Never Nothing

Aug 14, 2015 by

“Feel it. The thing that you don’t want to feel. Feel it. And be free.”

– Nayyirah Waheed


          “What is that, a Yaris?” I heard the guy in line behind me at the gas station on Tuesday night say.

          Unaware that he was talking to me, because I don’t drive a Yaris, I continued to silently wait for my turn to pay.

          “What is that, a Yaris?” I heard again, this time accompanied by a tap on my shoulder.

          “An Echo,” I responded as I turned to see the guy who had held the door for me on my way in.

          “Even worse,” he answered.

          “I love it,” I defended my Beaut.

          “I almost bought one, but it’s a small car and I’m a big guy.”

          “I’m a small girl; it suits me,” I said.

          “How would you like to pay?” the cashier asked me for what apparently wasn’t the first time.

          “Sorry, I was distracting her,” the guy cheekily apologized to the obviously irritated cashier.

          We paid at the same time before heading back toward the door.

          “I might as well hold the door for you again,” he said.

          “Thanks,” I smiled. “What’s your name?” I asked.

          “Craig,” he answered.

          “Craig, I’m Maria,” I introduced myself as I extended my hand to shake his.

          “I’ll remember that the next time I see a . . . Yaris? Prius?”

          “Echo,” I reminded as I walked back to my car.

          “Echo!” he exclaimed, as if he were close.

          I got into my car, turned my key in the ignition, and was just about to push the gear into drive when I saw Craig at my passenger-side window.

          “So my friends are making fun of me because I didn’t get your number,” he said.

          I looked over to his car, now parked beside mine, to see three guys sitting inside of it. To be honest, I wasn’t attracted to Craig, but I thought I should be open-minded. That is, until he dropped that he has a daughter. I have zero interest in dating guys with kids, but I didn’t want to reject him in front of his friends, so I gave him my number and politely let him down later.

          “I got picked up at a gas station last night,” I told one of my friends at work the next day, “while I was on my way home from pole in leggings and a T-shirt with my hair freshly not brushed,” I set the haggard scene for her. “It’s amazing how many options there are once you get over a guy. I got picked up at a gas station,” I reiterated. “I must be giving off a different vibe.”

          I’m definitely giving off a different vibe. While I had feelings for someone, my willingness to talk to new people never waivered, but my desire to move beyond friendly conversation with guys did, and it came through in my body language.

          My friend agreed that emotional availability makes a person more approachable, using her own life as an example. The night she met her husband was only one week after she had gotten over her ex-boyfriend.

          “You know, you’re not the first friend to tell me a story like that,” I noted. “Now that you’ve been with your husband for years, that ex probably feels like nothing.”

          “Well, not nothing,” she said. “I don’t think anybody ever becomes nothing.”

          “You’re right,” I agreed. “I take that word back. I don’t know why I said that,” I uttered in annoyance at my own unnecessary exaggeration of what it feels like to move on. I believe that past relationships have significance, not just for their teachings but also for their moments. “Friends used to tell me that once I got over the guy I wanted, I’d respond to his name like, ‘Who?’ No. I will never forget him. I’ve learned too much from him. He will never be nothing to me,” I stated. “But I don’t hurt for him anymore.”

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