Charles W. Johnson
So she said "Hi" ...

Original version: 1 October 1998, Auburn, AL
Current version: 20 January 1999, Auburn, AL

This is from one of those occasional focused freewriting sessions I have that actually produces something worth reading. We were reading The Sound and the Fury in English and the teacher had us spend fifteen minutes doing stream-of-consciousness-style freewriting. I was sitting next to the subject of the piece at the time and got a cheap thrill about writing about her. Like all freewriting, it came out a bit rough, and early this year I smoothed out a few of the transitions. It could probably still use a bit of work, but I'm too lazy to bother with it now.

- CWJ, 3 April 1999

So she said "Hi" and it wasn't really much at all obviously but the tone in her voice made me wonder about maybe she was worrying about everything that happened because it had that kind of quiet distant tone. Which she really always gets and I'm probably just being paranoid like I always am. It's hard really to do anything but feel awkward around her when you're busy overanalyzing every little single gesture and voice tone and what you might say if she did this-and-that. But of course she never does do this-and-that and since I hadn't planned for it I always come up with an answer five minutes too late. And sometimes she just has a way of hurting me horribly without realizing it, because she doesn't really want to think about what I told her so she doesn't stop to think about it before she says and does things. I guess it's not awfully considerate but I put up with it anyway because that's the only way I can be around her. I mean I tried the other way last year and we all saw how that went. Really I have trouble remembering how things went those last few months because it all sort of blends together into one big grey mess of waiting and trying to get through to her and not, with just one moment of really being alive for an instant, and that one I have no trouble placing in time, April 14, 1998 at about 3:30 or 3:45, I wasn't exactly glancing at my watch when I told her. Even though I do that when I'm nervous this time I just stared at the footwell and glanced at her every so often. And I thought that maybe for a second she understood me, no matter what rationalizations she came up with after the fact. But really that's just one of those things that's nice to believe, like maybe she really felt the same way but was too scared. I don't really know either way so I just kind of try to believe the nice version. So I try to believe that she really understood me for a moment and then she ran away, then she invented all the reasons for her to call me manipulative and selfish and everything else. And I think afterward the reason she didn't want to see me cry was because that would prove that I was really telling the truth.

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Copyright 1998 by Charles W. Johnson.
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