Sitting there in the dark, leaning into him, I let the tears fall. I couldn’t quite bring myself to speak, and I felt bad about that. He didn’t say anything, and I knew that maybe there was nothing he could say. I wanted to say that, to let him off the hook, to say, “I’m alright,” but I could not. In part because I wasn’t sure I was alright. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk back into the room full of people and not just burst into tears again after he left.
I did manage to go inside, and I did manage to listen to people talk for a few minutes but I found myself gathering my things as I composed text messages in my head that I hoped would bring him back for one more hug, one more conversation, one more brief moment together. Even as I laced up my shoes I cursed myself, ashamed at feeling so pathetic.
I made my way back to my house and managed to distract myself by pretending to work but ending up watching TedTalks and crying some more. He hasn’t texted back yet, and I doubt that he will. Really, what could he say? I wanted to tell him I wasn’t disappointed, but the truth is that I am disappointed. Just that it wasn’t him doing the disappointing. Mostly I’m disappointed in myself, in my uncertainties, my worries, my lack of connections.
The difficulty in connecting with other people is not, as it turns out, with the connecting. As human beings, we are hard-wired to connect. Looking for connection is something we do before we crawl, walk or talk. We depend on that connection to learn about the world from a safe place. We depend on that connection to calm us and to show us when to be afraid. No, the difficulty is not in the connecting, but in the vulnerability.