The oddest pseudo-compliment

In the usual Jenn-like way of resolving conflict, we took a walk outside. We went up the hills, around the blocks, and back around the underpass. Walking much like driving is one of the few activities where two people can be “together”, but not necessarily require eye contact.

I knew this, because she wasn’t comfortable with eye contact. But I liked her innocent, childlike nature. The kind that was giddy and excited. I could see our male colleagues swoon whenever they work with her—her cuteness robbing their hearts.

I wasn’t jealous of that per se. Rather all I wanted was her friendship. At first, it was gossip about work. But it quickly became crushes and non-crushes, dislikes, likes. We imed each other constantly, our words piercing our laptops through gchats, illustrating vivid stories and our mundane lives. I thought we could be really close friends.

And then one day, it wasn’t. I still don’t remember the exact cause. Was it when I balked at a piece of advice and took it to mean that she thought of me less? Was it when I took photos of her on my phone, she immediately shied away? Or perhaps my recommendations appeared like demands rather than a concerned friend? We were angry and we were essentially stomping across the concrete sidewalk.

“Why?” I demanded. “Why this? Why are you so hard to reach?”

I felt my insides crumbling. It felt too painful to fix and yet there we were. I pushed her to answer, unsatisfied with the silence. She said finally, “I don’t like that you make me think so much. It makes me too aware of myself. I learn things about myself that I don’t want to know. It’s uncomfortable.”

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