Our minds can be such echo chambers that it is impossible to determine where things begin and end. What started what.
The gerbil was spinning the wheel. We were waiting for the movie to begin, and mom leaned over and asked me if everything is okay. I told her yes, which was a complete lie, so I explained that I was just a little heartachy from leaving a friend I had visited yesterday, and, on top of that, there was the loud echo of me telling myself that it was strange and silly to fall in love with someone who lives in another city, in another state. The reverb was giving me a headache, I was frowning, and having difficulty being with my family. Mom, as usual, noticed.
I told her that what I couldn't get is what was underneath it all. Why was I beating myself up? Mom said I was asking myself an unanswerable question, one I ask myself all the time. At that moment, I noticed myself shouting it to myself. "Am I ok?".
And suddenly, the gerbil wheel started to spin more slowly. Am I ok? Yes, there it was: I've loved people long distance before. Am I ok? And those didn't work out, didn't I learn anything. Am I ok? And my friend is so very interested in being good friends first, and I always take that as rejection, which I know is weird but I do it anyway, can't we be boyfriends already and just move in? Yesterday? Am I ok? And he's a friend I've shared things with that no one else knows; and we're builing a powerful friendship around that. Am I ok? And then the wheel stopped. I had no answer for the question, and could love myself for it. I smiled. All the chatter stopped. I was just clear on one point. I love my friend. And, we're friends. What a beautiful place to be.
Earlier that day, my father asked me how I felt in the car. I told him what I told my mom. He didn't pause "so call him. I won't listen." I have great parents.
Some time ago, when my last boyfriend and I were having some problems, someone told me that relationships fail at exactly the point you are willing to give up on them. I was this close, in the theater, with my mother, to giving up on my friend. But I've chosen a different path: I'm going to grow a great friendship, and be content with whatever happens.