Monday, June 21, 2010

ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE

I hadn't seen Santiago in several weeks, so I was psyched that he was coming over, even if it would be only for an hour or so. When he showed up, he was even cuter than he had been the last time I'd seen him (absence made this heart grow a whole lot fonder), and once again, I was surprised by how immediately at ease I felt in his presence. Upstairs, we spent our time together sometimes talking, sometimes cuddling without saying anything at all.

Refreshingly, the silent moments weren't awkward at all. They were sweet and tender, the sweetest, most tender moments I'd spent with anyone since the last time Santiago and I had done the exact same thing. I didn't want to let him go, but I had a friend to meet, and he had a bus to catch back to La Plata, an hour away from Buenos Aires. We kept standing up and pulling each other back down, standing up and pulling each other back down. Finally, we gave up. It was time for him to go.

Outside my apartment in front of the elevator, he said, "Can I ask you something in English? I want to ask in English because I don't want you to get the wrong idea." I was bit taken aback. It was the first time he'd spoken to me in English since we first met in Cordoba, his hometown, two and a half years ago. I had forgotten how good his English is. At the time, I was mid-hook up with one of his friends. I was more interested him, but I ended up with his friend because Santiago wasn't really giving off those I'm-interested vibes. Last April, when we stumbled across each other by chance, his interest in me took me completely by surprise.

Uh oh, I thought to myself after he asked permission to ask me something. I've been around long enough to know that whatever follows "Can I ask you something?" is rarely ever good. And something about the way he had looked into my eyes earlier told me that something on the brink of existentialist was coming up.

"Yes, go ahead. Ask me."

"Are you lonely?"

I was stunned. I felt as if Santiago had been reading my mind. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about loneliness. I've always prided myself on never feeling alone because I so enjoy my own company. But lately, my own company hasn't really been enough. I'm lonely. Lonely and maybe just a little bit depressed. Sure I'm still productive. I get out of bed. I write. I exercise. I go out. But usually, all I want to do is sit on the couch and do nothing at all. Just the other day, I'd admitted it to my mother.

Now I was about to admit something else to myself -- and to Santiago.

"Yes, I'm lonely.... Why do you ask?"

"Because I'm lonely, and I was just wondering if you are, too." He went on to explain that he isn't sure if it is a deep-rooted emotional state or a reaction to his current situation, living and working temporarily in a town, La Plata, that bores him to tears. I didn't push him. He was on the way out, and I wasn't sure if I was prepared to have an intense conversation about loneliness. Anyway, we both had to go.

So we decided to table the discussion until we see each other again in two weeks, after I spent next weekend in Montevideo and he in Cordoba. We'll have a lot more time. Earlier Santiago promised that next time, for the first time, he was going to spend the night.
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