The next day, he is at a conference: lawyer stuff, suits and lectures. I have a hard time imagining myself paying attention; he has a hard time paying attention, and sends me messages from his phone when he can do so unobtrusively. He sends me information about Friday’s plans to attend an event at the SciFi Museum together. I reply, but rather tersely, then think better of it, and apologize for being out of sorts.
He wants to know why I’m out of sorts. It takes a while to understand some of his messages – his phone’s autocorrect rarely gets his typos fixed with the right word, and at times I question if it’s autocorrecting into English. Most days I chuckle about this, but today I’m not in the mood.
I avoid the question. I had trouble sleeping, I say.
Why? he wants to know.
I feel needy and insecure.
I feel like a teenage girl, trying to get someone to notice me.
Finally, I tell him: I’ve landed in The Friend Zone. You even call me “friend.”
No, he says. No. I just don’t know what to call you, but … he trails off, stumbles around. I have weird quirks, he finally says.
I don’t reply.
He calls me during a break, and asks me to be patient. After my meetings, he tells me, I will write it all out.