Not Saying What You Mean and Making Up What He Meant
Daniela De La Fe

And as I was changing, I had no idea who I was becoming. The suspense was killing me. I had felt so self-conscious about it all. Like hands brought to my neck, I was being choked before able to voice. When I finally came around with the nerve to make a phone call I had forgotten what I wanted to say. For two reasons that sound out, there are always more. My first sound out reason was I could not gauge my significance in his life. Were our moments tender? Was I always behaving within his convenience? Both. The other was that I did not feel any passion in his voice, but his voice was always like that, sort of even-keeled, sort of not excited, sort of blasé. It was what I liked about it most. 

As I fumbled through words and long pauses of trying to find the next word but all I can say is “hmmmmmm,” I finally computed a semi-thought and borderline incomprehensibly I expressed it. I said,  “I just don’t know how much I matter to you.” You talk about your future plans and I don’t feel me in them. I am an afterthought. I am the girl you can play tennis with. I can ski. I can do nice things like talk about religion and society. I can wake up early and enjoy a tree. As I do these things I want to be bent over under covers. I want my hair tugged forcefully. I am OK with silence. I don’t annoy you or humiliate you. I can’t take off with you to anywhere. I am still stiff in being free. I am not yet formalized in me.

He told me he cared for me. It was all still fresh and new. His plans for the holidays were this and that. And he could not promise me anything because he was “incapable of selling people bullshit,” but he could sell himself with ease. He believed in time he would see. He could not promise me if being with a girl 15 years younger than him with a family that cares about certain things if this would be. He was scared of a white picket fence. He feared a boring way of being. In all his talk I could hardly hear him, but what he was saying that he was not able to commit to me. Though I am the person who he spends most of his time with, a person he enjoys the most. A person he would see later in the near year, no urgency or passion. No sacrifice. No bending to see where I could fit. But he never lied, it’s true, and the transparency was probably the hardest part of it all. 

All I wanted to feel was important to him. I did not want him to change his notions on the conventions of society. I just wanted to be special. Like he was special to me. Like in a way that I would change a flight for him, like in a way I would wait for him at a train station on a long delay. Like in a way he would not give me. 

And I feared he had feared one cliché for so long, he had become the other. He had no picket fence. He was the older man with the young girl. The one who could not commit; who could not take too much time on anyone else. He had been behaving like this for a long time, why would he change now? In all I did not say what I wanted. I never expressed my need. I resigned. I could not ask him to be anything else but what he was. What he is. And I did not want him to be. I wanted to step away. On the other end of the line I felt myself falling asleep. I wanted to hear no more.      

I went to the shower. I washed myself clean. I scrubbed my knees and that area behind the knob on your feet. Behind the ears. I brushed my teeth as the hot water splashed against the top of my head, the foam from the toothpaste formulating and falling out of the sides of my mouth. I washed myself. I washed him out. There were probably his juices from the morning still on me. I ordered a pastrami sandwich. I sat on my couch; I fell asleep.  


DANIELA DE LA FE is a Miami-bred, Los Angeles-based writer and actor. Through her writing she explores her experience on what it is to be a perpetually searching, sexually active (and periodically inactive) 20-something-year-old female. She finds it important to note that her opinions and reflections on personal accounts are mostly the fabrications of her mind and end up having not much to do with reality. Most things "said" were never actually voiced and her account on what is being "said" is everchanging and unreliable, yet at some point, true (to her). She is also a writer and journalist for the newsletter, "All The Women."