By Pascale Lowell, TIWP Student
I wish you knew that I don’t hate you. I’m not trying to be rude or uninterested or avoid you. I simply don’t know how to talk to you. Please forgive me for staring at you silently before answering your question. I’m searching for the right answer, an answer that will make you laugh, or smile, or think that I’m interesting. But I also worry that by attempting a joke you will laugh at me instead of with me. I am worried that if I try to make you smile, you will cringe and, instead of thinking I’m interesting, you’ll believe I’m showing off. I try to remember cool things that other people have said in response, but worry that they have said the same thing to you. When I finally stutter out an answer—once the silence gets overwhelming—I spend hours when I’m trying to sleep remembering your expression, what you said in response, and whether or not I’ve hopelessly embarrassed myself once again. Soon after I reply, I realize that I need to ask you a question in return or risk seeming self-centered, but I don’t know what to ask. If I tell you I care about you, and you don’t feel the same way, will I ever recover from that? But if I don’t tell you, will you believe that I don’t care about you at all? I’m sorry. When I stay silent, I am not trying to be rude or ignore you. I am weighing my options. So I hope you know that I think that you’re amazing, but I don’t know how to tell you.