Last Saturday, I ran into a former crush at a bar. The uncomfortable part was I had been thinking about her 37 minutes prior – according to the time stamp on the innocuous text I sent her from that device you shouldn't use while taking shots. I should have probably taken a shot for texts I’ll regret. And another for every former flame I think of while drunk. And another because no text is actually innocuous that you send non-soberly to an ex-anything.
She seemed happy to see me, her hand on my arm, her face close to mine. And damn it, she still had it: The Keira Knightley eyes, the crinkle in the bridge of her nose, her maroon lipstick. And because I had taken four shots (one of those was because I thought of her, see above), I said, “Oh, I just texted you.” And of course she knows I texted her, but I press: “Did you see?” Really, I’m thinking, Why didn’t you respond?
And somehow I stupidly ask if she still has the same number. “Yeah, that’s my number,” she says, hand still on my arm (could she feel I work out?), but I don’t smell her perfume. “I got your text.”
I laugh, who knows at what, and I endure seconds more of her conversation - how boring she is! how derivative of a Calvin Klein model! – before I insist, “I have to find my friends,” and I leave her in the crowd – and I am the winner, aren't I? I left her. I ended the conversation. I laughed.
Yet here I am now, in the company of best friends, and what consumes me is how loud should I laugh, how fast should I talk, where should my eyes land (never on her!), and what witty Facebook status can I post that she will see and know she is forgotten, a black hole in my night. And you just want to scream, F-CK YOU! But at her or at myself?
The most highly evolved creature is the soul who is single without questioning what age they should start to question it; who does not drunk text the ex; who seeks no companion for the night’s end and harbors not even a fleeting interest in a one night stand with a goddess spotted in an elevator on the coldest, most vulnerable Saturday night in February; and who doesn't think about how to wield social media to provoke envy and desire.
Maslow tells us sex is among the first of our needs. Evolutionary scientists affirm our need to seek mates (and suggest monogamy is unnatural). Yet there must be the rare specimen who circumvents such wants and goes home before Cinderella loses her shoe – and doesn't get on Tinder. And this creature can't be in a relationship because that cancels out the evolution: You have someone; you haven’t evolved; you followed nature’s will.
I've always tried to present myself as this creature – the figure who abhors possession of the heart and waves my hand at the shackles that couples wear – and at most hours, I am, but there are certain people who seep beneath my skin and intoxicate me with what ifs and could bes – and damn them. I am not so evolved if I can spend futile hours – nights that pile into weeks that collect into years – thinking of unrequited loves and daydreams of future romances.
The most evolved creature needs only themselves. They never wait on unanswered texts or wonder how many days they should wait to call because they never will call. They never asked for your number. They never glanced your way and hoped you glanced back. Sure, they went out with their friends on Friday, and they may have had one too many beers too. But they weren't drinking to meet anyone new or for an excuse to go home with someone.
You hate them, don’t you? They’re above us. We’ll never be them.
Maybe this creature is mythical – an ideal I've created. Because is there anyone who hasn't longed for what they couldn't have or once did have? But it’s what I strive for, to be innocent among the godless, to see history and not remember it – because there is no history. I never told you I loved you. I never thought about you on long drives home during the holidays. And I never stayed out with you until 4 AM hoping it would become something more.
The contradiction is, I only want to be this highly evolved creature because I have not been it. Has anyone?