Friday, December 26, 2003
Things with Carter
He and I were two of only about five people at work today. Pretty much everyone else chose to use it as one of their floating holidays or vacation, but I guess he and I were sort of predicting the whole "depressed around the holidays" thing. Not a hard guess; neither of us really had much fun at Thanksgiving. I mean, I had that fun three-way, but the aftermath made me feel about four inches tall and sort of confirmed my outsider status. He had a fight with his ex after dinner and then checked into a cheap hotel to spend the time between the holiday and his flight on Sunday. I guess we both decided we were better off keeping busy today.
Didn't do much good, since the office was quiet enough to hear a pin drop and neither of us had a whole lot of work to do. I surfed the net looking for "Shelley Garber" stuff, since I hadn't really been looking for nicknames lately on my quest to learn more about the other players in this drama. I guess I'd gotten lazy and somewhat complacent. Didn't find much, no matter how I spelled it - "Shelly", "Chelley", "Chelle" (as in her e-mail address), "Shel-E". Just something from a community newspaper about her high-school graduation in '97, from a town near the one listed on her driver's license. Just a name on a list
Around 1:30, Carter asks me if he can grab me anything for luch and Bull Run. Jen and Kate aren't here, so I ask for a steak tip sub with "no pickle of any sort. Not on the sandwich, not next to the sandwich, and for the love of god, nowhere near the fries." He asks me what that was about when he comes back half an hour later, and I told him that anything that touches a pickle absorbs its flavor which is, of course, nauseating. It also makes fries squishy, which is almost as bad as tasting like a pickle.
I convince him to pull a chair up to the desk so we can talk. He apologizes right away for moving too fast Tuesday night, saying that just because he's been nuts over me for a month and a half doesn't mean he should assume I should feel the same way after about a week.
I tell him not to worry about it, that I was about ten seconds from being all over him that night. It was just, there were some things about my past, my life up until I started working here, that I didn't want to tell anybody about. But that by not telling people about it, I felt I was not being myself with my lovers. I didn't like, but was ridiculously vague - it was like a David Mamet scene where the cast is talking about meeting "the guy" at "the place" to get "the thing" so that they could be ready when "the time comes". "I mean, with Kurt, I was sleeping with him because I was afraid I was losing him, like by maybe closing the deal first or better or something I'd 'win'. And then afterward, just limiting myself to guys I'd just met to avoid any intimacy issues... I'm messed up, Carter. I'm really messed up."
"Not to make it a contest, but so am I. Seven foster homes before I graduated high school, then the Force. Shit, I should have stayed there, but I felt too comfortable; I didn't know how to act in a stable situation. All I can say is I'm working on it, and I think things with Annie might have worked out if she hadn't gotten homesick. I'm getting better at this."
A gave a quick chuckle. "Someone once told me that a guy won't score many points with a girl by saying that his last girlfriend may have been the love of his life."
"Ah, see, they just don't teach you this civilian stuff in the service." He polished off his chicken sandwich. "So, where's that leave us?"
"I want to be your friend. Really. I know it may be tough to believe, but this is the first time I can remember that most of my friends have been women. I've always hung out with the guys."
"Ah, so you were the hot girl on the math team? The geek girl who hung out with the nerds and didn't fit in once she got contacts and her breasts grew in?"
"Ha. Not quite. Someday I'll tell you about my life and you'll either laugh or be horrified - I'm never sure which to do. It will explain a lot, though."
"I promise nothing. But I can try not to be such a spaz."
"I'll take what I can get. And I promise not to try to be more than a friend more than once every two weeks."
So that's where we stand, mostly. I'm pretty sure I've just whetted his curiosity, but hopefully it can keep one source of tension on "low" until I figure out this whole Shelley thing.
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