Karen The Strange

Alright, well I am convinced that nobody close enough to this group to care actually reads my blog, so I can write freely.  This is in the style of most of my personal posts: a reflective narrative.  I don’t know why I told you that.

The Two-Day Tragedy

Last Tuesday my fellow musician and friend Devon opened for the Andreas Kapsalis Trio, a fantastic band, at a local coffee house.  Tuesday is the night of GameDev, and in particular we were playing Werewolf, one of my favorite games.  But I thought I could miss out on some of my friends to support another one of my friends, since it was far more likely important to Devon that I was there than to GameDev.  And also Devon is a pretty freaking talented musician, and I love listening to his stuff.  

It was a great show all around.  The whole “The Moment” band came to hear him, and we scheduled a jam session for the following night.  It was about 11:00 at night at this point.

Nolan offered me a ride home and we started packing up, buying Andreas Kapsalis CDs, doddling around.  A (quite cute) girl there kept looking at me and smiling as we were shuffling about.  I decided to follow her outside, and I made a joking comment on whatever conversation she and her friend were having.  She immediately asked “do you want some pizza?”  To the half-confused look on my face, she clarified that they were going to a restaurant to grab some pizza and she was inviting me. 

Great!  I went with them, texting Nolan a short blurb about ditching him.  The pizza place was closed, but the four of us meanwhile had a really fun walk up and down the mall.  Her name is Jesse.  In search of food, Jesse, Joshua and I (we lost #4: Gabriel) headed to silvermine subs for some sandwitches.

The three of us proceeded to talk until 3:00, while it became clear that Jesse liked me quite a bit, and not so much Joshua (who was “courting” her).  People get really funny (read: annoying) when they feel themselves losing hold of the situation.  Do I do that?  Am I that obvious?

We stepped outside as silvermine closed, Joshua continued to talk about how great he was as Jesse and I rolled our eyes at each other.  Eventually he left and Jesse and I walked together for the intersection of our paths home.  She was cute, intelligent, and really fun to be around.

I walked the remainder of the way home, about two miles, with a big smile on my face.  At the very least, this will get my mind off of Karen.

The jam session on Wednesday was cancelled because musicians are flakes (surprise!).  Looking for something to do, I texted Jesse to see if she wanted to hang out.  “Sure!”  It took a while to get the logistics organized, but we eventually met for pizza at the place we were planning to go the previous day.  We had a reasonably good time, until we headed to the coffee shop where we met and who was there but our old friend Joshua.  He predictably clinged on to us for the rest of the night, which was a bit of a downer.

But that is not the downer.  The downer was that I found out Jesse had just gotten out of a year-long relationship in a rather violent manner, and she was pretty sensitive about it.  Everything reminded her of him.  At one point she got really quiet and just stood there.  Jumping at the opportunity, Joshua hugged her for about two minutes to comfort her (this did not work – it clearly made her uncomfortable).  He went off briefly to make a phone call or something.

While he was out, she and I just stood there.  I stood ten feet away from her, arms across my chest – to protect it.  Silence thickly padded the space between us, lasting hundreds of heartbeats.  

In a voice that I could hardly hear myself, slow as each second, I asked, “It feels like you want some time by yourself.  Should I go?”

“If you want to,” she said with tears in her voice.

“I don’t … really … want to go, but … … but, you know what I’m <mumble>”

“It’s up to you.”

More time struggled to pass in the silence.

“Well, okay, have a nice night,” I whispered uneasily.

“So you’re going?”

I sighed.  “Yeah.  See you around?” as I looked up into her eyes.

“Yeah.  Keep in contact.” 

We smiled at each other, and I began the six mile walk home.  Hardly one hundred steps later, I began regretting my decision to leave.  I sent an apologetic text message – impulsive fingers are a weakness of mine – walked indecisively in circles for a while, and finally decided to continue home.   It was cold.  I called a cab, and curled up in a little ball while I waited for it.

When I got home, I searched for a movie to match my mood.  Requiem for a Dream, that’ll hit the spot.

I haven’t seen Jesse again.  Much as I liked her, I don’t want to be in that kind of situation – it’s a replay of last year with Stephanie, when I futilely hung on much longer.

A New Old Friend

On Thursday, Karen came over to prepare for the CU International Halloween party she was hosting at our house (since it has a nice yard).  Just as a way of hanging out with her, I helped her prepare some things, chatting about this and that.  We searched for traditional Halloween recipes to show the international students, put up lights, cobwebs, and jack-o-lanterns.  I could feel her love for this party: she really wanted to make it a great American experience for the foreigners.  I was compelled to sympathize: we shopped together, cooked together, brianstormed together.  I cared as much about the party as she did.

That night after she had gone home, my impuslive fingers instant messaged her: “hey — I just wanted to say, you’re turning out to be a pretty great friend. :-)”

“aww thank you =)”

She came back the following day to continue, and I continued.  At 6:00 when the party started, she ran off to the bathroom for half an hour to prepare her costume, when there was still much to be done.  I picked up the slack, doing everything I could to ensure that our guests had a good time at my own expense.  I have never done this at any party before.  When she came out, I continued, as she did this and that and interacted with the guests.  

By the end of the night when most of the guest-guests had left and mostly just our little social group was left over, I just sat by the wall, exhausted.  I could see it in Karen’s eyes: she loved the party, and she appreciated what I did for it.  A feeling of selfless euphoria engulfed me.

We grew a lot closer over those two days.  I feel trusted now.  Today she came over to “clean” – we did a little, but mostly we just hung out most the day, joined by two other friends later on.

I feel very different about her.  Previously infatuated, my feeling has become something much closer to a genuine love, like how I feel about Karlin.  But it did not replace my infatuation, just bosonically superposed it.  It sums to a tragic, emotionally confusing dilemma.  I love her like – I don’t know how to say it – like Karlin, like my closest friend.  I want her to be happy and comfortable at all costs.  But also, I look into her eyes and my heart rate triples and my body floods with an incredible relaxing tonic.  I want to barely touch her hand with all the love in my soul, I want to kiss her, I want to roll around on the floor with her.  

At least as far as history speaks, these two desires are at odds with each other.  I have the impression she thinks of me now as a close friend, but not more.  I know in my heart that my first desire – my concern for her life irrespective of my own – wins if the two must duke it out.  But I beg them not to.

The F Word

I hate thinking about The Future.  I am present tense.  I can’t see any reasonable resolution that ends happily for me.  She is in my dreams, and I am happy while I sleep.  Reality slaps me sober in the morning.  I think of her and I smile.  Then I think of myself and I stop.  It is God’s pavlovian Buddhist training.

The end of this story is where I become a great musician.  When I crawl heartbroken into my cave, fingers a-blasing.  That is the upside of music.  Emotions, both euphoric and dismal, are fuel.  The greater their number and strength, the more beautiful the art they power.  If its divine duality didn’t bless me, the imbalance in my life would drive me insane.

3 thoughts on “Karen The Strange

  1. Wow, you definitely have improved over time. “Bosonically superposed” is a zinger. You’re a keeper.

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