Oh, if only I could read a person as easily as a book. If only their personalities were as solid as black typed letters and their intentions as clear as a blank white sheet. If only they didn’t shift so, back and forth, until you wonder if you are the one whipping back and forth. If only you could re-read a situation until you found its secret meanings, instead of having to endure endless fleeting conversations that never quite satisfy. Interactions with people, real people, always feel as if they are moving a few seconds too fast. It is a lot to process sometimes, when a friend is chattering away. What is she saying with that tone? Why did she use this word instead of that? Can I ask for a few moments of silence while I am analyzing, endlessly analyzing? The difference between a person and a book is that a book will always give you time. It will move at your pace, straight forward always. A book only has one ending in mind, while a person is an endlessly splitting path. All I am asking for is some consistency. All I am asking for is some patience. Just give me some time. Enough to figure out what you mean, enough to let me gather my sprawling thoughts into a sentence, so we can talk like human beings.
It is not as if I wouldn’t be fair. I would let people read me too. I would allow them to peruse freely through my past, flipping through the chapters of youth and adolescence and adulthood. If I could, I would spill myself like a glass of milk so I could avoid the awkwardness of trying to explain myself one awkward word at a time. There would be no need to explain the insecurities that come out as barbed sarcasm, no need to apologize for the absent-minded gap in the conversation when I got distracted by another passing thought. But there is always something that stops me too. I hesitate because I, too, cannot express who I am. So, I understand. I understand that there will never be a way to guide someone else into the maze of my own head. I sit in the classroom every day, next to so many minds, twisting and winding like so many strings. And all I can see, all I can read is the barest exterior. An intense stare here, a nodding head there. Oh, if only, like a book, we could understand and be understood.