The Tortoise put me on the spot last night while we lay in bed and asked me what I liked about him. You know in these circumstances, it’s always problematic to hesitate. But I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even pause. In fact, a whole two minutes passed before I could conjure up even one thing to say.
The question stumped me, badly, and I’ve been struggling today to understand why. There are thousands of personality and character traits, all I had to do was pick a few and toss them out into the darkness but I couldn’t. I felt the seconds ticking past as he waited quietly and seemingly patiently, and I did not stick the landing. I did not come out with something worthy of two minutes of anticipation.
Instead, all that swirled through my mind during those long moments were negative – you struggle to communicate your feelings, or actually anything, you talk over the top of me, you fart in bed, you don’t know how to use emojis (I sent a text that said I missed his hugs and he sent me back a laughing emoji), you can be overly negative sometimes, and you don’t think before you speak. Earlier that night over dinner, you told me I needed to prepare for the worst in case something went wrong with my mum’s cancer treatment and proceeded to tell me how horrible it was watching people close to you die.
Yeah, you have given me plenty of bad things to associate with you but what do I like? I needed to fill the void between us and fast.
“Your confidence,” I said. What? Really? Where did you pull that chestnut from?
“You’re worldy, like you have skills and stuff and are handy and can do things and teach me things.”
Yep, I actually said “you’re tall”. And I mean, yes he is. He’s six foot three but really?
To each of these things he quite genuinely thanked me and I felt like burrowing into the mattress. Why was this so hard?
I asked him why he liked me, hoping to get to the bottom of why he asked me in the first place. His response was different but, in a way, no better. He proceeded to list what felt like every activity we’ve ever done and every place we’d ever been to as if that described me.
“I like going to the beach with you (we’ve been once). I like going to the pub with you. I like talking to you. I like hanging at your house. I like your dog. I like you teaching me things. I like eating with you (yes, he actually said that). I like sharing a bed with you. I like drinking with you. We don’t share the same music tastes I’ve noticed though.”
I started to feel he was describing a companion animal, someone that follows him around all day to keep him company. I could be anyone based on that list and this is the struggle – we are not in sync. It’s hard to put my finger on it but I find it really challenging sometimes to connect with him.
When I put it to him that we’re incompatible, he said I was overthinking it. He said it was easy being with me. But I don’t agree. Maybe he’s finding it easy to be with me but I am not finding it easy to be with him. But it’s not hard either just … perplexing.