not what, but how (day 1)

he goes in hard, asking deep questions before my slow mind has time to interpret their intention. he talks fast, too fast for me to keep up. the bus is loud, too loud for me to track every word. after my answer he makes reference to a rapper, a rap song, and lyrics. i laugh inside and wonder if he’d say those words to anyone else on the bus. he talks about his divorce and children, and there is the relation. he’s much older than he looks and seems borderline anorexic. i’m in a seat by myself, he’s on the other side and almost in the middle of the aisle wanting to continue the conversation. i’m exhausted, feeling like a kid at fat camp, all things once consumed vanished, and maintaining an activity level last hit in eighth grade. i’m hot and every part of my skin is dripping water as i look every few seconds at his mouth trying to lip read while being in awe that he’s not even breaking a sweat. i’m dehydrated and already tired of drinking flower water, the only available. he asked what i thought about the priest and my mind could only reflect back to the stray dog sitting next to me and my incense. she was mangy and i could see her bones yet she felt it was right to honor the moment like the rest of us. i wished to help her and felt guilty for being fat, even as the lady put rice on my head and directed me to eat some of other rice every one before me had their hands in; it was their form of the eucharist. i closed my eyes remembering the silence as he began discussing religions to ask my beliefs. catholicism rings as one more thing in common as he keeps moving without a breath in between to ask my nationality and the origin of my parents. i think he’s gotta be kidding cause how does one question whether i’m something other than what i appear. then he asks about my ex’s nationality and my leg reminds me it’s forgotten all about yoga so begins twitching like it has turrets as i pretend it’s not in answer, feeling more faint with each bump while imagining the driver is going to ride us off the midnight mountain any second. a moment of silence before he asks if he can hug me. sure. i put my arms around him as he puts his around me and sense that i might feel like a sumo wrester to him, as i consider a real hug would break his ribs, crack a clavicle, or at the very least adjust his spine. i sit back thinking he’s five shades of crazy but also that i should probably ask him something since he’d left me space. i started with his dad, thinking if he wanted to go deep, i’d go deep too. but his response caught me off guard. dad died when he was nine, hit by lightning while golfing.

i’ll stop here, cause this is the moment it became clear i might not know how to ‘do’ normal social interaction.

i laughed. i don’t know why i laughed but do know it was inappropriate, about as inappropriate as not being able to control it to the point of tears.

he didn’t laugh, and though i apologized i think it immediately ended his attempt at speed dating, or whatever the hell it was.

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