The other night, as we sat waiting for Stefan's improv show to begin, a selection of Eighties movie soundtrack songs played in the background. Ben, one of Stefan's college roommates, rolled in with his two latest vinyl acquisitions, Don McLean's American Pie and Madonna's Madonna. As we looked them over and made suitable sounds of approval, Madonna's "Into the Groove" from "Desperately Seeking Susan" queued up. Hopkins glanced over at the Madonna album I was holding and told us, "Oh, I had that one in high school...I ripped the CD onto my computer a while back."
I felt the anger flash out into my expression before I could control the reaction. Madonna is a sore point with me in the context of Hopkins; every single freaking dance for which he stood me up in high school seemed to have ended with "Crazy for You". I hissed, "Keep going and they'll take your Straight Card away. Madonna, really? YOU were a big Madonna fan?" Insert hysterical observations about mistaken homophobic reaction to that kind of thing in our high school, hence excusing his concealment of Madonna-mania; I dryly added, "Unless you know the choreography for all of her videos as well, nobody would have made that mistake. Trust me."
If I reach outside Madonna's canon for another ballad, the more perfect choice is Counting Crows' Raining in Baltimore (there's that Johns Hopkins reference, kids), and the line that hits me hardest is this:
There are things I remember; there are things I forget.
I miss you...I guess that I should.
Three thousand five hundred miles away-
What would you change if you could?
My friendship with him only works if I don't register any sentiment or emotion, so I have to find other ways to draw it off. I've become so accustomed to not showing emotion (because it tends to be treated as a punchline if expressed by a fat woman) that this is sadly more normal for me than not. It's one of those deals I've made with the Devil. In order to have him in my life, I have to be careful to stay numb. I got a metaphorical slap in the face the one time I evinced my true feelings for him, and for twenty-eight years, that moment has informed every subsequent humiliation I've felt when I've been dismissed by a man as ridiculous, unsuitable, or unwanted.
I am, as I have always been, that guy at the D&D game who has boobs. As far as he's concerned, that's the only way I'm not threatening or gross, I guess. I've waited all my life to let this go, and to move on, but I've resigned myself that it will never happen. This is all there is, and this is as good as it will ever get.