It’s as if he can no longer tell when he’s depressed. The moods just begin to bleed into each other, you know? One moment, he’s elated. The next, a mess. The scrolls through the messages on the screen. Thumbs up the joke. Likes the meme. He writes in a journal. Thoughts and words that hold on to his attention. Thoughts like prayers whispered underneath his breath as he turns the page for the day. There were moments when he did pray. He didn’t know he prayed to, but he hoped to hell there was someone listening when he knew there wasn’t. He practiced this smile since the sixth grade. Practice the subtle shrug when asked, “Is there something wrong?” or the more common, “You ok?”
It’s not a date unless both parties agree. And she’s silent on the matter. We’re sitting at IHOP. She’s having the strawberry and banana pancakes. I have the strawberry cheesecake stuffed pancakes. She eats her eggs with ketchup; I did the same growing up. We speak Star Wars. We speak Star Trek. We talk about work. I talk about Shaun. When it comes, I pick up the check. When I say it’s together, she gives a small “Oh.” And I wonder if she understood the intentions of my asking her out to have IHOP together. And I wonder if she has any clue how much nerve I had to work up to ask her out. Later, we’re sitting in my living room watching Kingsman because we watched the sequel about a week or so ago. And the whole movie, I’m busy taking in her profile. Noting the way she plays with her hair often. Braiding and unbraiding and twirling.
He picks up a journal at the bookstore. He has a collection of blank books waiting for his scrawl. In March, he sees a doctor. Asks him about a prescription. When he takes the pills, he doesn’t feel anything. They don’t make him happy, but he isn’t sad either. He’s lethargic the first week until his body grows accustom to the chemicals. He’s less angry. Less worrisome. Less depressed. And for a moment, he thinks they’re working. Until the worry sets in that he doesn’t care. He knows he should care, but can’t muster it up. He thinks about his past relationships and wonder if he was ever happy in any of them.
And I wonder what crosses her mind as we sit in my bedroom. We’re watching The Phantom Menace, the weaker of the three movies that make up the weaker of the three trilogies. We give the film commentary, though I realizes that the movie’s pace/run time ratio puts Attack of the Clones to shame. When the film is over, she surveys my movie collection. From the better titles to the worst—Showgirls. And again, I’m distracted by the way she plays with her blonde hair. And while I still don’t like the film, Episode I now holds some sentimental value.