Twenty pictures

No, I haven't.

I haven't quite yet finished the job, so I thought I'd check in with you guys.

Of course, I know it's not going to be easy. I'm a veteran at this. I've always told myself, over and over again, that these things always take a while to settle into. Sure, all those times it's not really much of a deal, all of it happening because I've had enough of feeling certain things and knowing they will never get me anywhere because I'm either too timid to speak up or too paranoid to take things slow.

And yes, I'm very much aware that in all of those instances I'm really just making a big thing out of nothing, me not being able to be in the same space as her, acting beyond awkward, still trying hard to be noticed, getting really (fleetingly) happy when things go well, and crashing down unspeakable depths when they don't. I mean, when I just brushed things off everything ended well. Right, certain people?

So what is this, then?

I tell myself that I only have to do the same things I've done before to get past this malaise, if I could use that term. And they worked for the most part. And yes, again, I know that these things always take a while to settle into, so no, I'm not exactly being impatient. I just don't know why I don't get, I don't know, a bit more comfortable with these facts as the months pass. It's been six, by the way.

Sure, perhaps I am being impatient.

I am definitely sure that it's because this is different, completely different, genuinely different, not the sort of different I get when I try to convince myself that it is when in fact (and I notice this in hindsight) it really isn't.

For one, I was not forced to walk away from the game. I was yanked out of it.

Also, I found myself having those rest-of-my-life scenarios go through my head. It sounds cheesy in retrospect, pointlessly cheesy, but it did happen, alongside those will-you-ever-have-the-guts-to-do-anything thoughts and the no-the-timing-is-wrong-terribly-wrong thoughts.

I haven't quite finished the job because I haven't quite finished the cycle. Here I am, overanalyzing again: what happened before was a complete revolution of sorts, one that began with a chance encounter that led to a needless fascination and, eventually, an all out surrender to gravity, during which I frantically start blowing up an inflatable cushioning device because I feel stupid (and that makes me feel more stupid) and I have to stop myself from getting hurt. And then, when I land, I can just try to climb up the hole, which is daunting but doable. This time, I was shot in the leg. It makes for a much more difficult climb.

I'm not saying I can't climb out of it. I've been managing. There are times when I think I've gotten out of the hole. But it's a hallucination. Apparently I've lost far too much blood, and I haven't been eating enough liver, and I've spent far too many times - in this case, I should not do it - opening up my archives and flicking through the pages and deliberately, accidentally, chancing through one of the twenty pictures I have that trigger those it-could-have-been-her thoughts.

All of this is not what I set out to write.

And your responses...

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