He tells me about his. His was actually good.
He sends me an instant message later: "I really don't want to be here."
"Seriously," I respond. I'm happy he's initiated contact for a change but at the same time I'm feeling tired and done with it all.
"So your new year was good?"
I groan internally, "Actually, it sucked. But no one wants to hear about that so I just say 'good' when they ask." I see no point in lying to him. I don't need to impress him.
"Are you still chaste-ing?" he jokes with me. I've told him my new policy. No more hookups. I am a nun until further notice.
I tell him I am.
"No new year make-out then?"
I want to lie now. I know he definitely indulged in a new year kiss and I don't want to give him the smug satisfaction of knowing that I had sat out the ball drop alone, sipping champagne, crossing my legs, forcing smiles and clinking my plastic glass of champagne against anyone who stretched theirs towards me, while his tongue wrestled with some herpes-infected Lower East Side whore. But I tell the truth. It would be too sad to lie. "Nah."
I'm picturing him now, lips pressed against some curly-haired brunette and I'm jealous. Like I was when he had shown a picture of his friend to a coworker who, not realizing that I was harboring a crush on him, had passed his phone along to me. "Who's that?" I had asked.
"BSquared's girlfriend," he replied, slightly sarcastic. He's fucking her for sure.
"Oh, she's cute," I said, the heat rising in my cheeks.
"Nah, she's just my friend," BSquared had said, snatching the phone from me. "She's the girl whose party I'm going to later," his eyes met mine briefly but I refused to let him see any indication of my already hatred for this nameless slut.
And now I had given him the upper hand. Again. I had never even let him kiss me. But I let him see too much of the weak side of myself. He had never touched me further than the tip of his finger brushing the inside of my thigh, whispering that it was the softest thing he had ever felt. I wouldn't let him come any closer. But I had inadvertently let my guard down and let him into something deeper.
Now we exchanged our overtly sexual banter at work. And now, ever since he had been straightforward to me and told me that he couldn't do that relationship thing again, not after his last one, the one that shook him, turned his world on its ass, we did this waltz. Sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. Sometimes I led, sometimes he led. We dipped and parried. Sometimes I misstepped, sometimes it was he.
And I welcomed his honestly. And I wished I hadn't started this new celibacy thing. Or, I wished that my mental state hadn't deteriorated so far that I couldn't do anything other than this celibacy thing. That was what I couldn't really tell anyone. Leaving that detail out, it sounded like a show of solidarity instead of an unfortunate consequence of the steady atrophy of my cranial well-being. I deleted his phone number so I wouldn't be tempted to seek solace in his warm East Village apartment one drunken lonely night.
And now I think of dinner with K a few weeks ago when he confessed that he had harbored a crush on me the entire time we were working together. How it had taken a good amount of effort on his part to resist the urge to pursue me so as not to complicate our work situation. And I'm glad because I have evolved past him. So much so that when he tells me I should come to his place for a glass of wine, I decline and trudge through the cold to the train station.
And now I think of that date I had gone on with JM who had seemed sweet. Slightly off, but who was I to judge? Who had, after failed attempts to woo me back to his apartment, kissed me on both cheeks at the entrance to the F train and told me to call him when I got home.
I texted him later, "I'm on the train now. No need to worry."
"Call me when you get home anyway."
And I did.
"What are you wearing? Are you playing with yourself?"
I sighed, told him I would call him tomorrow, rolled over, and went to bed. I deleted his number.
And now I think of P, who I barely know but feel wouldn't try to lure me to his apartment with the promise of wine or call me after a first date and try to lull me into phone sex. Maybe I am being naïve. Maybe he would. Maybe everyone would.
But I want to be naïve. As long as I don't know any better, I want to believe that there is still someone out there that I could have a little faith in.
"Any resolutions?" I ask BSquared.
"It's the year of the six-pack. I joined NYSC again," he says. "What's yours?"
Abandon all hope.
"Me too," I say. "I'll race you."