The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person

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Dear Reader

Jane Austen“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice

Dear Reader,

I’m in love with a friend. I have been for almost 2 years. He doesn’t know, I didn’t know myself until recently. The worse thing that could possibly happen now would be him finding out. He must never know. How could I then claim to be his friend? How could I stay composed and retain my dignity in future meetings if every time he would always know it was an act, that my insides were really writhing at his every glance, my veins pulsating with excitement, and my head dizzying from oxygen deprivation as I forget to breathe. There are multiple occasions I can recall with the clarity of sight that love is infamous for imbuing the world with, whereby a brief locking of the eyes can be twisted and mutated into a plethora of meanings, each one more colourful than its predecessor (He took a special interest in what I ordered at the restaurant. He took pains to chastise me for a frivolous comment made). Yet the episodes that torment me more are the ones which tell me unequivocally that he does not love as he is loved (He ‘forgot’ to tell me the revised arrangements for a night out. He rarely instigates a meeting even though he expresses appropriate levels of excitement when it is mentioned. He is perfect).

What I am most scared of is not that he will not love me – and believe me this is a profound fear – but that this is not really love. I am scared that I have been whipped into a frenzy intoxicated by the pheromones of infatuation. What does it feel like? Those palpitations in my chest furiously competing with the ever angrier butterflies in my stomach anxious to be released, is that what love is? Nobody can tell me, all they say is you just know.

My voyage of emotions has taken me from complete indifference at the point of our first meeting, to romantic obsession. It was a serendipitous encounter and I am a fool for serendipity; he was being shown around my house by the landlord, I was fresh out of the shower and preparing for a night out. At first glance I mistook him for another friend, at second I reckoned I was in the presence of Mr Darcy. The pseudonym of Jane Austen’s most famous character relates equally to his resemblance aesthetically and allegorically too; he appeared in my doorway in a white shirt open at the top on account of the summer heat, his hair dark and his skin fair. As I appraised him in what I hoped was a cool manner, I felt unworthy in his eyes. I despised him from that moment because I couldn’t change the me I imagined he saw. Some time later I discovered the unbearable truth: he was not as I had hoped, a pompous, entitled villain, a shameless womanizer, an obnoxious twat, he was a good man: unassuming, generous and modest. How dare he. It took a tactical and conscious decision on my part to rescue myself from the crippling feeling of unworth by removing myself from a candidate position. I refused to allow him to make an option out of me because I was convinced of the inevitability of rejection. I thought I was freeing myself, not imagining I would have to face the truth of my feelings eventually. I had so thoroughly conned myself into a friend category to the extent that I tried to set him up with my closest friend: in my mind she was everything I was not and thus he would love her. The only result has been that liking him is yet another thing my friend and I have in common.

Standing at the precipice of my adult life I realise I no longer wish to cower where fear dwells. Rejection, unworth, acceptance, beauty, ego; these words skip around my head poking fun at me. I look to past situations and my hand instinctively raises to shield my heart. I don’t want to be made to look a fool. I am no Elizabeth Bennet, I’m not even a Bridget Jones but I am in love. It may not last forever but shouldn’t it at least be given a chance to start?


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First kiss missed

Balancing at the edge of his bed I waited for the flash of his blonde hair in the doorway as he returned to the room bearing a glass of water. I had requested the refreshment moments before and he dashed out on the hunt before the words had finished escaping my mouth. His icy eyes took me in greedily as I gulped down the water. Drained, the lifeless glass lingered in my hand. He pried my last defence from my grip. I relented. I watched as the glass took refuge on the floor with only our feet for company. My eyes fixed upon the eyes of my accuser, I knew what was to come; I could feel the heat of his intensity concentrate on my mouth as if he were willing them to part voluntarily. Naturally, I tensed up.

The room dulled as his face gradually eclipsed the lights. I closed my eyes but after having waited the customary time for us to connect I reopened them to assess the room: his face was suspended in front of mine, I don’t know if it was because I had leaned away extending the initial lip-travelling distance by an awkward mile. The tension was mounting to a point of climax beyond my control as the scene which I had watched unfold was still short of ending. My limbs demanded a break out, I should have crossed my legs or flexed my fingers. I should not of laughed.

I laughed.

This was to be our first kiss, we had anticipated it for a year but the cumulation of frustration transformed into a humorous observation in my mind, akin to watching a male primate making moves on a female in captivity. He did not share my amusement. I only realised my mistake as his eyes could no longer meet mine. The damage was done. He didn’t speak to me for a year. Another year later we had our first and last kiss.

Love in earnest