Words Devoid of Meaning
Updated: Jan 10
"Words Devoid of Meaning"
You don’t know how many times I sat at the desk in our family’s living room, turning off my video just to grab my phone readily positioned in my reach to re-read those words you sent to me. They gave me this rush of dopamine and made me smile a little subtle smile to the audience of my phone.
You came at a weird time in my life when I finally started to put myself out there, becoming obsessed with being flattered by those whom I could see myself fall in love with, even when I hadn’t already. And you were the first on that list, the first one I contacted right when I turned 19, and so you always held a special place in my heart, one that I still can’t get rid of, despite your silence.
I’d send you pictures to continue your attentions when I feared you were growing out of or bored of me. I asked you to choose your favorites and got your hopes up sometimes just to see how you’d react; I liked saying shocking things because your frequent disposition was so unbothered, and I wanted to knock you out of your normalcy. I sat silently and waited for your comments because they brought me my worth, and I always knew they were going to bring me my happiness. After I sent you one of me in a pink dress and with my white converse shoes, you said my favorite thing, the one I went back to re-read over and over again: “damn. I want to hold you.”
And I just thought—if only I could get there, if only he could do so, he would fall in love with me, and everything would go exactly how it was meant to be.
Responding to my love of Taylor Swift, you said you would be my London Boy and show me around. I thought of how lovely that would be, for someone to actually want to spend days or weeks with me, just going off adventuring together. I’d never done that before.
On our second date, you told me you would wait much longer than 30 minutes to see me. I thought of how pretty those words seemed, and what they implied about your feelings for me. And walking in the night on the cobblestone path, you told me how you wanted to hear the songs I came up with sitting alone in my Belgravia flat.
But you never ending up taking me to places. Over the course of our three dates in the vast metropolitan and historic city of London, we went to my apartment, two bars, and a park a ten-minute walk away. And you never asked about updates on my songs or implored me to sing for you; I doubt you even remembered that I ever brought it up to you. And so, you couldn’t be my James in August, that song’s release right at the height of my obsession over you almost seeming to intentionally taunt me.
And I kept waiting for it to come, for a switch to just abruptly go off in your brain, for you to just suddenly remark how ready you were to do all the things you said in passing to me. But it never did.
And so, on my last night, knowing I’ll never see or speak to you again, knowing full well that there was no longer an opportunity for that “switch” to go off, I finally brought it up to you--your lack of follow-through with anything. We were listening to the lyrics of a song you chose. This guy was singing about some love-montage he wished to have, begging the girl he was after to go shopping with him; he described this wonderful image of falling onto mattresses as their young selves wreaked havoc on all the different stores they plundered through. In a state of combined sadness and frustration at those kinds of songs that portray love so easily, that allow each actor to embark so effortlessly on those endeavors that I could never get you to want to do with me, I commented on how romantic it all sounded, and you replied with a “we can do that, right now; I bet some stores are open.” And it was said so immediately, said so obviously false—you already informed me of your “need” to leave in 40 minutes--that I couldn’t believe it. I replied that you didn’t mean it, that if you really wanted to do these things, we would have done them already. And it’s my last night; the empty promises you’d used to say that could potentially come into fruition at a later date can no longer be put off. I finally couldn’t make excuses for you. When you said you’d miss me, I said that no, you wouldn’t. It sounded so unnecessarily harsh, but I didn’t mean for it to be. I just spoke the cold, blunt truth because I was too exhausted to keep tip-toeing around our true intentions: if you really would miss me, you would have planned something in the span of my five weeks.
In an apologetic voice, you said you were sorry. Sometimes, you just “say things.”
I never thought of that, how words could be so devoid of meaning. Usually, we as humans misinterpret signals, think that this smile means he wants to see me again or that that like on my Instagram post means he’s thinking of me; but how can you misinterpret plain words? What is one to trust if she can’t even count on your words? I didn’t even think of it as a possibility--these empty nothings, scattered praises, and plans not followed through. Kind of like lies, but that’s too malicious to attribute to your words; you just said shit, a kind of amorality that only comes from total apathy.
The thing is, I’d rather you just not say anything at all because the words of “I want to hold you” and varied expressions of “I want to know you” mean so much to me. I don’t want those words to lose their meaning. I want my first experience receiving the words “I love you” to come from a man who really means what he says, the line “I would wait much longer for you” to be as glorious as it sounds and to not have the chance to be corrupted into becoming a sweet nothing, a remark said with absolutely no weight attached.
Though those words, sentences, and phrases, mean nothing to you, they mean everything to me. Please, from the bottom of my heart, don’t take them away from me.
The thing is, I think you already have; I think they’re already ruined. I’ve started to second-guess their validity from the mouths of other men, becoming paranoid of the destruction of the perfect moments already ingrained in my head.
So not only have you taken away the bright aura that used to surround your words, but also you’ve ridden it from other wonderful romantic memories where you weren’t present.
I now wonder if he ever even truly meant to take me to Berlin. To be honest, I’m afraid to even ask. Because maybe, this phenomenon isn’t just exclusive to you; maybe you aren’t the only one who allows words devoid of meaning to escape your lips.
And so I just sat there, not knowing what to do. I hardly talked, my only motions being the switching of songs for us on my iPhone. I didn’t let you kiss me because it wouldn’t mean anything.
Finally, I walked you to the tube 20 minutes early and said goodbye with just a polite hug, such a pathetic conclusion to the five months I spent on you.