It had been a while since I had heard from Tyler. Okay, it had probably been about a week since his last automated response, and my restlessness was right on cue. I was having a particularly emotional afternoon driving around listening to and dissecting John Mayer, as I like to do, when I decided that John could be my window back into a conversation.
“What’s your favorite John Mayer song?”
Hours later. “I like a lot of them.”
“That doesn’t answer the question. If you had to pick a favorite…”
“I like Daughters.”
“That’s a good one. Why would it be your favorite?” I was going to have a conversation with him about this even if I had to pry words from his tongue one syllable at a time.
“I don’t know.” And then, “I think it’s a unique message.”
I delved into my response, offering up my sophisticated take on his forced favorite and my general theory about John Mayer songs. Your choice of a favorite John Mayer song is tied directly to a life experience you believe is similar to the one Mayer is describing. Because he sings emotions, the song choice can be very telling about your current state of well-being and your subterranean battle scars.
He didn’t care.
“I can’t read your essays right now,” he texted pointedly. “I’ll address it later when I have time to read it.” AKA Tyler’s favorite way to blow off something obviously important to the other person. We never talked about it again.
For the next few hours I ruminated heavily on his choice. Because that felt better than thinking about how the person I liked treated my innermost thoughts as though they were not worthy of his time. Because if I thought about how his actions in this text conversation represented his attitude towards me on a whole, that I was not worthwhile to him 97% of the time, then I would have to think about what it said about me that I chose to continually withstand his emotional negligence at the price of my own feelings of self-worth.
So instead I fantasized about Tyler’s interpersonal trauma. How he must have loved a girl who was so damaged beyond repair from her primary caregivers that she couldn’t see him or let him give her his heart. I imagined a Tyler much different from the self he presented to me: a Tyler who was vulnerable enough to let a girl wreck his world with her actions. I let my mind paint a picture so vibrant, so vivid that it was as though it had to be real. I didn’t make it up but instead had dug up some hidden truth that would unlock the mysteries of his unaffected response towards me. I actually began to feel sympathy for him. “He must be in so much pain,” I told myself. “No wonder he acts out the way he does. He is hurting.” This momentarily placated me. Not because I’m a kind person who sees the good in everyone, but because I needed to find something to keep me holding on, a justification for all his unwarranted cruel behavior towards me, and some albeit fictional reassurance that he could be capable of giving me what I need.