One of these days, I swear I'm going to lose it and punch Hopkins in the face.
Not really, but damn.
So I hauled him off with me to visit my mother's hometown. This time of year is hard; it's been the harbinger of far too many funerals, and I felt the need to just go. Also, I don't take just anyone up there- even though I give the appearance of being very extroverted and putting everything out there where people can see it, I don't. The things that are truly important to me are very closely held; if I take you to Hardinsburg, there's a reason. If I don't trust you, you'll never see it on my watch.
As we were rolling around in the Barnes and Noble on the way back, he said something offhand about "I'm probably never going to get married." I stared directly at the floor and immediately moved out of his line of sight, muttering under my breath, "By the way, I still have two of my three engagement rings."
I also paid for his meal, in thanks for his going with me, but also...well, let's just say I got it out there quickly that they were on one check and it came to me. I finally broached the subject of the splitting the checks thing, and realized immediately that I'd hurt his feelings...so I added in a small voice, "It makes me feel...I dunno...like some kind of troglodyte." That made it worse.
How do I tell him that I started having them split the check because I don't carry cash, and because I didn't think it was fair for him to pick up part of my tab because I out-earn him three-to-one? No good way to do it without making things worse.
I wish I simply had the courage to say, "Look, I've been in love with your silly ass since I was fifteen. I would love to know exactly what I'd have to be to encourage your romantic interest, but that's not fair to either of us. I shouldn't have to be something I'm not, just because you can't find anything about me that's worthy of your attention. I'm tired of settling for the pat on the head. It was old and stale when we were in high school, and it's older and staler now. I like you enough to endure these slights just to hang out with you- but it's soul-crushing. It's not like I don't know that you don't want me. I do. In spades."
Every time I open my mouth to say it, the words die on my tongue, so the humiliation goes on...