About two weeks after we got back from Mexico, as I was lounging in Paul’s room while he did homework, I got a text regarding the secrets spilled that one slightly drunken night.
I was told that they were disappointed in my reaction. When I asked why, I was told in their opinion, I had made the conversation all about me. When I asked how, I was told that I brought up Paul a lot “and it wasn’t helpful.”
I didn’t know what to think. At first, I thought it was a joke, which is my reaction to most things (good and bad–death? Surely you jest! Engaged? Surely you jest!) but it quickly became pretty clear that it wasn’t, although the conversation was pretty short.
Even now, I know I should probably feel bad. But I just don’t, mostly because I don’t feel I did any of that.
Maybe the two of us just remember that night differently, but I’m not fully convinced of that. For one, one of the things I can clearly remember about that conversation is that I felt everyone else was not just contributing more in general but their contributions were more helpful and constructive. I didn’t have much to say, so I didn’t say much.
As for Paul, I only remember mentioning him a few times. If and when I did, it was because I felt it was relevant or because I was drawing comparisons, and I don’t even really remember much of that. I remember a few joking comments in passing that didn’t sway the conversation and weren’t intended to.
The catch is I do feel like I talk about him a lot, but I’m not sure if it’s because I actually do or because I’m hyperaware of my own habits. I talk endlessly about things I love. I love him. Naturally, I’m going to talk about him. Add to that the long distance factor and you have trouble. What else am I supposed to do? I can’t be with him. I couldn’t share that amazing vacation with him like two of the Craig couples did. The only way I have to connect Paul with my friends right now is to talk about him, and I get defensive feeling like that’s being held against me.
I’m obviously going through a crankier phase in the long-distance relationship. I’m not trying to invalidate my friends’ relationships, but seriously, none of them have any idea how much this sucks major dicks because none of them have done this before, at least not in a serious relationship that lasted more than a few months and for the majority of the relationship. I’m obviously sick of doing this. I don’t really talk to them about how much this sucks major dicks, but even talking doesn’t really convey the feeling. I can tell you the longing and missing that I feel. I can tell you how badly I want to crawl in bed with him at the end of a bad day. I can tell you how bad I’d just like to be able to do stuff with him–stuff as simple as going to dinner or hanging out at our respective houses. I can tell you every little detail of every little thing that I hate about this, but that’s not the same. You wouldn’t feel it, and that’s what makes the difference. This is far harder than I ever thought it would be, and it does affect me. I’m just good at hiding it.
Ironically, in this sense, I have managed to make the aftermath quite a bit about me. I think my frustration level just peaked with this and it brought up a whole lot of shit that might be quite unrelated.
In addition to all my whining about justifying talking about Paul, I felt like I was being singled out. Admittedly, I don’t know what, if anything, was said to anyone else about that night (the text made me a little worried that maybe, while I was in State College, some of the Craigs talked about how I made it all about me).
When you’re talking to like five or six people who have all been drinking late at night (and on vacation), the conversation is bound to get derailed. That doesn’t make it right and doesn’t help matters, but I certainly am not the only one involved here. Almost every single one of us brought up other people, and that branched off into other related and relevant topics.
I don’t feel I even derailed the conversation let alone turn it around to myself. I’m almost positive I didn’t bring Paul up a lot. If the conversation did stray because of me, I certainly wasn’t the only one at fault.
In the end, I think they overreacted. I don’t think they would’ve found any reaction from me–or any of the others–satisfactory.