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A Lack of Contact

Figment came up with a brilliant idea: Darkside lights up when he sees me (verified by mutual friends), and I light up when I see Darkside, and it typically takes anywhere from ten minutes to an hour and a half for us to extract ourselves from conversation with each other when we do have to stop, so clearly, Darkside and I should see each other more often. He offered the services of himself, his car, and his free time on Monday evenings after Darkside gets off work. So, should Darkside deign to accept this offer of his (and that's a very big "should"), I would be seeing him at least semi-regularly.

The topic, of course, brought all my fears and uncertainties pouring out in an unstoppable flood of words and tears.

For someone who can be so socially obnoxious, I have a decent grasp of how bad I can really get. I don't have much of a built-in limiting system on how much Babble About My Life the average person can take, which can make me appear insane, creepy, a dreadful bore, or any combination of these at the same time. I know this. I try to compensate. I desire social contact enough that I will, if allowed, spend the vast majority of my waking moments in the presence of friends (and I wouldn't object to spending sleeping moments in the company of some friends either) until my own social limitation filter kicks in, which does so unreliably, based on how close I feel to the person, not how close they consider me. I know this. I try to compensate. I don't always pick up on the subtle hints that people actually don't want to spend time with me. To compensate for this, if I happen to notice that I am always the one initiating the contact between us, I try to back off. Unfortunately, there is heavy cross-interference between this feature and the "no best friend left behind" feature, and this causes major conflict.

Darkside is a military brat. As such, he became accustomed and resigned to the fact that when he moved, when his friends moved, contact would inevitably be lost. This has, in many people, the effect of making one more hesitant to build close friendships, because when life happens, contact is always lost. Darkside seems to count a friendship alive and active on a contact scale of one or two contacts per year. One or two contacts per year, in my book, is inactive. This mismatch causes some hassle on both ends.

Darkside and I have established the fact that I require contact with him more often than he requires contact with me, and I would like contact with him more often than he is comfortable having contact with me. (If allowed, I would prefer at least an hour of communication and/or real-time contact per day, and at least one day with at least three hours of face-to-face contact per week. Negotiation has established that I don't get to call him on weeknights for casual or content-free contact, and shouldn't call him on weeknights except in case of emergency. We don't tend to see each other in person much more often than once every few months.) We tend to talk on the weekends: I call him, and we spend anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours chatting about everything, anything, and nothing. From time to time, one of us will drop by to see the other. Very rarely, we will schedule an actual social outing together. I send him random e-mails, which he reads, but does not respond to. (To date, I believe he's responded to one e-mail I sent him, and since that e-mail was with an attachment too large to fit in the e-mail account, I never got it, but I've taken his word for it.) He's reasonably busy, and has been acquiring more friends, and thus a social life, so our windows of opportunity for contact have been narrowing of late.

Every time Darkside's social life speeds up to the point where I don't wind up having enough or any contact with him for a few weekends at a time, I get paranoid. Supposing he's gotten annoyed with me. Supposing he wants to cut off contact but doesn't know how to tell me. Supposing I'm being too clingy, too needy. Supposing ... supposing I'm delusional, to think that he likes spending time with me. And every time, I get terrified, because he just goes not-there without a word, and perhaps it's his schedule going bonkers, or perhaps this time it really is the end, but perhaps I won't know it for another few weeks, or months. And every time, it's turned out to be all right, it's been something innocuous, but I still fear the loss of contact. The boundaries we've so painfully defined are strong enough that I fear to cross them even in case of loss of contact, lest I fuck things up between us by crossing them without good and sufficient cause. It's one thing to call on a Sunday afternoon and leave a message with his mom to let him know I called. It's entirely another to call on a weekday or weeknight unless the world is about to end, because he's asked that I not do that, so I don't. Not unless the world's about to end.

Since it's not the end of the world, nor even the end of the world as we know it, I'm not fine. I miss him so badly it hurts, and the hurt's half not seeing him, and half my fear that perhaps this is the time that he'll tell me that actually, he doesn't want to see me again. It's not a rational fear, but it doesn't have to be rational to hit me so hard that the tears come out even when I refuse to give the satisfaction of gasping and sobbing. And it's a Tuesday, so I don't get to call just to make sure everything really truly is okay...
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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