December 07, 2003

on the surface, simplicity / it's the darkest pit in me (crossposted to 48 hours)

I'm staring at my hands.
Examining the tracery of lines and creases that my skin assumes when my hands are clenched.
Knowing that the moment I stop, the thought begins. The endless reexamination. Where I shouldn't have said something, or walked away, or simply let it roll off my back. The words held back, things I meant and didn't say, things I said and didn't mean.

It's later.
I'm sitting in one of the countless sushi joints in Kerrisdale, across from the only person who sees through my projected calm to the stormy seas beneath.
We order.
We wait.
He looks at me, a question in his eyes. I catch his glance; motion for him to finish his thought.
"No. You'd probably kick me for asking."
"And this is different from any other question, how?"
"Fine. Why do you bother? I mean, if none of it makes sense to you, then why carry on with the rituals and the restrictions and the rest of it?"

The waitress arrives, bearing beef teriyaki for him, vegetable tempura for me. Silence from both ends, teenaged boys too deeply enveloped in the material to discuss matters of the spiritual.

Halfway through, he steals a piece of squash, then motions at his bowl. "Did you want some?"
Usually, this is a joke - endless mockery as a hallmark of the friendship we share. Today, it's a loaded question.
Usually, I glare at him, and the question is answered. Today, I take a moment to think.
Too long, it seems. He inhales the rest, saving me from answering the question.

We finish, pay, leave.

On our walk back to the school, he taps me on the shoulder. "Were you actually considering it, or were you just leading me on?"
I look at him.
"That's what I thought. Assclown. See you in biology."
We part ways.
I haven't answered the question.

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