should have articulated it. Since he didn't, it shows either that he doesn't know me well enough to know that I wouldn't have said anything else; or that he knew precisely what I would say, and was playing all his cards right.
The bright side is, I feel better now, when it is almost the end of Sunday, than I did 12 hours earlier when I woke up and the first thing I thought about was him. The down side is, I am not sure what else to take away from this apart from what I wrote about in the first paragraph. I am not sure what I am supposed to think, meeting someone who made me rethink what I want in a man just to lose him, as if meeting him was for no reason at all. As if there was no purpose at all, his brief presence in my life and the feelings that he produced in me that made me re-assess whether the things that I thought were important are that important after all.
(It is strange, isn't it, my appeal to metaphysics - purpose, reason, as if deep down, I believe that things happen for a reason; and if I believe this, it seems that I should necessarily believe that there is some supernatural being at work, directing cause and effect. But this unthinking appeal to some unknowable metaphysics (if it exists), when I think about it, is the weakness of my humanity wanting to believe that there is something bigger than ourselves; some larger meaning to negate the meaninglessness of the futility of our efforts. It is probably what Camus would call 'absurd', though I ought to finish The Myth of Sisyphus before making any such claims. But it seems to fit: the empty set produced by my effort to find some meaning, and my ability to find any. I can find lessons, but that's a different concept than meaning.)
Of course, one could say that it awoke me to the possibility that I am capable of liking someone enough to relinquish my iron-grip hold on certain criteria that I thought were important. But the truth of the matter is, after this experience, I am more convinced than ever that I will no longer 'see how it goes' when the person of interest has fundamentally different beliefs. It is always interesting to debate differences, but I don't think that differences - fundamental ones - are ingredients for a lasting relationship. I think Bruno and I had similar values, and I genuinely was open to compromise on our differences if it had gone on to become even more serious; but it is too much work, isn't it? Wouldn't it easier to develop feelings for someone who shares my beliefs in the first place?
But I suppose the problem with that is that I have never been attracted to people like that. Or rather, it seems that I almost always fall for a certain type of person, and whatever values system they come with is merely random. Or maybe what is random is my love life, for I am unsure if there is any discernible pattern to the type of men I've dated. My love life feels so Sisyphean right now; I am so tired of this endless cycle of trying and failing, trying and failing, trying and failing.
I should focus my energy on the things that matter; namely, my PhD. I have done no work over the past three days. I need to focus again.
Let's move on to some happier thoughts.
I had brunch at Pembroke today with Josh, Ivan and Pablo, who is at Pembroke and invited us for brunch there. The food was decent and cheap. Later, we adjourned to the MCR where we played a giant version of Jenga, and this game where each person gets the name of a famous person, asks the others questions about his/her famous person, and guesses who it is. I found Josh's absolute lack of any knowledge of what's happening in contemporary society rather hilarious. I also felt special pride at the fact that the only reason he knows who Roger Federer is is because of me.
I managed to kill 4 hours at Pembroke, so that was 4 hours of my mind occupied with something other than Bruno. While walking back the last stretch of my journey back to Magdalene by myself, I suddenly felt the sadness wash over me again; and on Magdalene Bridge, I looked across the road at Fitzbillies and saw that Matt was in today.
And so I went to get coffee even though I wasn't intending to do so. Despite the absence of small talk (I wasn't in the mood), he poured me a heart and some squiggles on the side. He messed up the last half of the second squiggle and said, 'Sorry it's too full.'
The heart made me smile. The coffee tastes distinctively better when Matt makes it. I am not speaking from bias; he is really the best barista there. I was desperate for a coffee yesterday afternoon so I got a flat white even though Matt wasn't working, and it definitely was not as good. Today, though, my flat white was delicious and it made me happy, so there was that.
Barry accompanied me on a walk when I got back to college. He texted me this morning to check up on how things went last night and made himself available for a chat despite having things to do in the library. I really appreciated that; talking to him helped me put things in perspective. And of course, it's always nice when someone tells you that you're hot and sexy (though not in a flirtatious way but a factual manner) when you're feeling shitty and unattractive and gross and not-good-enough; though it did make me wonder why it is that, despite my ostensible qualities, I can't seem to hold on to someone that I like.
Oh well. I am bored of this entry. I have nothing else to say.